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Planting season brings new challenges

Waxing poetic? Not exactly, though it is spring

As the weather finely turns warmer, we're sure that you'll be going full out. Let's be careful out there.

Sure we could hit you with the safety speech. Like farmers across the country haven't ever heard that it's important to slow down; or perhaps that you should just be careful.

There's a crop to plant and frankly that's really what's top of mind for most. Yet let's make sure that crop you plant doesn't also bring long-term problems due to a safety error.

Spring is the time of year when we're thinking about new life, about a new crop, new income potential. But you're also more than likely thinking about getting the planter and the tractor to work together again. To make sure the a/b lines you made or field boundaries you recorded have been properly set up in your system.

New technology brings with it great opportunity, but it also can bring unasked for complexity. How many readers would nod if I talked about being parked field-side, planter full, ready to rock and roll, only to find out you can't start because for some reason the planter and tractor controller have decided to just stop speaking to each other.

It's at those times when the 'miracle marriage' of technology and work seem more like a 'real marriage' where sometimes communication can break down. While the latter can be assuaged by a simple apology, and perhaps an admission of being wrong; the former isn't so easy. "Rebooting the planter" is not a phrase I thought I'd ever hear, but it keeps coming back as I talk with farmers using new technology.

The stuff works. You're gathering server-farms of data and more farmers are figuring out how to put that information to work for decision making than ever before. Of course, the 'waxing poetic' part may come when the planter and tractor don't talk to each other using new words you don't use around the kids. But patience matters too.

One factor that's helping is remote display access, so your expert from the major manufacturer can "see" what's going on or talk you through a set of steps you haven't had to do since last spring. So here are a few tips:

1 - Get to the tractor and planter soon and recheck to make sure connections are working.

2 - If there's been a software update, you'll want to have it running before you do, so talk to your dealer about that.

3 - Take a deep breath each morning before you fire up tractor and planter, it won't help the process but it might make you feel better.

4 - Keep your tech's phone number handy - perhaps in your favorites list.

5 - And be safe. Make this a super safe planting season for your operation; and profitable for your farm.

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