AGRI-BRIEFS
  AGRONOMIC NEWS ITEMS
From Agronomists of the
Potash & Phosphate Institute
655 Engineering Drive, Suite 110
Norcross, Georgia 30092-2837
Phone (770) 447-0335

Winter 1997, No. 1

INVEST IN HIGHER YIELDS

Spend money to make money...right? Absolutely. After all, farming is an investment and obtaining a return on that investment is what it's all about. Just like the stock market, the goal is to invest wisely. So, how do farmers invest wisely? Invest in higher yields.

    Profit is the difference between the total return from sale of the crop and the costs, both fixed and variable, of producing that crop. It is what is left over after all the bills are paid. If nothing is left over, there is no profit. Think of profit as a pie and costs as slices taken from that pie. Higher yield gives a bigger pie to work with and greater opportunity for more leftovers.

    Total return is the product of yield and price. Some years prices are great and some years they are not so great. The question is, what can growers do to increase total returns? Unfortunately, they seldom have much say about price. Market factors such as supply and demand, government farm programs, and so forth basically determine crop price. Price may be influenced by quality, but within a specific grade, price is, as previously stated, out of the growers' hands in most situations.

    Yield level significantly influences total return. The greater the yield...the greater the total return. This is the area where growers can dramatically make a difference and why best management practices (BMPs) are so important.

    Agronomic BMPs are aimed at optimizing yield. Some BMPs cost more, such as additional fertilizer or more total irrigation water to reach a higher yield goal. Others cost no more or little more than previous practices. Examples of low cost inputs are selecting improved seed and planting to a higher plant population. Good management decisions are no cost inputs that can significantly increase yield. For example, changing the planting date to a more optimum time for a specific variety and adjusting equipment for more precise and uniform application of fertilizer are no cost inputs.

    High yields obtained through BMPs have additional benefits beyond more profit. They also protect the environment because:

    High yield management involves careful investment of inputs. Done properly, the return can be substantial. If not, potential profit is lost, and risk is actually increased because all controllable inputs are not being properly managed...some are being left to chance. There will always be risk involved in farming because of factors beyond our control. But let's be sure to minimize that risk by managing those factors that are, in fact, manageable.

    Higher yields are always a good investment with BMPs.


--- AEL  ---

For more information, contact Dr. Albert E. Ludwick, Western Director, PPI, P.O. Box 1326, Bodega Bay, CA 94923. Phone (707) 875-2163. E-mail: aludwick@ppi-far.com.
Copyright 1996-2017 by Potash & Phosphate Institute. All rights reserved.