The agricultural market has had some crazy ups and devastating downs over the past few decades… this instability has knocked some farms straight off the map, but you’ll still find farmers who were around the 70s staying profitable in hard times. How do they do it?
Below we cover 5 great tips that you can utilise in your farm management plans. To see yield improvement and balance the farm books no matter what turn the market takes next will truly see you regarded as a master farmer! Follow these 5 tips that have produced some fantastic results for farmers over the past decades…
1 – Hire Professionals
This might seem a bit detrimental to saving money, but in fact hiring professionals will save you a lot of time and money over the years. You need to start by acknowledging your limits. As a farmer, you’re bound to have a certain set of skills… skills that might not extend to drone flying, soil analysis and machinery maintenance.
Attempting to master these areas yourself will take a while, and in the meantime other areas of your farm may go neglected and you could even end up doing more damage than intended. Hiring experts who know what they’re doing and can get the best results for your farm in the shortest time: you’ll also build up good relationships with these people. Who knows when that could come in useful?
2 – Wise Investments
The key to making good investments is to find an area that’s going to start growing. That doesn’t mean investing just in companies and land that’s currently booming, but actually taking some predictions and putting your money in a place where it can grow with the industry.
There are plenty of new technological advances being made in the world of agriculture, from drip irrigation to fertiliser applications and more. Take a look at who’s currently leading the marketing and maybe invest in a start-up!
Of course, make sure you get professional, expert advice from a financial adviser before diving in.
3 – Re-evaluate Again and Again
We can’t stress this one enough! Don’t do anything blind and never implement changes without evaluating how they are working for your farm. Set points in your schedule to evaluate and analyse how your methods, products and rotations are actually working for your farm. Are you profiting from them yet? Are there positive signs? Have they cost more than they’re worth?
Things you can evaluate on a precision agriculture level include different crop varieties, different fertiliser brands, different planting times, different storage methods… the list goes on, and as long as you record and analyse what’s happening, this can eventually lead to a break through.
4 – Herbicides and Fungicides
Speaking of fertiliser and crop varieties, you should really take a look at different herbicides and fungicides. If you really want to prepare for the future, perhaps take a look at organic solutions rather than chemicals. While chemical fertilisers are becoming stronger, more effective and more specialised for different farm pests, we are starting to see increased resistance to these chemicals. This is worrying for all farmers.
Try cover crops on one field, organic fertiliser on another, and regular chemical fertiliser on a third field – record the results and see what works for you. Having multiple options and data on what works best for each fertiliser/herbicide/fungicide will put you ahead of the rest as we go into a super-weed infested future.
5 – Skilled Crop Rotation
The great thing about crop rotation is that it allows your fields to recover and manage the soil naturally. We all know that planting the same crop 2 years in a row drastically reduces the yield and can damage the nutrient balance of the soil. Crop rotations have been a key part of farming in the past and they will continue to be key in the future.
That being said, we have found some farmers that can plant the same crop year after year and not see that drastic drop in yield. Their secret is intensive soil management. You need to carefully and scientifically manage your soil to maintain nutrients, consistency, moisture content, pH and everything else before you can consider repeat years in your rotation.
If you can master soil management techniques, you then have the option of repeating crops in your rotation which can be very effective at increasing profits if one particular crop shows to be profitable year after year.
Are you going to give these tips a try? Let us know how it goes in the comments below!
If you need help figuring out your farm management plan, check out some of the helpful blog posts we have here on the blog. We’ve covered everything from setting up a crop rotation schedule to managing your expenses spreadsheets. Taking that first step to changing your farm processes can be daunting, so if possible try to implement them a little at a time. Perhaps just one field before you start on the entire farm. It might not be easy to change, but over the long term it sure seems to be worth it.