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
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry Formulation
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More
Ribbon cutting at 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Matt Hopkins5 Key Takeaways From The 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
February 14, 2015
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the largest indoor farm show in the country didn't disappoint with the latest in technology and trends on full display. Read More
Biocontrols Conference and Tradeshow
Crop InputsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 Conference And Tradeshow
February 13, 2015
Practical experience from some of the most successful growing operations and influential advisers and biocontrol suppliers in the U.S. highlight the agenda for the first-ever Biocontrols 2015 Conference and Tradeshow. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Inks Satellite Imagery Agreement
February 3, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Company has reached an agreement with Planet Labs to bring satellite imagery to the AgVerdict software platform. Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Storage Tips
February 19, 2015
On-farm storage of soybeans requires some special considerations compared to corn. Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance Delivers Promising Field Trial Results
February 19, 2015
In its first full year of field trials, the BioAg Alliance reported that the top 10 microbial strains tested in corn and soybeans showed very promising results. Read More
National Farm Machinery Show overview
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Attendance Up By 16K
February 18, 2015
The 2015 event saw the second highest attendance total of all time as 310,589 attendees that included exhibitors and agribusiness professionals traveled to the Kentucky Exposition Center to participate in the nation’s largest indoor ag trade show. Read More