|Traffic jam - County Line style as Randy stops while feeding cows to talk to the Kanza Co-op spray rig workers.|
Getting things "just right" is best left for fairytales, though we'd all like to have a good dose of "happily ever after." That's easier said than done on a farm. Weather is always an uncontrollable factor in crop production. And these, days, with commodity prices low, it's a balancing act to try and keep input costs under control and still produce a good yield on a quality crop.
I'll admit that my eyes were starting to glaze over when Randy started explaining about "diminishing return on investment." So he pulled out his old textbook, "Economics for Agriculturalists: A Beginning Text in Agricultural Economics" and showed me a chart. Who knew those textbooks would still come in handy?
According to current research, if you put on 10 pounds of nitrogen per acre, there's a 2 bushel per acre boost in yield. If you put on an additional 10 pounds per acre, there's only a half bushel per acre increase in yield. The nitrogen costs $3.50 per acre.
|A "nurse" truck came to the field to replenish the rig.|
This year, it costs $2.50 per acre for the Finesse. This is 20 percent less than it was last year, a financial advantage that Randy says comes from the merger of the Kanza Co-op with some other co-ops, giving it better buying power.
Since we don't have our own spraying rig, we pay $5.00 per acre for the application. If you're adding that all up, it costs $11 per acre, an input expense that we'll add to the bottom line of producing our 2017 wheat crop.
Later, Randy will have additional 2017 wheat acres sprayed with a different herbicide. That herbicide has less carryover. In other words, Randy will be able to plant sudan hay on those acres after we harvest the wheat in June. That's not an option for the acres sprayed with Finesse. However, Finesse is less expensive and has longer lasting control. Again, it's a consideration of what's "just right" for our farm - or as close as we can get it.
"Aggie Visits the Wheat State," a blog I wrote a few years ago when we had Flat Aggie visit from a California elementary school.)