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Breaking comfortable farming operation habits

Breaking comfortable farming operation habits

Breaking comfortable, hard-set habits formed during Covid confinement had guest blogger Brian Hedt considering his farming operations and how they once prided themselves on a planting and harvesting “systems approach” but maybe they should have just been breaking their “comfortable farming operation habits.”


After almost two years of Covid confinement, my GX-F* and I have managed to escape our little prison island down under and find ourselves here in the land of freedom and opportunity.

Packing suitcases, getting U.S. entry visas, International Covid vaccination “passports,” Covid tests at the airport before the flights, customs and immigration clearance and, upon arrival at our sons home, unpacking bags, hanging clothes finding places for toothbrushes, pill bottles, shoes, etc. the following stuck me: After several years of confinement, we are out of practice regarding travel and all of the above has required considerably more effort than I recall from previous experience.

The most satisfying part of all this upheaval in our lives is, not only are we again in the presence of our son and delightful daughter-in-law a third of the way around the world, but that during Covid we had become so entrenched in our daily habits and rituals that being able to break out of these has been like a great weigh lifting from our shoulders and put a real spring back in our steps.

Back home we certainly did not feel burdened by the health restrictions placed upon us; rather, we were annoyed because of the way they inconvenienced and restricted us. I have realized now that we substituted travel, family and friends, dinner dates, theatre outings and restaurant choices with “comfortable habits.” Just little things, like getting up a little later, regular morning walks on the same route, an extra tv quiz show we had previously not bothered with, regular coffee shop visits to exchange views regarding various world events or the latest ridiculous directives re: Covid rules. (We live in a region with zero cases but we’re still subject to city based restrictions)

This recent breaking of comfortable hard-set habits has made me think about our farming operations and how we prided ourselves on a planting and harvesting “systems approach.” I now wonder if some of our systems approach concept was underpinned by “comfortable habits.”

I could interpret my life long tractor and combine replacement history as being a kind of “Big Iron” drug habit. Every time we replaced a tractor or combine it was a “horsepower or capacity” drug-like hit, and bigger than the last one! It wasn’t until minimum/zero tillage arrived that we were able to break this “habit” at least with the tractors.

It was only when we “looked over the fence” or indulged in a farm study tour to a foreign land, participated in a regional farm walk or genuinely studied new technology that we were really challenged to examine or even break out of our existing comfortable farming operation habits.

The pitch: The crew at Walkabout Mother Bins are now reporting that owners of their bins who have broken out of the habit of unquestioningly “doing it this way because…” are finding their neighbors looking over the fence saying “That Walkabout Mother Bin has changed for the better what he has done for the last 25 years; hmmmm, I wonder…?”

Have a great harvest.

*GX-F gorgeous ex-fiancée

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Fast-forward this podcast to 1 hour and 2 minutes to hear Ray Bohacz form Farm Machinery Digest Radio talk about Walkabout Mother Bins.

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