Farm teams face plenty of stress during the fall harvest season—especially when part-time employees are inadvertently forced into unfamiliar situations. Prevent injuries and inefficiency this year by holding a pre-harvest meeting, advises Chris Barron of Ag View Solutions.
“List a bunch of topics that need to be discussed so that all employees, both part-time and full-time, … get on the same page,” Barron says. “Make sure everybody understands when it’s time to make certain decisions on the operational side of things, they know what to expect and you know what to expect of them.”
Topics you should discuss include:
- Safety: Touch on safe driving speeds for grain trucks and other vehicles, cellphone usage and the need to wear appropriate gear and work specified hours.
- Equipment Operations: Put standard operating procedures (SOPs) into place for large and even granular processes, such as keeping track of elevator tickets. “If a truck driver hauls a load of corn to town and he leaves the ticket in the truck and it gets lost, that’s not helping anybody,” Barron says. “They can’t be in trouble for doing something wrong, making a mistake or even breaking something because a lot of times, if something goes wrong, it’s probably because we didn’t train them properly.”
- Maintenance: Think about trucks and service equipment that is used to deliver fuel to combines in the field. Who is the point person to ensure those vehicles get oil changes and other care needed on a regular basis?
- Harvest Priorities: “Be flexible,” Barron recommends. At the same time, though, know where there are stalk-quality issues and other reasons you might “want to be in one field quicker than another one.”
- Fall Fertility and Tillage Priorities: “You don’t want somebody pulling into a field that’s going to be no-till soybeans the next year and having them till it because they were tilling other fields,” Barron cautions. “Figure out: Do you have the right maps, and do you have all of that information in front of them?”
Add to this list any additional focus areas you’d like to address during the meeting.
If you are interested in receiving a copy of Barron’s pre-harvest meeting agenda and related examples, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.