Driving For Success

Travel is always a great opportunity get out into the field and talk to you, our audience. Nothing’s more satisfying than indulging in a plate of pork barbeque, beans, and slaw while shooting the breeze with readers.

Last week (as I write this, that would be the week after Labor Day), I found myself sitting across from a cooperative location manager and a young rig driver at an equipment manufacturer’s product demo day in Pennsylvania.

The driver couldn’t have been more than 22, seemed pretty ambitious, and was willing to talk. The manager was a well-worn veteran of the trade and also very friendly. So, I had to ask them a few questions.

“Do you read CropLife IRON?” I ask. All of you should know that this is our sister publication, a dealership equipment product tabloid, and I always try to get feedback about whether people like it or not.

“It’s good … it gives us a chance to compare equipment all in one place,” said the manager. The young applicator chimed in: “It’s got a lot of pictures … and I really like pictures.”

Well, that’s good news, seeing as that’s the whole point to IRON … making it a quick yet informative read. So I dig a bit deeper with the applicator. “What did you see today that you like? What do you want in your equipment that you don’t have now?”

He thought for a second, and then began bouncing up and down on his chair, simulating turbulence that comes with working among and around Pennsylvania’s hilly terrain. “I hate this,” he says. “I know it’s the fields, but there’s gotta be something better.” Then he chimed in with: “Hey, maybe you can write a story about how much more work I can get done with new equipment that isn’t so frustrating to use!”

“So, this stuff really gets you frustrated, eh?”

“Yeah, it drives me nuts. And if I get frustrated in the morning, I’ll stay frustrated all day.”

Well, there is something encouraging there — this guy senses, accurately, that if he’s more comfortable in the rig, he will do his job better and more efficiently. Whether or not he gets a rig upgrade or not, however, is largely up to you.

I’ve been around enough applicators to sense that complaining too loudly about equipment is like a baseball team that steals a base with a 10-run lead — it’s against “the code.” Everybody is working hard out there, and no one wants to be the complainer. It’s especially true for the most experienced guys.

Manufacturers of equipment have done enough focus groups and research to know two things for sure — user comfort can have a positive impact on productivity, and applicators respond to improved performance.

Next month we’ll be covering some of the buying basics in our semi-annual Equipment Decisions report. We hope you’ll find it useful as you review your fleet and decide whether it’s time to upgrade.

But whatever you do, be sure to have an open discussion with your applicator drivers as part of the process. It’s doubtful they’ll complain about under-performing, uncomfortable rigs in front of their peers, but they’ll probably share some valuable insight in a closed-door office meeting.

To my new friend in PA, I hope you get the rig of your dreams …

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee Losses
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Monsanto Sign
Eric SfiligojThe Cat & Mouse Game Between Syngenta And Monsanto Begins
May 11, 2015
Last week, I talked about how two crop protection industry giants, Syngenta and Monsanto, had engaged in some acquisition discussions. Read More
Syngenta
Eric SfiligojWill Monsanto And Syngenta Combine This Time?
May 4, 2015
Under the heading of “never say never,” it sounds as if crop protection/seed giants Monsanto Co. and Syngenta are once Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Need To Defend Production Agriculture
April 27, 2015
Last week, I spent the better part of my time on the road visiting with ag retailers and market suppliers Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More
StewardshipCould Australian Water Trading Approach Fit In Californ…
May 18, 2015
Ten years of drought isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help the bottom line of farmers or the health of Read More
SpreadersDutch Sprayer Manufacturer To Enter U.S. Market
May 18, 2015
Dutch self-propelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac Machinery has announced intentions to enter the U.S. market with two models of sprayers available Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
ManagementA Visit To The 2015 Environmental Respect Spirit Award …
May 14, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a recent visit to the CPS Spirit winner in St. Stephen’s Church, Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee …
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Crop InputsKansas State Researchers Announce Resistant Kochia Brea…
May 13, 2015
Kansas State University researchers say new research helps explain why an invasive weed is developing resistance to a well-known herbicide, Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
HerbicidesUSDA Study: Glyphosate Application More Prevalent In So…
May 13, 2015
Glyphosate—known by many trade names, including Roundup—has been the most widely used pesticide in the United States since 2001. It Read More
AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant J…
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unificati…
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More