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RSS By: Chris Barron

Chris BarronHave a margins question? Through this blog, you will gain insight into improving your bottom line, as a margins expert answers questions and provides farm business advice.

 

Equipment Efficiency Notes

Apr 23, 2012

 

There are never enough hours in the day during spring planting season. Even though this year has gotten off to a fast start, we all tend to push equipment and people to the limit. Rainy days are generally reserved for oil changes, repairs, and hopefully catching up on some sleep.
Consider another opportunity during your downtime. For example, many of us have experienced the first day back in the field when we remember two or three changes or adjustments to a piece of equipment we thought about making last year, but just never got to it or forgot about it. These minor repairs could have easily been fixed; however, it's the small things that get little priority. How much could the small adjustments or repairs add to your bottom line? How much does your downtime cost? Do the distractions of some of the small problems impact your overall efficiency?
There will always be breakdowns, challenges, and problems with equipment, even if your equipment is new. From year to year it's difficult to remember all of the little things. Settings, adjustments, and calibration notes can definitely help you improve time efficiency. The same holds true for carrying all of the right parts to the fields, such as sheer pins, clips, spare drive chains, and other various common replacement parts. Reminder notes from year to year don't need to be fancy. A small investment in a file box keeping notes for each piece of equipment can save a huge amount of time. At the beginning of each year you'll be able to supply each piece of equipment with the needed tools and parts to minimize downtime.
On the next rainy day spend some time writing down the things you forgot about this year. You'll be amazed at how much time it will save you next year!
Consider this; what is your time worth per hour at planting time?
If it takes 25 hours to plant 500 acres and your crop is worth $500,000 on those acres; your planting time is worth almost $20,000 per hour! This may be an extreme way to view the value of your time; however, time is always the component with most value - your equipment is at its highest value only when it's moving, instead of sitting on the edge of the field when it's time to go!
Attention to details will help to improve your margins every time!
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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

BoilerUp - Duluth, GA
Your estimation of what time is worth is interesting but not quite correct. It is very true that time is the one thing that every farmer must manage and the better job they do the more profitable they are. Purdue's Model B linear programming model evalautes all of the farm's resources (time being one of those) and determines how to maximize the profit of those available resources. In your example above, its not the total revenue of the crop the planter is able to plant but the difference between the value of the hour the planter was not able to run versus the hour that the farmer was able to use to make up for the hur lost. For instance, let's assume the optimum time for planting is May 1 where the expected yield is 180 bushels per acre. Assume the planter plants 15 acres per hour and the value of the corn is $6/bushel. That means the planter is planting $16200 per hour. If that planter breaks down for an hour and the farmer can't make up for that hour until May 20, the yield might drop off to 160 bushels/acre. That means on May 20 the planter was only able to generate $14400 per hour. That hour of downtime on May 1 cost that farmer 16200 minus 14400 or $1800. Hope that helps shed some light on the subject.
7:01 AM Apr 24th
 
BoilerUp - Duluth, GA
Your estimation of what time is worth is interesting but not quite correct. It is very true that time is the one thing that every farmer must manage and the better job they do the more profitable they are. Purdue's Model B linear programming model evalautes all of the farm's resources (time being one of those) and determines how to maximize the profit of those available resources. In your example above, its not the total revenue of the crop the planter is able to plant but the difference between the value of the hour the planter was not able to run versus the hour that the farmer was able to use to make up for the hur lost. For instance, let's assume the optimum time for planting is May 1 where the expected yield is 180 bushels per acre. Assume the planter plants 15 acres per hour and the value of the corn is $6/bushel. That means the planter is planting $16200 per hour. If that planter breaks down for an hour and the farmer can't make up for that hour until May 20, the yield might drop off to 160 bushels/acre. That means on May 20 the planter was only able to generate $14400 per hour. That hour of downtime on May 1 cost that farmer 16200 minus 14400 or $1800. Hope that helps shed some light on the subject.
7:01 AM Apr 24th
 

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