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July 31, 2019

Farm Harvest Preparation

How Farmers Prepare for the harvest season to come.

As summer gradually draws to an end, farmers across the nation are gearing up for one of the busiest farming seasons, fall harvest. During this time, minimizing the risk for error is critical for farmers, as it directly impacts their profitability and the ability to fund next year’s planting season. While most farmers intuitively know what steps to take, it can be helpful and cost-saving to take the time and develop a seasonal plan for your farm.

In this article we’ll discuss five key measures to take when preparing for harvest season.

Prep Farm Equipment for Harvesting

Preparing your farm equipment is more than a seasonal activity; it is a year-long commitment. One of the best ways you can ensure each piece of equipment is functioning at its maximum capacity—and thereby helping you make the most of your hard-earned dollars—is through an equipment management system. This system will allow you to store and track information on each item in your inventory. Knowing when your equipment was last serviced and when to schedule routine maintenance will prevent you from suffering unpleasant surprises and equipment failure during harvest season.  

Check Storage Facilities and Storage Containers

As farmers know, an infestation of rodents or storage insects can lead to contamination and financial devastation, which makes checking, cleaning, and repairing storage bins a top priority. Make sure to remove all traces of old grain from equipment used for transporting, handling, or storing the harvest. Don’t feel like you need to invest in expensive equipment for this. Sometimes a good old-fashioned broom and dustpan are all you need.

You also want to check each of your storage containers for cracks or breaks. If you come across damage, repair or replace those bins to prevent future pests from sneaking in and spoiling the contents. If you’ve also experienced issues in the past with stagnant water pooling around your storage bins and creating mold, consider regrading the land around it to improve water drainage and soil absorption.

Scout Crops for Damaging Pests

The best way to improve your field performance and year-over-year yield is to pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t work. That’s why it is wise to scout out each of your fields before diving headfirst into the laborious work of the harvest.

Determine if any weed issues need to be addressed before pulling out the combine, look for inconsistencies with crop performance and assess things such as insect damage and late crops. Because you have minimal downtime and a lot on your mind during harvest, take photographs and field notes as you scout the crops so you can make wise and precise decisions in the following months on how to improve performance for the following season.

Weed Management Control

Planning an effective weed-control program starts with good time management and organization. As a producer, your time is often stretched and consumed by high-priority tasks, however without an effective weed-management strategy valuable time and resources are quickly wasted on addressing issues that threaten the health of your crops. Developing and following a weed control calendar often leads to healthier soil conditions and reduces crop interference.

While each plant and seasonal zone differs from the next, it’s wise to get a handle on weeds when you first plant your crops and when the seedlings begin to sprout up from the ground. If you find yourself suffering from large clusters of weeds season after season, consider implementing crop rotation or grouping crops of the same family together to save on time and labor.

Getting Ahead on Finances

Harvest season prep would be incomplete without the mention of financial preparation. It may seem like the last thing you have time to consider during the busy season, but the more you can do to prepare for tax season throughout the year, the better off you will be when April 15 arrives.

Spending just a few minutes a day balancing your books and reviewing your accounting software will save you hours of tedious work when the spring season rolls around. If you haven’t already, implement a filing system for bills, invoices, and statements so you can easily track legal documents, expenses, and other necessary paperwork. You may also find it useful to purchase clear plastic totes for storage and set aside time to label each one to streamline the process during tax season. Making these minor adjustments can help you prevent major setbacks and keep you on track during the harvest season.

Increase Your Working Capital with a Custom Land Loan

As you wrap up your final preparations for the harvest season, our team of agricultural lenders will be ready to help you plan for the next season. Whether you are in need of working capital or are looking to expand, our spectrum of land loans provide you with custom solutions designed specifically for your operational needs. Speak to one of our Relationship Managers today.

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