The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Flex time challenging in ag


September 8, 2017

Time on the farm is a bit hard to explain. In one way, it is stretchy and flexible, but in the other direction it is undeniably set in its way.

Yes, you can often start or end at a time that isn’t exactly precise, but there is usually a cold, hard interval that you have to get the job done within.

So, you can start and stop on the thing that needs done, just as long as you are done before the real deadline comes.

If you know how long the job will actually take to be done, this makes it easy to pick your whens and get it all done. But when you find a job like that in agriculture, let me know, because I’d like to see such a rare bird.

For as flexible as the time is on your side, it is just as stretchy and difficult to pin down on the side of the things that need you to get them done.

How long does it take to plow a circle? Let’s assume we know the operational speed of the tractor and the plow. If it runs without problems, and the fuel tank is already full, and the cows don’t get out and need put back in, and the sprinkler will move out of the way as it is supposed to, and the tires are all full of air, and the air-filter was recently changed, and no one sets their pickup on fire and remembered to call you …

So how long does it take to plow a field? As many as I’ve done, I can’t say for sure. A day? And if you’re quick, you might get the tractor fueled and moved. But I’ve also seen double that get done in a day, or I’ve been there when it took a week for the first one, and two days for all the rest, because of the almost-disasters took a good half of each day to prevent.

I can’t say which is better, but flexible time can be a worthy challenge and I kinda enjoy that. But whichever you are used to using, just remember that not everybody’s hour is always the same. I’m looking at you, kid, and when you recently got me with that so very amusing prank, I wasn’t on farmer’s time that day, but I made it on time, no thanks to you.

But you better watch your back, because I can play that game too.

Audra Brown respects a good gotcha, but it would’ve made an odd excuse to be late for work. Contact her at:


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