Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘Scream Or Enjoy The Ride’

carroll smith
Carroll Smith,

Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. But it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.” I’ve seen this quote used many times although I can’t confirm where it originated. 

When you climb aboard a literal roller coaster at an amusement park, you know it’s going to be a little scary. But you decided to take the risk to experience the thrill that goes along with it. The only thing over which you have control is making sure you’re strapped in tight before the ride takes off.

To me, farming can be a figurative roller coaster on which producers have enthusiastically decided to embark. But because they can’t foresee the future, they know it’s important to “strap in tight” before the ups and downs of the new season begin. Control what you can up front to help offset the unknowns down the road.

Although this is not a complete list, here are some examples that fall into that “things you can control” category. 

Select varieties/obtain the seed’s warm/cool germination numbers to ascertain the vigor index.

Determine seeding rates, nitrogen rates and choose residual herbicides.

Budget for projected inputs.

Make sure your equipment is in order.

Stay on top of early season pest control.

Develop a plan for proper irrigation management. 

Develop a marketing plan.

Regarding the last item about marketing, I want to pass along some interesting insight an Arkansas farmer shared with me this past March while we were discussing the price of soybeans at the time.

“The highest price is always the most unattainable price because when we get there, nobody thinks that’s it,” he said. “We’re looking for that extra dime, extra quarter, extra 50 cents. My marketing strategy is to consider the upside potential that is left and the downside potential if the market turns.

“For example, we’re looking at $16 soybeans. Let’s say beans may go to $18. So that’s a $2 upside potential. But I have sold $7 beans, so that’s a $9 downside potential. Do I want to chase $2 and risk a $9 fall? Risk versus reward says sell the beans. I will sell what I think we can realistically produce for $16. I know I am going to make a good profit and have been blessed to get this price. I say sell them and don’t look back.”

The 2022 season has begun, and the ups and downs are coming. I hope you enjoy the ride!

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