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How Can a Farm Save on Production Costs?

Rising costs affect agriculture more severely than other industries.

There are so many necessary supplies involved in growing food that it’s crucial to be smart about your resources.

Conserving water, getting the most out of equipment, shopping competitively, and examining pest control techniques are all essential parts of making a farm profitable. As a bonus, many of these initiatives make farming operations more eco-friendly as well.

Here are four ways to save on production costs while running a farm.

1. Track Your Water Usage

According to the USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, 15.9 million acres of American farmland were irrigated with off-site water.

As droughts increase across the country, this number has only climbed. Off-site water is a key expense to examine in any farming operation, as you’re paying for the gas and labor of trucking the water as well as the product itself.

Cut the expense of trucking in water by using new technology to manage your irrigation. Instead of pumping inexact amounts of water over all blocks, a state-of-the-art system directs water only where it’s needed.

Irrigation monitoring capabilities inside the irrigation valves, themselves, control the flow of water to reduce waste. The valves also transmit water data to you through a cloud system, so you can track which crops perform best at certain water levels with impressive precision.

Treat water for irrigation like the precious resource it is to reduce costs and stay productive through periods of drought.

2. Avoid New Equipment Purchases Whenever Possible

It can be tempting to upgrade to new equipment often. Farm equipment sellers promise productivity, and you would avoid the trouble of repairs. However, buying new in this market may not be a smart move.

If there’s a neighboring farm selling used equipment, this not only spares you the supply chain headache but can also save your farm money in production costs. If not, get on a first-name basis with the best repairman in the area.

Keeping your old equipment running for longer is a smart cost-cutting move.

3. Negotiate With Suppliers Early

The price of necessary supplies such as fertilizer and pesticides fluctuates so often, it can feel like gambling trying to lock in the best rate. Playing this game well can be a great way to reduce costs for the entire season, however.

Do ample research on the internet before making any purchases or committing to any deals. There may be more information on the market available than you realize. Look for events that may increase the price of essentials and try to lock in a lower rate early.

Negotiate with suppliers, but don’t overlook methods that reduce your need for chemical aids altogether. Cover crops, rotating fields, and using leaves and local mulch may be able to cut down on costs.

4. Use Integrated Pest Management Techniques

Pest management is a complex industry, and the more you know about the risks and benefits of certain strategies, the more you can save on production costs. The goal of pest management isn’t to get rid of all pests all the time, but instead to act decisively when it looks like the crop may be lost.

Integrated pest management can be thought of as a cresting wave. You want to act as the wave rises, but before it reaches its peak. A tiny amount of pests may not be worth the effort of applying pesticides at all.

The insecticide should be saved for confirmed high levels of insect activity to save on costs.

The value of the crop should also come under consideration when deciding if pesticides are appropriate. If a crop is higher in value, you’ll want to act sooner to mitigate risk. Low-value crops may turn out to be a loss if you apply too many expensive pesticides and insecticides.

New challenges to farming require innovative and thoughtful solutions. Don’t neglect any area of your operation when looking for improvements. Comb over your budgeting, and you may find you can cut farm production costs.

 



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