Changes in your Farming Operation don’t need to be large sweeping changes reacting to Product markets. Often the largest gains to be had on farm are simply finding the best production system that suits your goals, lifestyle, or key limiting factors, such as Labour and Capital.
To first understand your operation and how changes effect your business you need to be able to truly quantify production output. In a Arable production system the easiest way to do this is with a Yield Monitor, understanding yield potential in areas of the field, soil types etc. Then leading on to actual in field Variety Trials, Fertility trials to help you as the farmer establish the things that work in your business, not what the seed of fertiliser Rep told you.
This is not a Blog to tell you to buy a yield monitor, although it is a key tool, every business quantifies yield at point of sale. Business management is managing a process based on performance or a feed back loop in your enterprise, farmers do it everyday, so does every other company. Precision Ag Hardware and Technology take it to the next level. For Example imagine you are Henry Ford building Model T Cars out of a Factory in Detroit. You have 5 assembly lines producing cars, and per day they produce a total of 1000 cars. of these 5 assembly lines 2 produce 600 and 3 product the other 400, what do you do? Currently the only performance value you see is 1000 cars, much like the total yield for a field based on scale figures. How do i Find the limiting factor for the other 3 assembly lines, and how do I fix it. In this example, if one line at optimum can produce 300 cars, this means that those 3 lines making 400 cars should have a potential to produce 900 cars, however they are only producing 400. What ever this limitation is, it is costing Henry about a 1/3 of his optimal production.
Back to Farming! A good Feedback loop will tell you where efficiency can be gained, but when you change multiple parts of your production system the Feedback loop can become clouded, and benefit of changes can be diluted. For example Planting Maize all one Hybrid in your field without a control or direct comparison in that same field in that same year. Then changing variety next year because your seed rep says he has a better Hybrid. What you have done to your production system have changed two large variables, now you don’t know which one gave you the gains. Weather could have been the largest factor that limited yield, not variety. It is true that because of this companies will replicate trials long term for your benefit, but often the conditions in which they are grown will be similar but different enough to your own situation. With weather patterns changing etc, isolated weather events if further highlights the importance of proven data in your back yard.
Examples of changes in production systems are not only limited to Seed, there is also Return on investment examples to be found in Fungicide, Herbicide, Insecticide applications as well as cultivation, Yes cultivation! Control of Chemical Application is also a very important part in the farmers feedback loop, again, trialing Chemical Application on farm then calculating a ROI from it looking at the Yield Maps with control strips at the end of the season will help you to decided if what you did was worth the effort. GPS controlled Sprayers are now more then ever affordable, and in the case of the Ag Leader displays, we can use the same Display in your Sprayer and Harvester to help you keep the cost of implementation down on your farm. GPS controlled Sprayer hardware gives you a base map of application done in field then the ability to lay it under the yield data at the end of the season to examine the outcomes.
By looking for quantified outcomes in your production you are looking for decision support tools, Proof of placement maps, for inputs, understanding fuel consumption and productivity per hour in cultivation, and was that last pass really needed.. Kinda like Henry and his car factory, he now has a starting point to tune his enterprise. Henry didn’t stop and just start building motorcycles, he made small changes to his production system that made them more efficient, found a cheaper supplier for flux capacitors, found out what issues the staff where having on the floor and looked for solutions to solve those problems.
If you have a part of your Farming Enterprise you believe could be more efficient, and you thing Precision Ag Hardware can help, drop us a line and we are happy to talk about The ROI you are likely to receive and the benefits your operation will see.