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

Latest News
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
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
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More