The 2018 Crystal Ball

Looking into the crystal ball for 2018, what can a farmer do to reduce risk and grow a profitable crop?

• Soil test. If your soil tests are greater than 5 years old pull new samples this fall. You must have a starting point, don’t guess.

• Lime. If the field pH is below crop requirement correcting pH will provide the greatest return on money invested.

• Phosphorus and po-tassium. Believe it or not, providing P and K at the minimum of crop removal will have a greater impact on yield than additional nitrogen inputs.

• Tillage. Tillage is a useful tool when needed, if it is recreational then it is lost dollars in fuel and labor expense. Excessive tillage will reduce yields and cause soil erosion. Try to minimize the number of tillage passes and add dollars to your bottom line.

• Mother Nature. Re-member, a great portion of growing a crop is that you have no control. You will not control Mother Nature, so manage what you can manage.

• Crop budgets. Put a pencil to your crops. Know your cost per acre, use attainable yields, and future prices to develop your budget.

• Marketing. Growing a crop is easy; selling the crop is hard. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t hang on for the last penny. Always consider reducing risk, but don’t overpay for risk protection. Once your crop is sold start working on next years.

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