As a manufacturer of precision liquid application equipment, one of my goals is to deliver equipment that makes a farmer’s job easier. Efficiency is key, as there are only so many hours of daylight to get the job done. Customers upgrade to equipment that does more work and saves time. Measuring that increased efficiency is not always easy.
Recently I read a blog post on FarmFutures.com about a farmer in Kenton, Ohio who gathered all the facts and figures pertaining to his farming operation so he could calculate an approximate return on investment. Brian Watkins and his family farm 7,000 acres, growing corn and soybeans.
Watkins uses equipment with the latest technology, and analyzed the data to get a more accurate picture of what was happening, and how to get the best results.
As William Thompson, mathematical physicist and engineer, said, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” Very true.
Watkins found that by using his equipment a little less in each field, it cut fuel and labor costs. By being more efficient, more ground could be covered in less time. You can read the analysis of his expenditures, savings and ROI here.
Do you have a good idea of what you are spending on your ag operation, and how it relates to the bottom line? In my own experience, I’ve noticed that small changes can have decent results, especially when it comes to improving efficiencies.
For example, I sold my neighbor a Field Pro 750 sprayer. It has an expanded capacity over standard 500 gallon tanks and still tracks behind the tractor, straddling two 30″ rows. That leaves one less set of tracks in the field. It has 60’ booms that cover 50% more area with the same pass than his old 400 gallon, 40’ boom sprayer. In addition, it is an affordable alternative over higher-priced self-propelled sprayers.
By taking a close look at each aspect of your operation, you can identify areas where you can make some improvements. Keep good records and review the data at the end of each season to make sure you are trending in the right direction.