How do you improve crop production over a large variety of soil and ground conditions, while also cutting your expenses?
Just like other manufacturing sectors, farming businesses need to control input costs and have the ability to switch between methods to maximise efficiency and profits.
One UK farming business took on numerous challenges with the aim of developing a higher efficiency and lower cost yield improvement programme, which could be effective across a variety of soil and ground conditions.
The solution would have to support rapid evaluation and testing and be capable of enabling efficient crop yield assessment. Soil improvement and sowing methods would need to increase yield while also improving efficiency and being cost-effective, sustainable and commercially viable.
More effective use of fertiliser and slurry would help to manage costs, but the team also had to consider data collection and assessment methods, along with the best growing and environmental condition options to allow rapid system improvements. Other considerations included issues of pest and weed control, quality and yield.
Their solution would have to achieve the highest possible soil quality and optimum growing conditions, while reducing soil conditioning costs, investment of staff time and reliance on costly vehicles.
The team’s R&D project included a number of growing trials over many different soil types, conditions and rotations. They created a local, cheaper fertilisation application process and worked hard to address issues surrounding even application and the management of slurry movement and settling.
Using satellite imagery, the team can now assess the effectiveness of seed density across an area after sowing. This method also helps to ensure that the correct volume of fertilisers and slurry is being applied to improve yield while keeping costs under control.
After significant testing and developing, the team have seen improved outputs. Work continues as they strive for even greater yields with lower costs, sowing the seeds for an even more profitable future.