It’s almost that time of year again, meeting season time. Winter meetings are a place to pick up technical advice and pointers on crop inputs from Extension specialists and industry professionals. They are also a good time to visit with other growers in the area and learn from them as well. I would strongly encourage you to check with your local extension office to determine when the winter grain meetings will be held in your area.
This is also the time when companies are pushing their products and growers are deciding which new inputs to include in their operation for the upcoming year. Some of you may even be looking for that “silver bullet”. Looking for inputs that will increase your yields and more importantly, your bottom line, is an essential component of farming, but it’s important not to get so caught up chasing that “one thing” that will make a difference that we forget the fundamental concepts of agronomy.
I encourage you to seek out and investigate inputs and practices that will increase your ROI, but you should also always dig deeper into research about these new products and practices. Take time to look at test plots and side-by-side comparisons of various treatments. Also, compare data from more than one source if possible. By digging deeper into these products and practices you will grow and learn even if you decide not to adopt the practice.
Some questions that you may want to ask include:
Do I even have the problem that Product X will fix?
What is the potential ROI of Product X?
Does this practice require additional equipment to implement? If so can I use that equipment across enough acres to pay for it?
Was this work done on similar soils as what I farm?
What were the weather conditions when this product/practice was tested?
What management practices were used in the testing?
Don’t take a salesman’s or neighbor’s word at hand, but question everything, study success, and only adopt practices that add to your bottom line. Remember if you increase your yields but can’t cover the cost of the product it’s not worth it. Also, remember three are no silver bullets, only the application of proven agronomic practices.