East-Central and Southeast Iowa Crop
Crop Profits Check List
One of the challenges of crop production is to produce the most net crop
income. Meeting this challenge is especially important when crop prices
are low. Some management decisions come with a cost or a cost reduction
as well as a return (hopefully) while others have no net effect on costs
but help raise returns.
Several items do not impact costs but impact returns. Many would
classify these as "doing the little things right." They include:
Other items have a cost implication as well as a yield implication.
Some of them are:
- Be timely in planting, in application of fertilizers and pesticides, and in harvesting.
- Resist the temptation to till, apply fertilizer or lime, or haul manure when the soil is too wet. Compaction and/or soil puddling can be a yield robber.
- Be sure soil temperatures and moisture are proper before planting.
Poor soil conditions slow germination, which increases the likelihood that
seed rots and seedling diseases will become established and reduce stand
and, therefore, yield. "Sidewall compaction" inhibits good root growth
and can substantially reduce yields.
- Remember that environmental stress on crops and weeds changes both the crop and the weed sensitivity to pesticides, sometimes making crops more sensitive while weeds become less sensitive.
- Calibrate and adjust. From seeding devices to sprayers to fertilizer (including manue) applicators to harvesting equipment, taking time to calibrate and adjust is the quickest way to increase efficiencies and receive maximum
benefit from the product.
- Be sure your planter / drill is adjusted for proper seed depth (2 inches for corn, 1.5 for soybean) and that the closing wheels provide good seed - soil contact, crumbling the side wall left by the furrow openers.
- Watch planter speed. As speed increases, seed spacing becomes less uniform, reducing yields.
- Be sure harvesting equipment is properly adjusted and operated to minimize losses and to provide a good quality grain sample.
- Consider both risks and rewards in determining harvest
timing. Leaving the mature crop in the field longer may reduce drying
costs, but also remember that harvest losses increase during this same
time, and bad weather may greatly increase harvest losses.
- Be sure grain drying and storage equipment are adjusted to provide for a good quality product that will store well. Remember,however, that overdrying increases costs and simultaneously decreases returns.
- Communicate often with your landlord(s). Keep them informed about what you are doing and what the costs and returns (economic20conditions) are.