I’ve never been a big fan of the plot tours and fields days, but for some reason I’m still going to miss them. Unfortunately, most events have been cancelled this year or are being offered in a ‘private’ or ‘small group’ setting.
If you’ve been to one, you know the drill. More often than not, salesmen want to talk about the great products they’ve got coming in two or three years. What matters to most growers is what happened this year and what options we have for the coming year.
Growers also want to know what product results, product prices, and product availability is going to be. Usually those answers don’t come until a month or two later.
These events are particularly important to seed companies, fertilizer retailers, and chemical retailers, as I have been told few farmers deviate from ‘tentative’ orders that are put in this time of year. So, if salesman A can beat salesmen B to the grower, odds of maintaining or increasing the customer order goes up.
Growers are also lured in as they are told this is the time of year to receive maximum discounts. Even if you don’t prepay, there are early order discounts.
So, while I might not be a big fan, we always try to attend a few events. One or two we attend on a regular basis, others we just go to check out the company or products offered. Some meetings are informational, while others are more a ‘thank you.’ Some are more family friendly than others.
Many farmers (even if they’ve never purchased brand X) attend these events to visit with friends and neighbors.
Private tour yields insights
I did have a chance last month to participate in a private crop tour. A group of farmers got together to visit fields and talk about what they did that either succeeded or failed. We compared high speed planting to regular planting, looked at different plant protection treatments, dug in the dirt to compare tillage practices, etc.
Even though it was a long day, and I logged a lot of miles, it was an interesting day with free exchange of ideas and thoughts. It isn’t common for farmers to be open like this.
I have the opportunity to participate in a tour again tomorrow. Hopefully is it just as beneficial.