As the start of spring draws closer, for many Canadian producers, thoughts turn to the planting of crops and the hope for a productive and successful farming season begins again.
The promise of a new season is an ideal time to do a thorough check of equipment and processes. If you feel you’re running short of time, consider this: time is a resource we seem to have plenty of when times are slow, and then becomes invaluable as work demands increase.
Being proactive checking equipment and processes before planting is essential. Taking the time to implement pre-season checklists will pay off in the end by helping reduce the chance of breakdowns and downtime during one of the very busiest parts of the year. (As an added bonus, using checklists as a part of your safety management system shows your farm does its due diligence.)
There are plenty of checklist templates available or they can be created from scratch. The choice is yours as Ag Safety Week is celebrated this week, where checklists can be found at the AgSafe Canada website.
When working with a checklist, begin by asking yourself questions about various equipment and processes. This will give you the tools to identify problems and gives you the opportunity to develop corrective actions to address any issues. You don’t have to rush and try to fix everything all at once. Instead, prioritize items based on the chance of occurrence and potential severity if a breakdown occurred.
An operational checklist should also include placing orders for essential supplies, such as seed, crop protection products, or feed. Since these items often take time to arrive, ordering them in advance means they are readily available when needed. Another thing to consider on your checklist is purchasing any necessary insurances (home/property, crop, liability, etc.) to protect your operation should an unfortunate and unforeseen event occur.
And don’t forget to inspect your fields and pastures for standing water and drainage once the last of the snow has finally melted.