Prep Week: Digging into the office side of farm work

February is a month of anticipation, preparation and planning. This week we will drive into the thinking, and documentation, that we use to help us collect, capture and communication our thoughts. It is important to be able to capture what is in your head for a few reasons:

  • no one else can read your mind

  • you can be more objective if information is collected into one spot

  • sharing information with your trusted circle helps plan and guide future action

Irregular Field Shapes2.PNG

This year we are using a different company to help us capture data, map and plan for our precision applications and analyze the impact on productivity. Our first task in this process was to update our land list. Our land list includes:

  • legal land description (section - township - range)

  • the common name (the farmer who owned it 3 generations ago or the name of the one-room school that was located there)

  • the number of acres

  • the crop to be planted there (more about crop rotations later this week)

This may seem like a “no-brainer” for some farms with a very stable land base. However, for us this process is complicated by things like:

  • changes in rented land base

  • land exchanges (for physical location convenience or crop rotational purposes)

  • the sale of a decommissioned rail line that runs through our property

  • land improvement projects that changed the boundaries and acres of existing fields

  • irregular natural boundaries

  • fields that do not align with legal descriptions: fields divided and farmed along natural boundaries (ravines, elevation changes) rather than by legal descriptions

Why Does it Matter? Updating your land list can seem like a make-work project. But it is important for at least three main reasons:

  1. To accurately capture data from application of inputs through analysis of harvest, so that the analysis and calculations that result from this data are as accurate, and therefore useful, as possible.

  2. To be able to accurately communicate about field locations, shapes and sizes with employees, product vendors and custom applicators.

  3. To develop complete and current emergency and safety procedures plans.

If you have any questions about our land list process, just drop us a comment or direct message! Or email

Check back for prep work conversations about crop rotations, orientation manuals and safety plans later this week.