Tag Archives: crop quality

Look Up Occasionally

When’s the last time you looked up from the task at hand?

I ask this question because farmers have a lot of small details to manage every day, from getting a hired hand organized to deciding if this is the day for optimal fungicide application timing, and everything in between.

There are very few other industries where business owners work as long and tirelessly, over a very short production season. And of course even after the actual work of growing the crop is done, there’s still plenty of issues to manage like successfully marketing that crop.

I’m sure at times it can feel like a treadmill, where all you get to do is run constantly in an effort to stay in the same place. That’s not only an exhausting reality, it can also be harmful for your agronomic management of your operation. Continue reading

Contributions to Sustainable Agriculture

We recently had the opportunity to attend the World Congress on the use of biostimulants in agriculture in Italy. As part of The European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC) literature they presented an excellent roundup on five contributions this sector makes to sustainable agriculture.

  1. More quality and yields
    Feeding a growing population requires yield increases and enhanced crop quality. Both are fostered by biostimulants.
  2. Boosting crop resilience
    Stressful growing conditions related to climate change require resilient crops. Biostimulants increase plant tolerance to, and recovery from, abiotic stresses.
  3. Reducing nutrient losses
    By facilitating nutrient assimilation, translocation and use, biostimulants help keep nutrients from leaching into neighbouring ecosystems.
  4. Helping the food chain
    Biostimulants can enhance the quality of produce, which improves farmer incomes, storage longevity and nutritional values of food
  5. Better Water Conservation
    Biostimulants help nurture soil micro organisms and increase root growth, which improves water retention and resistance to erosion and drought.

Crop checking: what you may not be seeing

For the past 30 years I have been working with farmers who are trying to improve their production and profit by using different seeding equipment, new seed varieties, and different fertilizer and soil improvement programs. We have found that some farmers who try something different or using something new on their fields do not take the time or effort to properly evaluate the results. For most farmers everything is always relative to something they think is a standard. For some a quick drive by visual observation is all that is done and for some their only point of reference to production performance is coffee shop talk.

In reality there are some things a farmer can see and many which he cannot. For example, what can a farmer see?

The typical farmer plants his crop when he feels it’s right. He may be guided by the weather, the trees coming into leaf, the neighbors, or the weeds. He can then watch for emergence or check for germination in the field. He can also see rainfall, weed growth, stooling and some other obvious things relating to physical growth. If he sprays he can check for weed kill, or visual crop damage. He can visually see the colour changes as the crop matures,etc. An experienced eye can see the more obvious visual effects of disease, insect infestation, salinity, drought, excess water, etc. all of which limits crop production. Continue reading