• Tom Bechman

    Spring Moldboard Plowing? Really?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 20, 2013

    You can dust off tillage trials by Don Griffith, a former Purdue University Extension agronomist, that date back into the 1970's and 1980's. Of all the systems studied, moldboard plowing in the spring was one that typically returned the lowest yields. Many Indiana soils are simply too heavy and wet to respond well to plowing in the spring when soils tend to have extra moisture, and clods form easily. Fast forward to 2013. Most moldboard plows are parked. A few companies still…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Simplify Complex Agriculture Until It Works

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 25, 2013

    Life is more complex today than when your father farmed. Heck, it's more complex than when you farmed five years ago. Truth is it's more complex right now than when you parked your combine last fall. Technology is added every day, and nothing stays as it is very long. However, this doesn't mean you need a PhD to continue farming. Past education isn't important. It's what you're willing to learn now as new technology comes along that matters. The biggest mistake…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Sometimes I Wonder About New Technology

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 12, 2012

    My cell phone should be attached to my hip. If they could do that, I would probably have the surgery. I feel lost without it, but I'm bad about remembering where it is. One morning recently I had a 400 mile trip with two stops for interviews, actually taking me into Ohio briefly and back into Indiana. I got ready the night before by using Mapquest – can't live without it, right? I put in the first place I was going, then got directions from the first place to the…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Technology Has Arrived On My Doorstep

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 10, 2012

    I was the first in the company to have a personal computer. It was in the late '80's, and it was an old KayPro. It came in a metal case, and they shoved them out so fast that they put the wrong covers on some machines. A machine that said KayPro might really be a KayPro IV. I no longer had to use a typewriter. But when we got ready to send something, anything, as in send a story to our office in Chicago, it was a 20-step process. It usually entailed a call to John Otte in Des Moines to see…

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  • Tom Bechman

    The Cost of Technology Today

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 7, 2012

    My wife, Carla, opened the cellphone bill a few days ago and couldn't believe her eyes. It was $200 higher than it had ever been before, and it's already high enough that I gripe about it every month. That's because mom and dad are still supporting cell phones for four grown kids on the plan. Once they get jobs, that stops. In fact, the oldest has been told that once she gets a job, she can start paying all her bills plus a monthly stipend to us, just because. She's starting to think I'm not…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Who Says Time Travel Isn't Possible?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 22, 2010

    This past week I reached out to people over a 500 mile radius. If I had done those interviews in person and took those pictures as in the good old days, it would have been some 2,500 miles. I would have been tired beyond belief by Friday night. Besides, I wouldn't have many if any stories written either. As it is, I've got a nice variety and number of stories prepared for you to enjoy when the January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer kicks off the New Year. And I seldom left the comfort of my…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Dare To Do Demonstrations Live

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 11, 2009

    The coolest one-day field day I've been to lately was sponsored by Michelin Tires and held at the Purdue University Animal Sciences Research Farm near Montmorenci last week. It was refreshing to see someone put their product where their money is, and try a live demonstration, even if the results didn't come out exactly like they had hoped.   "We're live and you never know what's going to happen," Bob Rees of Michelin said at the start of the day. He later acknowledged those words proved to be…

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