With the turn of the calendar, I suppose I should make some new goals for the farm. Let’s just concede the premise that most farming goals have the underlying fundamental of return on investment. Everyone wants to make money so they can stay in business! So, what are we going to do in order to help reach that goal?
The number one goal out of most farmer’s mouths is to raise yields. It’s been a least a couple years since I stated to you we wanted to grow the same number of bushels on a third less acres. We are still working toward that goal.
Last year may have been a ‘hiccup’ on that road, but despite late plantings, we still saw some of our best crop potential ever. Kernel and pod counts far exceeded expectations. Unfortunately, in the end we ran out of something, likely sunlight. So we continue to move forward.
We will do some trials that shift maturities and populations out of our comfort zone. We are also going to test 20-inch corn rows again. Though we would prefer to forget the difficulties of 2019, we will choose to learn something from it.
Reduce cost is the other common goal. We say it every year: Reduce repairs, reduce inputs/make inputs more efficient, reduce tillage, increase no-till, make pool purchases. These all fall under the same category. Every year these are probably the most difficult items that we can control.
True, often repairs pop up that we can’t do anything about, but when fear gets involved in fertilizer and crop protection, that is when we lose control of costs. It seems there is always one more $5 or $10 or $30 per acre application that might make more yield. And honestly, farmers (us included) are terrible at testing products and programs.
So, here are the areas that we are specifically looking at for 2020:
- Reduce corn and soybean planting population.
- Return to dry fertilizer on the planter.
- Test products/practices by taking test strips to yield.
- Reduce tillage.
Next week, I’ll take a closer look at what we are going to do in these areas and why.