You probably aren’t short of things to do on the farm this winter. But, here are 13 farm tips to get your farm operation functioning with ease this year. We cover everything from manure application to drying your boots faster. Each farm tip comes straight from farmers who found ingenious ways to solve common problems found on farms.
Farm Tip One: Protect Your Grain Auger
If you have an old water tank no longer in use due to irreparable damage, repurpose it. One way to do this is create a cover for your “grain auger unloading hopper.” Simply cut the old water tank in half. Now your auger is protected from harsh weather conditions like snow and rain.
Try Two-Wheeler Simplicity
Truck brake drums are roughly 110 pounds and hard to handle. Instead of using a floor jack or trying to manhandle them into submission – risking injury – try a two-wheel dolly instead. It will require a little maneuvering to get good balance, but it simplifies the job.
Farm Tip Three: Keep Buckets Separated & Dry with Ease
If you have a ton of 5-gallon buckets just laying around creating clutter, build a bucket holder. Get 11/2-inch strap iron that is 3/16-inch thick and cut it into 8-foot lengths. Weld them at an angle and screw them to your wall. Voila. Colby Klinginsmith from St. Paul, Nebraska shared farm tip.
Check Your Manure Applicators
Clogged injectors or air vents on manure applicators can lead to considerable rate variation from row to row in your fields. To avoid this, do a trial run using a half tank of water. For an even application, the injectors and air vents need to be clear.
Farm Tip Five: Get Out of a Grain Truck
A ladder outside of a tall grain truck helps you get in, but what happens when you need to climb out? Make a mounted step inside the truck. This farm tip comes from Mark Wilsdorf from Madison, Missouri. He used a “1-inch angle steel and 3/8-inch rod about 20 inches” above the truck’s floor. Its wire panel lets the grain flow through, and it can be easily removed when needed.
Test Your Soil
It might sound basic, but testing your soil is one of the most important farm tips on the list. While it’s true you can spend too much time on fertilizer, oftentimes farmers aren’t spending enough. Make sure to test your soil, so you have the best information on your fields.
Farm Tip Seven: Get a Thermal Imaging Camera
If you have a smartphone, a great tool to purchase is a thermal imaging camera with the ability to plug into your cell phone. This is done through the phone’s charging port and is guided by an app. It can help you check your insulation quality, equipment stability, and surface soil temperatures among other things.
Try a Taller Tire for Air Volume
This farm tip comes from Ag expert, Brad Harris, who notes the importance of inflation pressure. As he tells it “a tire doesn’t carry the load, the inflation pressure within the tire does.” Go with a taller tire where you can. It will “give you more air volume so that you can carry more load at less inflation pressure.”
Farm Tip Nine: Keep Chucks Handy
Spending time searching for air chucks can be a real timewaster. To avoid this, mount a piece of angle iron onto your compressor. Drill and tap two holes to accommodate ¼-inch bits, and screw two couplers into the holes. If the coupler on your hose goes bad you have easy access to alternates.
Dry Your Boots Quicker
Tired of wet boots? Paulus Wollmann of Faulkton, South Dakota, has a great farm tip for quicker drying. He “nailed together 13x5x5-inch pieces of wood drilled four holes into the top and screwed in 1 ½-inch male adapters to accommodate 24-inch-long pieces of PVC pipe.” Then, he cut out “a hole on the end for a squirrel cage fan.” Boom. Boots dry faster.
Farm Tip Eleven: Focus on Fertility Before Planting
Extension Educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Megan Taylor suggests you focus on fertility before you begin planting. “This gives you time to determine pre-plant, starter, and side dress rates.”
Utilize Technology in Your Farm Operations
There are a variety of resources that help advance your knowledge and the management of your farm operation. Be sure to use technology to your advantage. Excel is an excellent tool for record-keeping and notetaking. Online trainings keep you abreast of the latest technologies and practices. Smartphone applications are becoming essential, you can even monitor your stored grain from the comfort of your home.
Farm Tip Thirteen: Research Plot Test Results
Technical Agronomist, Mike Smith with Stine Seed offers insight into how to properly “decipher product performance from plot data.” Look for winners that consistently land in the top half of the plots. You don’t want to pick something just because it “won a strip trial plot one year.” You’re looking for consistency and stability that only comes from research and cross-referencing data from years back.
Source: Successful Farming Magazine
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