I was working with some of our younger crew members weeding swiss chard today. The chard had been planted on plastic, and because of our cold, dry spring had grown slow enough to let a few weeds take hold.
I quickly moved through 2/3rds of the bed myself, plucking the weeks and dropping them into the path, knowing that the 90 degree day and steady wind would quickly shrivel them up. The crew members slowly moved through the other third, carefully making sure that no weeds were left in the bed.
My wife and I were discussing this at dinner. The crew members were working diligently and trying their hardest but not getting the amount of work done I was. I think there are a couple reasons to explain this:
You have probably been farming longer, and weeding more, than they have. Experience counts. You can identify, hopefully, all the weeds, and crops that you have growing on your farm, and therefore can work faster. Your muscle memory is trained, and weeding is probably at this point more like therapy.
You have more skin in the game. It’s your farm, you enjoy all the rewards (and disappointments) of farming. To them, it is a job. To you it is your life and, hopefully, passion.
As the boss, you usually have other jobs besides the physical, strenuous jobs that your crew does all day. I know when I worked for other farms, I tried to make sure that I paced my exertion so that I was still productive at 5 PM. As a boss now, I can spend up to 2/3rds of my time doing non-strenuous office or sales work. This allows me to sprint when I’m in the field. The crew needs to treat a work day like a marathon.
You know exactly what you want. Your crew is constantly evaluating, checking, and waiting for feedback. I knew that the very small weeds would never make it and therefore left them, the crew heard, “get the weeds out,” and therefore were going to make sure all the weeds were out of the field.
What are your thoughts? Other than the obvious, “you just can’t get good help these days,” what do you feel are reasons that crew members sometimes don’t work as efficiently or as quickly as you, the farmer, do?