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Farming for profitability

Precision ag systems can take your ability to analyze profits way past yesterday’s cost-revenue calculations

By Ralph Pearce, Country Guide Production Editor

It’s been the mantra of agricultural economists, bankers and even agronomists for the past 20 years. “Know your cost of production.” At every podium at every conference, you can almost guarantee the question is going to get asked. How can a farmer farm successfully without knowing their cost of production?

We’re always told every successful corporate executive outside of agriculture knows the cost of their widgets or grommets, usually down to the last fraction of a penny.

Then the question comes again: Can agriculture afford to be different?

But agriculture HAS changed, especially in the past 10 to 15 years, maybe not because the idea of farming for profitability is so new (it isn’t) but because farmers now have the ability to measure specific properties on the farm, from fertility levels to soil organic matter percentages to cation exchange capacity.

Of course, farming has also changed because the numbers are getting so much more volatile, which puts additional pressure on farm decision-making, not just from year to year but sometimes from one week to the next.

“It’s not precision ag anymore, it’s agronomy.” — Mike Wilson, Advanced Agronomy Solutions Manager, Thompsons Limited

The equipment and systems used to support these decisions are far more complex than they were even five years ago, just as the complexity of our seed technologies has leapt ahead, with double- and triple-stacked traits as well as drought tolerance and above- and below-ground pest protection. It’s a new universe compared to when Bt genetics first hit the market in the early 1990s. Read more

Late Application of Nitrogen

Late season nitrogen application

Corn N ChartLate season nitrogen application has been a hot topic amongst farmers and uptake in this practice has increased in recent years. The expense and environmental impact has made growers think differently about nitrogen application.

Weather extremes has also caused growers to change the way they apply nitrogen to litigate loses from excessive rainfall when applying all their nitrogen ahead of planting. Read more

Reduce production costs without sacrificing yield

Falling commodity prices mean growers are concerned with their profit per acre. Input costs have remained high and have not adjusted to where farmers believe they should be. Until prices change, strategic adjustments will have to be made to stay profitable during lower commodity pricing years. Thompsons has identified 5 ways to help you reduce production costs without sacrificing yield.

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