Crop yield is an essential aspect of successful farming as it impacts on how profitable a farm can be. Crop yield simply indicates how much you can produce within a given amount of land. In today’s economy, being able to do things efficiently is as important as ever. You want to ensure that you are maximizing the available resources, in this case land.
So, what are some of the ways you can increase your crop yield?
Consider your crops like the ingredients in a recipe; what you put in determines the end product. In this case, the quality of your soil, your seeds, and your planting practices will determine the overall strength of the final product- the crops you are farming.
In order to increase your crop yield, consider these tips:
- Test Your Soil
Soil testing should be on your to do list right from the word go. This is because the needs of your soil will directly influence the growth of your crops. Examining the phosphorus, potassium, and fertilization levels of your soil gives you insight into how to handle your crops. It will also let you know when proper soil conditions are forming, such as the optimal density and right amount of nutrients, so that you are ready to start planting.
- Seed Quality
Good quality seeds is the basis of increasing crop yield. Using hybrid seeds which are stronger and are naturally inclined to growing faster, with greater efficiency is key to the success of your crops. For instance, Non-GMO seeds combine sustainability and cost seamlessly, which accounts for both quality and cost.
Also consider improved heat tolerant seed varieties which allow the plant to maintain yields at higher temperatures. Heat tolerant varieties could increase crop yield up to 23 percent.
- Plant Early and Effectively
The most important part of planting is often choosing the right time to plant. Although hybrid seeds create a more sustainable product, knowing if your field is ready for early planting is important. There are tests you can perform on your soil to determine whether it is ready for planting. Planting early can result in increased yields by taking advantage of unexpectedly early favorable soil conditions.
- Practice Seasonal Soil Rotation
Planting recurring crops season by season can affect your overall yield. Planting of this nature should only be considered when soil conditions are strong enough, or the land mass is limited. If you do not have access to either, you may need to consider planting alternative crops in alternating years. Planting an alternating crop helps to diversify the demand on your soil, hence resulting in crops that not only yield more, but continually produce well year in, year out.
- Know the Yield Potential
Planting seeds and hoping for the best is not enough, you ought to understand your field’s growth and yield potential. This entails understanding the kind of crops you are planting and the kinds of seeds you are using. Crop farmers typically have an idea of the estimated yield potential of their seeds. Comprehending this kind of information will help you manage your expectations and be able to tell whether or not your yield potential is matching your actual production.
- Smart water management
Water management is crucial to crop survival and maximizing yield potential. Much as it is important to ensure your crops are getting enough water, it is necessary to ensure that they are not being over-watered. Developing an efficient drainage system on your farm can help prevent waterlogging and salinization in your soil, both of which can suppress growth and production. Using drop by drop or sprinkler irrigation systems can potentially increase crop yield up to 50 percent.
- Utilize Fertilizers
Cultivating soil with fertilizers is an important part of maintaining optimal soil conditions for crops. Fertilizing crops at the time of seeding can help provide the seeds with essential nutrients. Nitrogen is the key element needed for good plant growth, as it can potentially increase crop yield by 22 percent if used efficiently. Other key nutrients include; potassium, phosphorous, and calcium. The root-zone at the base of crops is the most important area to facilitate growth so that crops can thrive and produce good yield.
- Weed Early and Often
Weeds can compromise the productivity of a farm because they are invasive and they siphon nutrients away from the crops. They need to be dealt with as early and as often as possible. Scouting your farm on foot will give you the opportunity to see if any weeds are cropping up, to be able to handle them early enough before the problem gets out of hand.