Top Crop Manager

From the Editor: The ultimate “Choose Your Own Adventure”

September 9, 2020  By Stefanie Croley

When I was a kid, I loved reading Choose Your Own Adventure novels. It was a series of game books that had reader choose their own fate. The novels were written in the second-person perspective with the reader acting as the protagonist. As the story continued, the pages would direct the reader to choose from two or three different scenarios by turning to a certain page. Each book has a variety of endings to land on, depending on the choices the reader made while working through the book. Part of the appeal of this was that you could read the same book more than once and the story would end differently each time.

If farming isn’t a choose-your-own-adventure style of career, I don’t know what is. The ending of each season depends so much on the decisions made through the year, and one small change can impact the entire adventure. From seeding to harvest, the success of a season depends so much on choosing the right seed, chemicals and inputs – not to mention choosing the proper timing of it all. Weather will always be an uncontrollable factor and an early frost or extra wet year will throw you a curveball every once in a while. You won’t know if you’ve made the right choices until you’re done – there’s no magic 8-ball that will predict the perfect strategy. You could have a banner year with a bumper crop this year, but using the exact same strategy again next year could yield a completely different result. Talk about an adventure.

Decision-making doesn’t always come easy, but there are some tried-and-true ways to help you with the process. My personal strategy is a combination of research and gut feeling. I like to clarify my goals, gather my information and do my research – but ultimately, instinct plays a huge role. This edition of Top Crop Manager may help with the information and research side of things. We’re kicking off our fall publishing season with a harvest-themed issue, with articles about on-farm grain drying and the benefits of straight-cutting versus swathing canola. We’re also excited to introduce a new back-page column written by Bruce Barker, our Western Field Editor and the voice behind Bruce will be sharing research insights every month in his Agronomy Update, aiming to translate research into knowledge that farmers and agronomists can use to grow better crops.


Perhaps the hardest part of making a decision is what happens afterward. You’ve made the choice – now it’s time to put it into play and focus on the follow through. Wishing you a safe and successful harvest season.


Stories continue below