As a farmer, you have so many decisions to make. It ranges from what inputs to use, when, at what rates, to what crops are the most profitable on different fields, to the logistics of how you'll plant, spray, harvest, till (or not) your fields. Not to mention the management of grain handling and storage and any employees you utilize. You're looking to build the most profitable business you can that is sustainable year over year.
Now is always a good time to start managing your farm decisions at a finer scale. If someone were to ask you if you know your cost of production, you’d likely have an idea. But, when I say it’s time to manage at a ‘finer scale,’ the question that precedes it is, “Do you know how much it costs you to raise a bushel of grain in each unique part of your field—that is—as your productivity changes across the field?”
As average farm size grows, farmers hear more and more about the data and technology available to their operation. Farm management decisions are increasingly driven by these layers of data. Yet, there is undoubtedly an emotional side to many input decisions--and for good reason. Simply put, we are all still human and crave relationship. If a world that is supposed to be in quarantine has taught us nothing else, it is the truth of that statement. The need for human interaction has and will continue to drive us to desire closeness to others. Business done without handshakes and smiles, a world where virtual meetings reign supreme, is a tricky world to navigate. As more and more buying decisions move online, how will farmers adapt?
Topics: seed selection
With Christmas fresh in the rear-view, I’m reflecting on the gifts I gave and whether or not they were the ‘right’ gift for each person. What quantifies a good gift in my mind is not at all what quantifies a good gift to my husband. I’ve learned I need to ‘speak his language’ if I want to choose something that really sparks joy for him. The funny part? The gift itself doesn’t matter to him! What matters to him is that the gift is well-researched and that it’s the choice the research says was best among similar options. This year, my husband got a new angle grinder power tool. The angle grinder could’ve cost $80 or $400, he doesn’t care—so long as he hears these words: “I spent endless hours looking for the best angle grinder and based on multiple sources of research, this is THE angle grinder to beat all angle grinders.”
Topics: data driven decisions
In 2005, Premier Crop trademarked a unique idea that has become a common practice with our customers. A trademark called Learning Blocks™. If you’ve conceded to the idea that your fields aren’t the same from fence line to fence line and you’re already managing your fields in zones, you’re ahead of the pack. But, are you checking your work? How do you confirm you are choosing the right rates for the zones in your variable rate planting or nutrient prescription? Do you just trust that the prescription is right?
There are many ways to trial new products on your farm. Possibly one of the most common is what you might call a split-planter or side-by-side trial which we’ll refer to as a split treatment trial. For example, two hybrids in the planter. Half on one side, half on the other side. A split treatment trial could also be done for seed treatments, fungicide, crop protection--anything that can run in a side by side. This could even be separate passes with a sprayer, stripped through the field.
Why should you test products on your own farm? Your farm is unique and you have the equipment capabilities and data to conduct those trials. With little risk, you can have a more robust dataset than many companies. I’ll explain…