Profit more by farming less

Profit more by farming less

Based on new University of Guelph research, profitability mapping shows why some parts of the farm will never make money with corn and soybeans

Seldom has agriculture been a model of “cutting back” or “making more by doing less.” Yet when it comes to sustainability, soil health and even profitability, it may be time to explore both of these notions.

There are some who insist agriculture in North America is heading in the right direction with recognition of soil health, environmental awareness of fertilizer use and water quality, and the use of cover crops. But there are other, low-hanging fruit that could do more to boost productivity and profitability while adding diversity and greater accountability.

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Dr. Clarence Swanton, a professor and weed scientist in the department of agriculture at the University of Guelph, believes the key to unlocking greater profitability — while coaxing greater diversity — is through precision agriculture.

Precision agriculture, Swanton says, has given a clear indication of field variability. In his estimation, that is its biggest contribution by far, through yield mapping and the ability to manage the variability identified in those maps.

Unfortunately, precision ag has also created an overload factor for growers. Many are overwhelmed with the volume and specificity associated with the technology.

It all sets the stage for an industry that is moving ahead with programs and tools, and Swanton believes it’s getting ahead of itself in terms of what can be used versus what can be used effectively.