Analyzing Cropping System
In tight financial times, businesses often try to reduce spending and improve their profits. Many farmers are currently operating their businesses under such conditions. Wise management decisions can improve profits in farming while reducing cash flow needs. Some of what you put into your farm business can be perceived as cost free. That is, this input does not change as yield per acre changes. Examples include timeliness in all operations, equipment adjustments, crop rotations, land rent and taxes. Making the best use of them should increase yields and profitability in your cropping system.Avoid high costs until your financial position improves. Too often, we take big risks during hard times in hopes of big payoffs. But when you are counting your chips is not the time to double your bet. Don’t overlook any necessary costs that could directly affect crop yield. These necessities might include seed, pest control, fertilizer, lime, fuel, equipment, maintenance and adjustment, and positive management. Omitting anything that has increased yields will undoubtedly reduce profits.
Keep a positive attitude. It has been stated, “For success, attitude can be as important as ability.”This guide contains information about cost-cutting and cost-effective measures that may be useful in your crop production. The major theme is management. Proper management will improve profitability.
Planting & Seed
Seed quality is a key to good yields. For most crops, use certified seed or seed of a quality comparable to certified seed. Home-grown seed can save money, but you should know the germination so you can get a proper seeding rate. Never use seed from hybrid crops for next year’s planting (corn or grain sorghum).Use new varieties Soybean varieties have been improving at about 1/3 bushel per year. Using a 10-year-old variety means you may end up with about 3 less bushels per acre. Corn varieties are improving at about 1 bushel per year. Use current variety test information to help make your decision.Always treat seed corn Wheat seed treatment is generally beneficial. Soybeans may not need seed treatment in non-stress conditions. Seed treatment can improve some low germination seed.
Narrow rows usually increase yields for nearly all crops. Consider narrowing existing equipment to the limit and, as needs arise, purchase equipment for narrow rows. Soybeans planted in narrow rows (10 inches or less) have increased yields an average of 4 bushels per acre over 30-inch rows. Narrow rows show the greatest advantage in late-planted crops such as double crop soybeans or grain sorghum. You can get narrow rows by doubling back with wide-row equipment.