CropCare offers the following tips to farmers for remaining profitable this year:
Have a farm financial plan in place that projects an estimated crop income and expenses (including labor costs and equipment maintenance). In years with above average crop prices, try to save 20% of your revenue for lean times.
Precision agriculture can help monitor crop yield, track crop variations, levels of fertility, and more. This comprehensive list is a helpful guide to precision ag terminology and advantages. Keep records each year to determine profit flux and the possible reasons for them.
Get the most life out of your equipment investment. Take care of the equipment you already own, with proper and routine maintenance, as well as proper storage. See our December Post
Apply nutrients and pesticides efficiently, and not before conducting a soil test. Knowing what is needed can help you avoid spraying too much (a waste of money and product) or avoid spraying too little (resulting in a lower crop yield).
Lastly, consider diversified operations, whether by growing different crops, offering storage to others, providing agritainment, etc. See diversification suggestions from Penn State Extension.
To being winterizing your sprayer, check your owner’s manual to review any maintenance program suggested. Your warranty can be jeopardized if proper winter care is not given to your farm equipment.
Winterize your sprayer with RV antifreeze. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Consider changing the seals and rollers on your sprayer’s pump after several seasons to improve its performance. Contact an authorized CropCare dealer for parts and technical advice.
Record repairs needed. Over time, if done annually, you’ll gain valuable insight, enabling you to estimate repair costs and work them into the new year’s budget.
Give your sprayer and farm equipment a close inspection for dirt or debris, and remove it.
Clean farm equipment, dry it, and lubricate it. Lubricants used with equipment through the winter should offer the proper viscosity to handle low ambient temperatures.
Protect any exposed metal parts with a lubricant or rust preventative. Keep your barn or storage area free from moisture as much as possible. Purchase heavy-duty tarps to protect your farm equipment and sprayer from winter conditions if it is stored outside.
Change the oil and the oil filters. Use the oil recommended by the equipment’s manufacturer.
Use starting fluid sparingly in tractors or small-engine equipment used through freezing temperatures. Use starting fluid only while cranking the engine.
Top off the fuel and add a fuel stabilizer if storing your equipment for weeks at a time.
Disconnect batteries if storing it through winter. Remove any debris. If the top of a battery is covered with damp dirt, it can conduct electricity and drain your battery (even if there are no cables connected).
Purchase equipment parts and supplies now and stock them. If any need to be replaced in the spring, you’ll have what you need and there will be less downtime.
Remove electronic controllers from your machine and store in moderate temperatures in a clean and dry location. Most current controllers will retain any programmed memory, however, be sure you record all calibrations before removing the unit.