I love this time of year as the tractors begin to ‘plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land’, taming the scruffy post-harvest fields into a neatly-combed, autumnal landscape.
As a young agricultural student, I cultivated many a field – in fact one of my more enjoyable summers was spent ploughing 350 acres of Hampshire. One of the key skills needed for cultivating or drilling, is the ability to drive in a straight line.
Anyone responsible for wobbly ploughing would be mercilessly ribbed by the local community – but it’s a lot more important than that. Badly drilled fields can result in wasted resources and reduced yields – as the fertiliser spreaders and sprayers all use the tramlines that the drill sows in the fields on day one.
Many modern tractors and combines use GPS positioning to keep them in line – but back in my day it was a skill that needed to be learned. You needed to line up three things that were in plain sight from the tractor, and keep them lined up as you made that first pass across the field – typically the tractor exhaust pipe, something in the hedgerow that you are driving towards, and maybe a tree in the next field over.
Keep these three points in line and only make gentle corrections, and your furrow should be straight and true. Just like the fields, I’m sure you want to be proud of your high-yielding business, so as you drive your business forwards, is your path straight and true?
What do you have ‘lined up’ to measure your progress against? And if you deviate slightly from the target line, do you over-react like the inexperienced lad bouncing over the fields, sawing the steering wheel this way and that, or do you carefully make considered corrections whilst keeping your eyes firmly on the target?
Best wishes for a bountiful business harvest!