Another way to maintain and improve the condition of your farm is through conservation farming. These techniques are designed to reduce or slow runoff maximizing water storage and reducing soil erosion.
Traditional conservation practices such as terraces, grassed waterways, and tile are effective when working properly; however they require occasional maintenance and improvements. In some cases, older conservation systems must be changed to accommodate modern equipment. Your farm manager regularly evaluates these systems.
Modern equipment technology and chemical weed control options make it much easier to conserve our valuable soil. Field operations are designed to leave crop residue on the soil, protecting against soil loss and improving soil structure.
Examples of Modern Techniques:
- Contour Farming is planting the rows across a slope following its elevation. The rows slow water run-off to prevent soil erosion and give the water time to settle into the soil.
- Conservation Tillage involves tillage operations that leave enough crop residue on the soil surface to protect it against heavy rainfall and erosion.
- No-Till leaves the ultimate amount of crop residue on the surface for protection, but can be difficult to work with in wet, cold soils.
- Strip-till or Zone-Till is a relatively new practice where fertilizer is placed in deep bands with knives that raise the soil surface into small ridges where the crops will be planted. Benefits include a warmer, drier seed zone while maintaining crop residue cover.
Stalcup Ag Service utilizes two processes which we believe are unique among our farm management peer group:
- Developed our own GPS-based soil sampling system to centralize the data and improve the quality of sampling using our employees instead of a third party.
- Use of crop management software to tie layers of GIS/GPS information together to optimize results. These systems allow each manager to accomplish:
- Specific field by field variable-rate fertilizer application
- Variable-rate planting
- Segregating high, low, and medium productivity management zones to allocate input resources for the highest return
- Review yield performance to improve variety selection for specific fields
- Review tile location and locate possible drainage problems
GIS information is managed in-house as much as possible, allowing all information to be used by our managers to make decisions. When inputs are used more efficiently it not only improves your bottom line, but more importantly it has a positive impact on your farm’s condition and environmental quality.
Click on the following links for examples of various GIS maps:
- Soils map with CSR
- Yield map over soil types with yield per soil type
- Yield map and planting map with yield per variety
- Tile map over aerial photo
New production technologies are studied, analyzed, and transferred into results on your farm.
Managers utilize and promote GIS/GPS systems to improve decision making and your bottom line. Farm operators are encouraged to use precision ag technologies to save inputs, increase yields, and collect information.