Tom Nugent and his son, Thomas, raise crops near Elnora. Their neighbors, Rob Dove and his son, Josh, also raise crops, plus operate a beef cattle operation. This pair of fathers and sons have found they’re more efficient if they share equipment and work together on certain parts of the crop operation.
“I do the planting and Rob does the spraying on both operations,” Tom says. “It’s worked out well. Thomas and I have the planter, and Rob and Josh have a self-propelled sprayer. Each person in both our operations knows what their role is, and that is important.”
Besides cooperating on planting, they also own some equipment together, Tom says. And when it came time to assemble their new planter this winter, Tom and Thomas parked the Harvest International planter toolbar inside Rob and Josh’s shop and began taking boxes off crates to assemble the planter.
“They have a better place to work inside than we do, and it worked out well,” Tom says.
One thing working together allows them to do is keep up on technology. Since the Nugents don’t need a sprayer, they invested instead in a new planter for 2021. Putting it together themselves, they’re equipping it with all the technology they figured could pay for itself in the long run. That includes multi-hybrid and variable-rate capability, plus many other features.
Rob says they both have the type of land that can benefit from changing from an offensive to a defensive hybrid when variation in soil type calls for it. In their area, fields typically contain productive loam soil and sandy soils in the same fields.
Thomas is preparing prescription maps to tell the planter which hybrid to plant where, and at what rate. This first year, it’s based primarily upon yield maps.
“I spent a morning with my seed representative going over which hybrids would fit best on which soils on our farm,” Rob says. “These seedsmen know their hybrids and know which ones can perform well on good soils, and which ones will hold together best on challenging soils like our sands.
“We put a plan together and I gave the information to Thomas. When they plant here, they will pull up our field maps and the planter will place the right hybrids where my seedsman and I think they belong, just like they’re doing on their own fields.”
The key to working together is communicating and making sure each person is on the same page, Rob says. “We talk about that and outline our roles before the season starts,” he says. “Especially today, when you can have hybrids or soybean varieties that can be sprayed with one chemical but not another, I need to know for sure which hybrids and varieties are planted where before I pull into the field with the sprayer.”
“No one wants to make a mistake, and that means we check, doublecheck and constantly communicate,” Rob concludes.