Spring in our sights!

With only 27 days remaining until the first Monday in April, the pace of preparation is picking up. Easter occurs on the 16th of April this year. Past history says there is 75% chance seed will be in the ground by then.

So many tasks, so little time.

In an effort to improve our readiness, Bert intentionally put less focus on modifications and retrofit projects, concentrating instead on basic maintenance. I will admit my imagination often led us down dead ends which contributed little benefit. In my idealistic optimism, I can always find a life lesson in my most recent failure. Bert’s take away is “Quit wasting time experimenting!!”

As of this date, Pinicon is ahead of schedule for equipment maintenance. Most of the tractors, tillage machines, trucks, pickups and trailers are inspected and field ready. Ongoing projects include chemical application equipment, support vehicles and the truck we stole on auction that, to our surprise, needed a new engine.

Bert felt really bad when they got the truck home and discovered the cam was bad. The truck only had 260,000 miles. Normal engine life is three times that. Bert is quick to recognize his role in mistakes, take responsibility and make adjustments. This is one of the attributes that earned him first opportunity to be majority owner of Pinicon. However, regarding the $24,000 engine, his due diligence pre auction was more thorough than any inspection I ever had time for. It seems likely to me that the universe is evening up odds with Pinicon. All lucky streaks eventually run their course.

Danni and Lindsay have been busy in the front office with phone calls, data entry, HR duties and of course “Mother Hen” responsibilities that Linda delegated when she retired. Yes, there is a “Mother Hen” S.O.P.

Alex has gotten past the frantic end of the year bookkeeping period and settled into a more relaxed workload consisting of account reconciliations, expense analysis, FSA duties, legal counsel and special projects.

Ben splits duties as head agronomist and G.I.S. analyst while overseeing equipment repairs in the shop. He is also heading up assembly of a second chemical tender. We will use both sprayers this year for herbicide application. A change in philosophy with the new owners is a greater emphasis on timeliness versus utilization. Previous management was obsessed with utilizing every machine 110%.

Each sprayer will cover over one thousand acres daily so they will both need a dedicated tender. Having logged thousands of hours in the sprayer and mixed hundreds of chemical batches, Ben has a good idea how our ultimate spray tender should be equipped. I look forward to seeing his creation.

With so many machines moving through the shop, Calvin spends half his time on the phone ordering parts. Manure management plans, shop organization and weekly grain marketing discussions with Bert occupy the balance of his days.

I will be making my first hiking trip to Arizona in 2017 next week. That will be my final pre planting junket.

Be sure to check in next month as I expect to have actual field activities to report on. Till then, try to contain your excitement.



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