As a farmer, you know a thing or two about razor-thin margins. Fortunately, you’re good at managing the risk to ensure you earn enough to make a living. The good news is, though, that you can take steps to help increase your efficiency and make your farm more cost-effective. In the chaotic world we live in, anything you can do to improve your margins can provide some much-needed peace of mind. Here are a few ideas to help you give yourself a little more breathing room.
Test Your Soil
As an experienced farmer, you probably have a pretty good idea of the makeup of your soil based on what you have planted in the past and the yields those crops have given. To avoid wasting fertilizer, though, it pays to have your soil tested. An accurate soil test will give you insight into exactly which types of fertilizer you need to add, so you don’t waste what you don’t need to add and don’t risk your crops by withholding what you do need to add.
Maintain Your Equipment
An equipment breakdown at the wrong time can cost you dearly, particularly with tractors and their essential attachments. That’s why it’s important to maintain your equipment as thoroughly as you can. It’s also important to know when it’s time to replace your tractor, such as Farmall tractors, to ensure you don’t stretch your old equipment too far to the point that it fails. Though new equipment can be a big investment, not investing in new equipment can cost you even more. Replacing old equipment can also be a great opportunity to upgrade what you’re using for more efficient engines, sharper blades, and overall higher quality performance from your tractor.
If you lease the land you farm, then you know how much it can sting when you have to send in that monthly or quarterly check. Of course, there are also plenty of other fixed costs, from seeds to fertilizer, that you can’t do without. Just because the costs are fixed, though, doesn’t mean they’re not negotiable. Every year or couple of years, make an attempt to negotiate lower prices. If you’re successful, you’ll see an instant improvement in your margins.
Innovate Your Pest Removal
As if you didn’t have enough challenges to deal with, then comes various pests trying to destroy your crop. Fortunately, there are many tools you can use to eradicate pests that don’t all involve expensive pesticides. Tricks like planting smaller rows of certain crops, checking for plant damage before spraying, and releasing beneficial insects can all pay off in the end. With careful research, you never know what innovative methods you may discover.
Unless you’re facing an unexpected emergency, it’s generally a good idea to make changes slowly. Since every action has a consequence, you want to prepare for what that consequence might be, just in case the consequence ends up being negative. By making gradual changes, you help preserve the capital you have while you work toward building more of it for the future.