Get your crews in order
In order to follow the best practice for block changes, you’ll first need to ensure your crews are organized well and that each crew has a crew leader/checker.
Crews should have:
- 1 Crew Leader
- 1 Checker (+1 after 45 pickers)
- 15–45 Pickers
- Pickers permanently assigned to checkers
- Checkers assigned to rows
The key is consistency & communication. Crews can move between blocks freely, but consistency in the manner of how they handle that process and the communication to other checks/crew leaders is crucial.
First, organize and assign the crews to specific rows within the block that are consecutive. Too often, multiple crews are assigned within the same block and are given no clear guidance as to which rows belong to which checker or crew. As a result, checkers have immense difficulty identifying which rows belong to their crew members. If you have multiple checkers within your crews, ensure that these assignments are given by checker, instead of by crew.
Right: An example of assigning an appropriate number of rows to a crew/checker, that are consecutive and easy to move between.
When it comes to assigning rows — keep it simple. Use consistent increments, for instance batches of 10: Rows 1–10 belong to Crew A, Rows 11–21 belong to Crew B, 22–33 to Crew C, and so forth. You can also assign crews to the same row, where a crew starts on each end of the row and moves towards the middle, or they can start in the middle and work their way out.
The number of rows assigned might depend on the length of rows and topography; if your ranch is on a hillside you might assign fewer rows.
If you have multiple checkers within a crew, assign the rows to the checkers. For instance, each checker gets 5 rows.
Communication is Key. Your checkers must be able to communicate with each other! They should be informing other checkers and crew leaders (usually by radio) of all block changes or movements of pickers.