What Decisions Move an Operation Forward?

What Decisions Move an Operation Forward?

Get questions and checklists in place to help with on-farm decision-making

When the work of planting season is complete, it's time for a lot of agronomic decision-making. Sometimes you have to make decisions about your crop quickly. In other situations, you might be able to take a bit more time to weigh out the pros and cons of a particular choice.

Do you use set criteria and guidelines when you're making agronomic decisions? That can help because it gives you a framework around how you decide to move forward – or not.

Get questions and checklists in place to help with on-farm decision-making

For example, if you need to make a replant decision, you might consider a few different factors with your agronomist. What are my current plant populations? What's the seed distance between each plant? What's the severity of the harm done to plants that may only appear undamaged? What could come back to haunt us weeks later if we don't take action now?

Considering what could happen in the future is part of good agronomic decision-making. Discussing the situation with your agronomist gives you a chance to consider all the factors involved before making your decision.

It's similar to the thought process you can take when you are thinking about a major purchase for your farm – whether it's a new piece of land or cash rent bid, installing new tile or a new pivot, or buying a piece of equipment or a new building.

As you think about making a large purchase, what checklist do you use to help you make a decision? Who do you rely on to help you think through the pros and cons? Where do you get the numbers around how that purchase would fit in with and affect your overall operation?

Create your checklist
For these decisions, include factors like interest rates, length of the loan, length of pay-back period – and how a purchase will affect metrics on your farm like your working capital and equity to asset ratio.

Add some long-term thinking to your checklist. What overall goals are you trying to accomplish? How does making this particular purchase right now affect your long-term goals? Will the purchase help you achieve your goals or keep you from reaching them as quickly?

• Think about the questions you ask yourself or that your agronomist asks you when you are trying to make a major agronomic decision.

• Use those questions to create corresponding questions to ask yourself when you are thinking about making a large purchase for your operation.

• Include questions to help you think about the decision in light of the effect it will have on your overall operation and your farm goals.

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