Focus on ROI when Finalizing Inputs
Managing costs is on every farmer’s mind as the ag economy continues to lag entering the 2018 production season. How to best do that is the question our agronomy sales staff has been hearing a lot recently.
“Last week, a grower asked me where he could save this year—where he could cut to improve his profitability,” says Anthony Conn, Crescent City agronomy sales. “The truth is, you can’t just cut your way to profitability. We have to feed the crop. You don’t want to start cutting the products that are giving good ROI.”
David Nesbitt, Jamaica agronomy sales, agrees. “At these commodity prices, we need to get every
bushel we can,” he states. “That may involve spending an extra dollar or two, but if those dollars spent more than pay for themselves at harvest, you’re ahead.”
Both Anthony and David agree that the local research conducted by United Prairie on their Innovation Farm and on the farm with area cooperators is a valuable resource in determining which practices consistently provide the best returns where you farm.
“In our area, fungicide application on both corn and beans—and applying insecticide to the beans at the same time—has shown consistently good results,” David says. “Foliar feeding has also been a positive practice, though application timing is critical. This is when you want to check out the trial results, because all foliar feeds are not created equal.”
“One thing I have seen with fungicide application is not only does harvestability improve, but overall plant health,” Anthony adds. “That occurs whether disease pressure is present of now. The majority of the time, fungicide use pays on both corn and soybeans. Seed selection is also important, knowing which varieties need help standing for harvest, but at the same time, increased plant health drives yield.”
Test to know
Anthony also notes those who have recent, accurate soil tests may benefit this season from variable rate fertilizer application by being able to spread fertilizer where it is needed. The only way to know for certain where and how much to spread or not spread is to grid sample.
“There are a lot of choices available when soil testing, and you will want to pick the most accurate option,” he says. “When those samples are taken, even the environmental conditions at the time, will impact the results you get.”
Anthony says that any member of the agronomy sales team would be happy to sit down with a grower and go through the results from United Prairie’s research program. “We can access even more data than what was published in our booklet this year,” he explains. “Every grower is unique, and we may have some information that will be an even better fit for their operation. We can show you what kind of return you can expect, and we may find that it’s those “add-on” products that will give our growers the yield boost they’re looking for.”