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Planting the Next Crop
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Before today’s topic, let’s briefly update the area’s drought status. Remember this is through 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug.13. The no drought area has moved into the eastern third or so of the county (and even in to Stafford County). The abnormally dry area is the middle third and the western quarter is in moderate drought. And this doesn’t reflect any rains after 7 a.m. this past Tuesday. Last year at this time we were pretty much at the highest or next to highest drought severity rating. What a difference a year makes.
Over the next month producers will ready fields for winter wheat. The key to having the potential for a good crop is everything needing done before the seed goes in the ground. First, you have to determine if your land is suitable for your purpose. Next, you need the right equipment. Then you develop a plan. You must select the proper variety; determine your fertility and possible pest control needs, and so on. Now you must balance the desire to get everything done with when it should be done. This means not rushing and on the other hand not procrastinating. To quote John Wooden: “Be quick but don’t hurry.” Patience really is a virtue. Then you have to be flexible since things never go exactly as planned. Lastly, you have to be honest as you evaluate what you are doing and how the crop is progressing (or isn’t). If you do your homework, follow through and pay close attention, you maximize your yield potential and will obtain the best crop possible for the conditions.
Tomorrow, Aug. 19, begins another year at Barton Community College. The college is helping grow the next crop of well-educated citizens. The steps outlined in the previous paragraph are easily applied to anyone, whether fresh out of high school or having just attended their twentieth class reunion. In agriculture, when students come in for a visit they are asked a series of questions to determine where they want to end up when they are done. They have test scores to evaluate where they are at. Students receive a curriculum guide for what path they have chosen. Naturally they are in a hurry to reach the final product, their degree. Here also patience is a virtue as is adaptability and flexibility. They regularly interact with their instructors and advisors to check on their progress. And just like producing wheat, if you do your best and follow the plan, when you are done you have produced the best crop possible.