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With tough economic times, finding new strategies to trim production costs are on the minds of most no-tillers.
Here’s a rundown of the best cost-cutting ideas No-Till Farmer editors gleaned from winter meetings of the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association and Alberta Conservation Tillage Society.
1. Dwayne Beck, director of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm at Pierre, S.D., and a speaker at last January’s National No-Tillage Conference, maintains input costs per acre are not relevant. He told attendees at the Manitoba-North Dakota no-till meeting that the cost per unit of production is what counts because that’s what you sell.
“Agriculture is going to get more competitive, so you are going to have to reduce costs based on today’s commodity prices,” he says. “Use ‘weak-link analysis’ to figure out what’s keeping you from making more money.”
2. The best recommendation from Craig Shaw is to no-till on time. “With our short growing season, we only have a 10-day window in the spring to plant,” says the Lacombe, Alberta, grower. “While this is often impossible physically and economically, management decisions to meet this goal improve both yield and crop quality potential.”
3. Beck urged no-tillers to refinance their land before federal regulators raise interest rates any further. “By getting new loans while making changes in rotations and tillage, you’ll make enough money to pay off your land costs in the same amount of time,” he maintains. “Don’t be afraid to spend money to make money.”
4. Weed control ideas with no-till…