By Storm Sammon

Never give up is something I was told a lot while growing up.  Whether it was learning to ride a bike, dribble a basketball, or solve algebra problems I seemed to have someone behind me pushing and telling me to never give up until I had given it my best.  This really got me thinking about things I’ve seen this year in the world of crop production and how we should never give up on our crop.  I had a colleague tell me once we lose our crop 3 times a year.  Maybe it’s something like hail, being too wet, or getting too dry but it is because of these things we let emotions get the best of us and make decisions that are not in our best interest of our crop or our pocketbook.

My Wife is from North Dakota. They had a tough year where she grew up in that they were extremely dry early on and the crop really struggled because of it.  When we visited there this last month I noticed a cornfield that looked terrible and was full of weeds.  In talking with my father-in-law about it he told me the guy never sprayed it.  He felt it wasn’t worth it because they were so dry.  Guess what? It rained late in the growing season and the weeds took advantage and over took the corn crop.  This individual gave up on his crop and is now paying the ultimate price not only this year in lost yield potential but for many years to come with increased weed pressure.  This got me thinking about the times I’ve seen growers give up on a crop.  I know I have had conversations with producers who have wanted to apply less nitrogen at side dress time, or skip a planned micronutrient application, or not apply a planned fungicide application on a hybrid that is a proven responder.  Yes, I have also had growers ask about cutting back on chemicals all because they have let their emotions from weather, crop prices, or how the crop looks impact their decision process.  I can tell you that with great confidence that most of the time a producer cut something from their plan they have regretted it in the end.  This past growing season I think a lot of us were given a glimpse of what kind of yields we can achieve if mother nature allows it.  I feel truly fortunate to be a part of some of the decisions that have enabled growers to see yields that they have never seen before.  Whether it was making side dress application recommendations that increased yields by 15 bushels or a fungicide recommendation that gave 20+ bushels, full yield potential and financial return cannot be reached if we don’t push our crop.  This next year I encourage every producer to make a crop plan and execute it.  Don’t let emotions effect your decisions and don’t give up on your crop.