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Put data to work for you: Increase ROI sustainably with solid recordkeeping

Cut costs and drive product use efficiency with practices and processes that are based on good recordkeeping

February 1, 2023

2 Min Read
Increase ROI sustainably with solid recordkeeping
Submitted by Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness

Diverse agricultural landscapes, like those in California that support a variety of crops, pave the way for numerous opportunities to cut costs and increase return on investment. Leveraging technology and regenerative farming practices, growers can cut costs to drive product use efficiency. The key is to do what is best for the farm based on what the data shows.

“For example, California represents the most diverse ag production area in the country, with row crops and vegetables, cherries, citrus and tree nuts,” said Juan Rosales, Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness South San Joaquin Valley sales manager. “All of these producers share the same desire to reduce costs and increase profitability, and most are doing so with an eye toward sustainability.”

Rosales defines sustainability as regenerative farming.

Photo submitted by Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness

“Anything in the best interest of the grower and the best interest of the crop is regenerative farming,” he said. “Growers must be the best they can be when it comes to choosing practices and processes that are efficient, safe and economical, and they must be based on good recordkeeping.”

For example, growers seeking to use fewer inputs, synthetic or natural, might also consider planting cover crops to sequester carbon, improve soil health and build up diverse microbes in the soil. Wilbur-Ellis recommends such efforts be paired with practical use of technology, recognizing that each technology or input is just one piece of the puzzle.

“Growers should work with someone who can help them combine all these pieces and demonstrate the value of connecting scouting with high-res imagery and recordkeeping. Compared with taking a blanket treatment approach, this method helps growers pinpoint where they can save money and reduce inputs,” he said. “Many growers don’t have the resources for this now, but our field consultants have the agronomic and technical knowledge to help.”

Photo submitted by Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness

By directing growers to use fewer inputs with a more targeted approach, Rosales said the budget savings become clear. In one recent case, aerial imagery combined with five-acre grid sampling and Trace Genomics data identified which microbes were present to cause disease. The grower was able to quantify disease severity and ultimately only treat 50 of 300 acres.

“That is a much more efficient way to make production decisions, lower costs and increase return on investment,” he said. “Water and labor costs are fixed costs. Inputs are the variable costs. So, we owe growers the advice they need to boost yields and get the most bang for their buck.”

Long-term, Rosales says Wilbur-Ellis field consultants can fine-tune advice as data are regularly collected.

“Recordkeeping is a strategy that not only gathers but uses data. We are not here to just sell products, but to partner with growers to help them make the most sustainable decisions,” he said.

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