With the New Year now upon us, farmers must take control and pay close attention to yields and margins.
I have developed a number of key points below that will help you achieve consistent high yields and margins for the year ahead.
With regards to fertiliser, I recommend that all farmers assess their N, P and K requirements based on recent soil tests and what yields they took from each field last year. Currently, it looks like fertiliser is going to be more expensive than last year so it is important that it is monitored carefully. If big yields were taken from a field last year, they will need extra P and K this year to correct soil status. Farmers should also consider assessing lime at this stage also.
I also recommend that farmers take a careful look at machinery costs on the farm and look at where savings can be made. Fertiliser and machinery costs combined will form 50-60 % of the overall costs of production before land rental or seed is taken into account. Machinery costs may be costing a lot more than you think, having a substantial impact on the overall profit margin. As the Americans say “get the best bang for your buck”.
Whether it is remedial drainage work, rotation or applying lime or fertiliser, looking after your soil health is essential. Good decisions and attention to detail from a soil health point of view will play a crucial part in delivering your targets from a yield and margins perspective.
As the season progresses and spring crop sowings begin, it will be imperative to grow the best varieties available in the certified seed market that will deliver best yields along with good agronomic packages and market options. It is important to consider all viable options and even new markets for niche crops.
The points outlined above will always need to be assessed and monitored on a continuous basis. Every farm situation will vary and what might be a problem for you will not be a problem for another farm. I recommend that farmers discuss these key points in greater detail with an Agronomist as a problem shared is a problem halved. No matter what you are trying to achieve for your tillage business, it is imperative to be positive and have a “CAN DO” attitude.
For more information or assistance, contact the Connolly’s RED MILLS agronomy team. Wishing all our customers and fellow growers a productive 2018.