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Redundancy Gets Jobs Done [Farming
Posted on July 11, 2014 @ 05:37:00 AM by Paul Meagher

During the summer months I spend more time at my farm property. I come in regularly to check on the sites I manage and deal with issues then return to working on some farm task. The next major task is making hay. Last year I invested $750 into purchasing an old Massey Ferguson 725 Sickle Mower Conditioner. I made the hay last year for the first time with an old sickle mower my father used to use. It was frustrating as the hay got caught in the sickle blade alot which required getting off the tractor and clearing the hay from the blade. The "new" sickle mower I purchased still cuts the grass using a sickle motion, but it has tines which take hay away from the sickle blade and sends them in between two rollers that presses out some moisture then shoots it to the back of the machine in a windrow. I tested it on a higher-powered tractor and it appeared to work ok. Yesterday I got two hydraulic hoses made up so that I can connect it to my own lower-powered Massey Ferguson 135 Gas Tractor. This is me testing out the machine for the first time on my own tractor beside a field I will be starting to mow today in preparation for baling on sunday, weather permitting.

This is not exactly modern machinery. My rake and baler are also old pieces of equipment but worked well last year. No guarantees they will do so again when put to the test. I could cross my fingers and hope everything works as planned but I prefer to hedge my bets and involve my brother in-law as a partner in this venture. He has a modern tractor, just purchased a drum mower, and has all the other square baling equipment as well. So when something breaks down, and it probably will, then the show can go on. The show must go on once started because making hay is an opportunistic endeavor that depends on having a forecast of good sunny weather for a few days which is the forecast now. Sucks if you start the process and can't complete it before the rain hits again.

So the general lesson from hay making that applies more generally is the importance of incoporating redundancies into your project planning. If you do not incorporate such redundancies then there is a good chance you will not complete a complex project in the projected time frame. Don't just cross your fingers and hope the gods are with you, have backup plans and redundancies in place that will ensure project outcomes happen within the projected time frame. Newer machinery also helps, but the old stuff can still do the job, might fit the budget better, and can generate more profits (because of less debt) if it proves reliable. We'll see....

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