Farm trade shows can be a fun way to network, expand your knowledge, and learn ways to improve your farm operation.
CropCare offers the following tips to help you get the most out of the 2017-18 lineup of trade shows. Go prepared so you get the most out of it.
Research & Mobile Apps
Look online for the trade show event(s) you plan to attend. See if there is an event map available, especially one that includes a list of participating trade show vendors and their display locations. Plot your course.
Some events have mobile apps specifically designed for trade show events, which can help you view a show map, mark booths to see, view the contacts/sales reps who will be at each booth, and get contact information for vendors. You can also learn about workshops and discounts more easily.
SE Regional 2017, the official mobile app for the 2017 SE Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference, lets attendees explore sessions, develop their own personal schedules, access speaker information, and post and view popular discussion topics and show-related photos.
To keep farm safety a priority, and with National Farm Safety & Health Week in mind, we offer the following harvest safety tips:
Keep equipment in optimal condition, with routine inspections and maintenance. Examine equipment regularly and keep an inspection/maintenance log.
Replace worn parts to avoid safety risks and downtime.
Examine the terrain before operating farming equipment to inspect for unusual or unexpected sinkholes, drop-offs, slopes, etc. Know what your land has in store for you before heading out.
Small tractors require safety measures just as combines do. Tractors should have roll-over protection, especially on terrain with slopes or stream banks, and should not be used on slopes that are too steep.
Do not fuel your equipment in an enclosed building or when the engine is hot.
Do not attempt to fix a moving part of your equipment. Turn off equipment and wait for all parts to stop moving. Entanglement is a high risk and one of the most common causes of farm injury.
You should wear proper PPE, free of loose strings or dangling ties that pose a risk of entanglement. Once again, turn off all equipment (cutter bars, augers, conveyors etc.) before resolving blockages or checking levels.
Practice bin safety when loading or unloading grain. Avoid entering a bin when possible; use a long pole to break up stuck grain and wear a safety harness while working. Have another person nearby to serve as safety guard, observing at all times.
Your equipment should display SMV signs on the back. If you must use public roads to move equipment to and from the fields, have SMV signage on machinery, reflectors, and flag any items that protrude.
Be aware of state and local regulations regarding transporting various pieces of farm machinery. Equipment operators should observe weight ratings and height restrictions regarding various roadways, bridge crossings and overpasses.
Because another round of spraying often follows harvest, review the Material Safety Data Sheets that list safety gear, hazards, and precautions for the chemicals and pesticides you are applying. Routinely review the pesticide application information you received for your applicator certification, whether for commercial or noncommercial application. See Respiratory Overview and Pesticide Worker Safety.
CropCare offers the following tips to farmers for remaining profitable this year:
Have a farm financial plan in place that projects an estimated crop income and expenses (including labor costs and equipment maintenance). In years with above average crop prices, try to save 20% of your revenue for lean times.
Precision agriculture can help monitor crop yield, track crop variations, levels of fertility, and more. This comprehensive list is a helpful guide to precision ag terminology and advantages. Keep records each year to determine profit flux and the possible reasons for them.
Get the most life out of your equipment investment. Take care of the equipment you already own, with proper and routine maintenance, as well as proper storage. See our December Post
Apply nutrients and pesticides efficiently, and not before conducting a soil test. Knowing what is needed can help you avoid spraying too much (a waste of money and product) or avoid spraying too little (resulting in a lower crop yield).
Lastly, consider diversified operations, whether by growing different crops, offering storage to others, providing agritainment, etc. See diversification suggestions from Penn State Extension.
To being winterizing your sprayer, check your owner’s manual to review any maintenance program suggested. Your warranty can be jeopardized if proper winter care is not given to your farm equipment.
Winterize your sprayer with RV antifreeze. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Consider changing the seals and rollers on your sprayer’s pump after several seasons to improve its performance. Contact an authorized CropCare dealer for parts and technical advice.
Record repairs needed. Over time, if done annually, you’ll gain valuable insight, enabling you to estimate repair costs and work them into the new year’s budget.
Give your sprayer and farm equipment a close inspection for dirt or debris, and remove it.
Clean farm equipment, dry it, and lubricate it. Lubricants used with equipment through the winter should offer the proper viscosity to handle low ambient temperatures.
Protect any exposed metal parts with a lubricant or rust preventative. Keep your barn or storage area free from moisture as much as possible. Purchase heavy-duty tarps to protect your farm equipment and sprayer from winter conditions if it is stored outside.
Change the oil and the oil filters. Use the oil recommended by the equipment’s manufacturer.
Use starting fluid sparingly in tractors or small-engine equipment used through freezing temperatures. Use starting fluid only while cranking the engine.
Top off the fuel and add a fuel stabilizer if storing your equipment for weeks at a time.
Disconnect batteries if storing it through winter. Remove any debris. If the top of a battery is covered with damp dirt, it can conduct electricity and drain your battery (even if there are no cables connected).
Purchase equipment parts and supplies now and stock them. If any need to be replaced in the spring, you’ll have what you need and there will be less downtime.
Remove electronic controllers from your machine and store in moderate temperatures in a clean and dry location. Most current controllers will retain any programmed memory, however, be sure you record all calibrations before removing the unit.