What was that?  That was time flying by as we approach spring and you haven’t even finalized your cropping plan.  

In sports there are many deadlines that force general managers to make decisions by a certain date. For example, this week was the close of the January transfer window in English and European football and also college football national signing day for high school recruits. Hockey has a trade deadline day, college football players have to declare for the NFL draft by a certain date, and baseball has a waiver trade deadline. And it’s not just sports, we also have tax filing deadlines. Can you imagine how many people would never get to paying their taxes if there was no deadline?

In fact, people tend to respond well to deadlines, because of the feeling of achievement that comes from completing a task in a certain timeframe. According to Mr. Ariely, a Duke University professor of psychology and behavioural economics, “It’s a good way to keep score.”

And it’s all in place so that the league can create an even playing field, and so stakeholders can move onto the next stage in the process.

These type of sports management deadlines have made me wondering, “how many farmers give themselves a deadline on seeding or planting intentions?”

Many of you are likely reading this and saying, “Shaun, you are an idiot, why would you ever give yourself a deadline on planting intentions? Why not change the plan right up to when the tractor hits the field?”

And though it’s a great question, I can assure you there are plenty of reasons to do it before hitting the field.

Giving yourself a cropping decision deadline would help your farm because:

  • All procrastinators need deadlines.
  • Making late decisions can negatively impact your ability to get the crop input products you need for the selected crops.
  • It allows you to move forward with other decisions instead of likely choking yourself on paralysis by analysis.
  • Once you make the cropping decision the rest of your production and marketing plan can fall into place.
  • Seed treatments, herbicides and fungicides are being produced with short inventories to limit high levels of carry over.
  • You can always make slight adjustments later if needed.

Time and time again producers go to meetings in the late winter and finally decide that they will grow a certain crop and voila, they are late to the party and can’t even source the seed to plant the hot crop of the year, never mind the herbicide and fungicides required to go along with it.

As a leader in the procrastination club, I think deadlines force your hand to make a decision and move on before it’s too late and you’re left settling for what has to happen given the late circumstances of your decision.

So close this window and go get your cropping decision finalized before it’s too late and you end up seeding the entire farm to millet and buckwheat.

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