In some parts of the country, winters are mild enough for crops to be grown throughout the year. But, in other areas, farmers work the land during the prime farming months (with planting typically beginning in April and harvesting typically ending in November) and use the winter to focus on other responsibilities.
So how can farmers keep themselves busy during the off season? Here are 4 winter farming tips:
Catch Up on Records and Bookkeeping: Farmers can use the off season to review the data they’ve collected throughout the farm year, including crop yields, notes on weed and insect controls, crop timing, and weather results. Once they’ve gathered all of the information together, they can look for trends and correlations and use what they’ve learned to make decisions for the coming year’s crop.
Repair Tractors and Other Machinery: One of the best ways to keep a machine in top condition is to create a tractor maintenance checklist to run through before each trip out to the field. But maintaining farming machinery can sometimes mean making the necessary repairs to keep things running smoothly. By establishing a relationship with a John Deere dealer, farmers can have a reliable contact at the ready to ensure responsiveness and speedy repair if a part or attachment needs attention.
Attend Public Farm Meetings: With the 12-14 hour days in the field behind them, farmers may find their schedules are freed up to attend annual farm meetings. These meetings, open to the public, offer farmers a place to learn about new and innovative farming techniques, hear what new policies may affect them, get tips on how they can best recover from natural disasters, and so on. What’s more, annual farm meetings provide a gathering place for people from all different backgrounds to convene and celebrate their passion for food and the people who grow it!
Keep Current with Technology: In this day and age, technology has become a critical component of successful farming practices. Statistics show more U.S. farmers and ranchers are using smartphones or other mobile devices to increase efficiency and generate higher profits. With this in mind, farmers can use the off season to familiarize themselves with various John Deere mobile apps that can be useful in the field, including JDLink, the Mobile Farm Manager app, the Power Assist mobile app, and more.
Of course, the off season can be a time for farmers to get in some much needed rest & relaxation after a long harvest. But, after a respite, there’s plenty farmers can do to keep themselves occupied until the spring arrives and it’s time, once again, to get planting.