A variety of expert sources expect that by the year 2050, farmers across the globe will be responsible for feeding nine billion people. And still, farm acres in the United States are harder to come by each year. So the obvious answer to a very tough equation is that more food will need to come from each acre — in other words, yields need to keep increasing for the long term.
At this time of year, it’s always good to reflect on what has been accomplished and what can be done better the next year. And in planning for the coming year, there are three questions to address to help push yields further in your fields.
- Is my operation continuing to improve each year? This can be from final yield totals, to overall soil fertility, to operating revenues, but it’s important to see improvement year after year. With the need to increase food production globally, improvements on every acre are a priority.
- Am I managing a knowledge-based business well? In other words, what are you learning each year, and how are you applying those learnings to each subsequent year? Farming ranges drastically from year to year. (Consider the drought of 2012 and just this past year’s record crop, for instance.) Addressing soil fertility, making smart seed choices, and relying on the wealth of information that surrounds agriculture helps you to make good, sound business decisions that will lead to success.
- Am I asking the right questions to keep my operation growing? The best part about the farm community is the farm community itself. Farmers are always eager to share what they’ve learned with other farmers. Take time to network. Don’t be afraid to ask what works and what doesn’t. Be open to new ideas, technologies and techniques. You’ll never know what can make the biggest difference if you never try.