In this article, Nick Graeen describes ten farming strategies to increase income.
Farming is difficult because farmers are variables such as favorable weather conditions like the right amount of rain at the right time of the year.
For example, farmers growing cereals or pulses need the first rains from late April to May to wet the soil for plowing.
This stimulates the growth of weeds that must be killed to plant the seeds without compromising the nutrients they get from the soil.
Rain should be regular throughout the growing season, then they need good sunny days to complete the growth phase.
During this stage, good rains are again necessary, then beautiful sunny days to complete the process of maturation of the harvest during the summer. With so many variables involved, the whole process is risky.
The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the war have resulted in destruction, displacement of people and economic devastation.
The economic consequences of war are global. Ukraine is a major exporter of oilseeds and grains.
Thus, the prospect of a reduced supply of grains and oilseeds on the world market resulted in a sharp increase in its price.
The price of fossil fuels has also risen sharply. The war surely impacts the agricultural sector and increases production costs.
However, the price of production will also increase; therefore, the net impact on producers remains uncertain.
However, ESRI expects economic growth in Ireland to remain positive with a modified forecast for domestic demand to grow by 5.0% in 2022 and 4.5% in 2023.
Moreover, according to ESRI, the conflict has fueled higher inflation, which is now expected to average 6.7% in Ireland in 2022 and 5% in 2023.
A few tweaks to farming strategy are a great way to increase your income and increase your profit margins.
Plant different crops:
Farmers sometimes fall into the rut of relying on the same type of crop year after year.
This increases the risk of failure if crops do not grow well. Instead of relying on a single variety of plantings, planting different crops can ensure you have a backup option to fall back on. Select plants that can be sold in your local community for a profit.
Animal husbandry is an excellent second source of income for farmers, and it is also a reliable source of income.
Raising animals like sheep can be very profitable for farmers. However, the average gross margin per hectare in 2022 for sheep farms should drop by more than 5% to €700/ha according to Teagasc.
While the average Irish dairy farm could see a net margin per ha and income level in 2022 broadly in line with the 2021 figure, which is around €1800 per hectare.
Dairy farming is a great option to consider because it doesn’t have as many hurdles as plantation.
On the other hand, the average gross margin of cattle fattening farms in 2022 is expected to be similar to 2021 due to farms in the top third of profitability which is almost 600 euros per ha.
Just to get a little extra help, you can use sheepdogs and livestock guard dogs.
These dogs are of the working type and are an essential choice for guarding and protecting your cattle, sheep, chickens and goats from predators.
They are also good for keeping rodents out of the barn and food storage. To learn more about herding dogs, read on.
Rent advanced machines:
Better use of machines means less labor involvement. It also saves time, which means you can increase agricultural production and increase your income.
If you can’t afford the cost of the machinery, rent it.
Shift to high value crops:
High-value crops provide the farmer with higher net returns per hectare than high-yielding winter rice.
These can include hybrid corn, potatoes, vegetables, spices and fruits. Therefore, shifting your production to these crops can help you automatically increase your income.
You should also keep local eating habits in mind to understand if what you harvest will sell quickly.
Increase cultivation intensity:
Cropping intensity is the number of times a crop is planted per year in a given agricultural area. It is the ratio between the effective crop area harvested and the physical area.
The more times you can plant the crop, this equates to increased production, hence income. This means never leaving your field inactive.
Rent the land:
If by chance part of your field is unused or if you don’t plant crops during a given season, instead of leaving the land unused, rent it to someone who wants it for a few months.
This will become a source of study income as the unused land does not help you increase your income either.
Reduce the cost of cultivation:
Many farmers don’t realize this until it’s too late. They overuse fertilizers hoping that increased use of them will increase yield. This is not only wrong, but also risky as it increases the risk of diseases in crops.
For example, nitrogen fertilizer is essential in rice production and must be applied several times during the growing season to ensure sufficient supply during the critical growth phase.
The Leaf Color Chart (LCC), which was jointly developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilliRice), is used to determine the nitrogen fertilizer requirements of rice crops. LCC has four green stripes and the color ranges from dark green to green.
It determines the greenness of the rice leaf, which indicates its N content. Once you learn the amount of fertilizer needed by learning the leaf color chart to determine the amount of nutrients needed by plants, it reduces the cost of fertilizer and also saves the plant itself.
Reduce post-harvest losses:
Post-harvest losses can be one of the major yield losses, as the farmer loses time, money and all the hard work that has been put into farming for months.
In some cases, losses can reach 80% of the entire harvested crop; therefore, you need to plan storage carefully.
Use pesticides to protect the crop from pests and ensure the humidity in the storage area is at optimum levels which can reduce damage during post-harvest storage.
By increasing the yield:
Yield increase is one of the main things that can help increase the income of any farmer.
There are, however, many ways to do this. You can start by planting disease-resistant varieties of plants so that they can resist disease and cause no losses.
You can also choose a high yielding crop or the crop varieties that do particularly well in the soil or environmental conditions, which can have a huge impact on yield.
The duration of the planted crop is also an important factor to consider. If you live in an area where there is less water availability, planting a crop that needs a longer duration may not be suitable. Instead, you should choose a fast-growing crop.
Remember to overlook simple issues such as weed control, as this can lead to yield loss, yet many farmers forget about it.
The application of nutrients and pesticides should also be done at optimal times.
Sowing and harvesting are non-monetary inputs that are really important and should be done at an optimal time.
In addition, the provision of timely irrigation is essential to reduce crop duration and improve yield.
By increasing knowledge:
It’s never too late to learn something new. With the emergence of new technologies that can help farmers, they should always keep up to date.
There are tons of content they can read online to gain more knowledge in this area. Remember to rely on reliable sources.
The bottom line:
Several factors have an impact on the price of the crop, such as environmental factors such as droughts, floods and fires, which have a large impact on their income.
The farmer may work very hard, but his income is determined by weather conditions, the environment and world commodity prices.
The world production of a crop determines world commodity prices. If it is high, prices can go very low.
With so many variables in such a competitive market, it is difficult to increase a farmer’s income.
But with, the right knowledge and application of it, can be beneficial for him in the long run.
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