What would it take to run your farm like a business? Today’s farms, no matter the size or type, should be run as a business. This means farmers must invest in technology and new techniques to help them make critical decisions based on data, not just hunches.
There is a lot of commercially available data on the market today, and it is getting more accurate every day. Let’s look at how farmers can use data to help make decisions and manage their farms.
Determining When to Plant-Based on Soil Temperatures
As a farmer, it’s essential to keep track of the sub-surface soil temperature. Knowing when to plant, based on soil temperatures, will give you a better idea of when you should be growing your warm or cool season crops.
Here’s how to keep track of the soil temperature and determine when to plant based on your local weather conditions.
Step 1: Check Out the Weather
When you check out the weather, look at the daily high and low temperatures for each day. Then, average them out for the season to better understand what to expect in terms of temperatures for that particular planting season.
Step 2: Get a Thermometer
You’ll need a thermometer to measure the soil temperature. Use one with a long probe so that you can easily place it in different parts of your garden for accurate readings on holes. The best time to do this is midday. Do it where you intend to plant.
Predicting Insect Infestations by Understanding Population Cycles
Insect populations go through regular boom-and-bust cycles, with the occasional “boom” turning into a seemingly unstoppable plague that can destroy entire crops. Knowing how to predict and avoid these outbreaks can save farmers time, money, and heartache.
A good way to start predicting insect infestations is to understand the population cycles of a particular species. Population cycles are based on the life history of an insect. Life history is the series of events that make up an insect’s life, from egg to death.
First, you need to know how many generations a particular insect will go through in a year. Once you know how many generations a particular insect goes through in one year, you can predict its population size at any given time of the year. This way, you can take precautions and avoid losing your crops to infestations.
Optimizing Chemical Applications by Understanding Weather Patterns
Farmers are constantly looking for ways to increase yields, but making the right decisions on which chemicals to apply and when can make all the difference. By using tools like precision mapping, farmers can see what their weather patterns look like, how much rain they typically get over time, and how that compares to historical averages.
Weather forecasts can help farmers decide when to apply moisture-holding fertilizers like controlled release NPK. Using these at the right time can help keep the plants from suffering from drought stress, reducing yields.
Applying too much fertilizer also wastes money and may lead to environmental problems if it runs off into nearby waterways. Using too little fertilizer may reduce yields since plants may not have enough energy to develop fully during critical growth periods such as flowering or seed development stages.
Analyzing Crop Yields for Better Planning
Analyzing crop yields for better planning is one of the most important parts of farm management that helps a farmer improve their productivity and income.
This analysis is done at the end of every cropping season, after harvest. The crops are weighed, their quality is measured, and the yield per acre calculated. Based on this information, the farmer compares his actual production with his potential production to determine what worked well and did not well on their farm.
Analyzing crop yields will help you determine your best crops and make better long-term plans. It also gives you information about how crops perform in different parts of your fields, so you know where to plant certain crops in the future.
Identifying Weak Spots in Your Operation for Potential Improvements
Whether it’s planting time, calving time, or harvest time, there are always things to do on the farm. As a farmer, you probably find yourself with a list of tasks that never seem to get done. After all, there are always new projects and improvements to tackle, which means you’re constantly juggling tasks.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with too many tasks to accomplish in too little time, take some time to reflect on the following:
What are the weak spots in your operation? Are there certain aspects of your farm where you consistently underperform? Maybe you’re not getting enough calves weaned per cow. Or perhaps you aren’t getting enough hay bales off your alfalfa fields.
Identifying the areas where your operation is weakest will help you focus your efforts and set improvement goals for the future. Making improvements allows you to implement new technologies and methods to improve your overall productivity and profitability.
Increasing Profitability by Identifying Cash Flow Issues
Cash flow is one of the most important topics for any farmer. You have to have enough cash coming in to pay your bills and produce a profit. Any time you don’t have enough to pay your bills, you’re in trouble.
It’s easy to think that everything works like clockwork when it comes to your farm, but there are always daily expenses that come up, sometimes without warning. You also need to think about other issues that may affect how much money you take home at the end of the year.
Always track your farm income and expenses daily. This should be part of your routine, and it should give you the information you need to stay on top of things during the year. It’s much easier to catch a mistake before it becomes a significant problem than it is to figure out what happened after the fact.
Get The Most from Your Farm Data
Is your time too valuable to be spent on all the tasks involved in running a farm, but you are worried about overlooking important aspects? Would you like to work with a dedicated team to help you and your staff achieve success?
Advantage Realty & Land Management can help. We offer professional farm management services that provide farmers with a real-time perspective of their farming operations. Contact us today for more information.