Farming has always been a business that succeeds through innovation. Farming innovations over the years have allowed farms to increasingly produce more potatoes per acre staying ahead of cost of production. As potato production costs increase, one has to sell more potatoes to cover the higher cost of production. Production efficiency is a term that can be used to measure the ability of farming innovation to increase potato production over time.
Farmers improve production efficiency through a number of methods including variety selection (when possible), proper and timely nutrition, equipment, irrigation, and disease suppression. Successful farming operations strive to improve on each of these factors each year to maintain or improve profitability. Is there room for improvement?
Marketable yield drives production efficiency. To be successful as a potato farmer, one has to maximize marketable yield. Maximizing marketable yield can be achieved in two ways. First, one can increase total potato yield with marketable tonnage following along with the increase. Or, secondly, one can maintain historical total yields while increasing the percentage of potatoes that make a marketable grade. Ideally, one would prefer to do both, increase total yields and the percentage of potatoes that grade into marketable classes.
The largest negative impact on marketable yield is caused by soil borne diseases including common scab and verticillium wilt. Of the two, common scab is the most frustrating limiter to marketable yield. One can adjust soil pH, lengthen rotations, and maintain appropriate soil moisture to try to manage common scab. However, common scab can cause problems even with the best intended improvements to soil chemistry and cultural practices.
Common Scab problems become frustratingly apparent at the end of season when potatoes are washed and graded. Every potato that does not make marketable grade because of Common Scab was grown at a cost but provided little to no return on investment. Common Scab can rob a farm of profit stealing away that percentage of potatoes that could turn a good year into an average or bad year.
Soil fumigants are used to manage soil borne diseases and improve total yields. But not all soil fumigants are the same. Strike soil fumigation products help manage verticillium wilt which improves total yields. In addition, Strike products are also used to consistently manage Common Scab. Through suppression of soil borne diseases, Strike products can improve not only total yield but improve the percentage of total yield that makes a marketable grade.
Farming is a business built on innovation. Innovation improves production efficiency and profitability. Innovation comes from many different areas including equipment, varieties, nutrition, and irrigation. Innovation also comes from one’s choice of soil fumigant. Strike soil fumigants can provide the next step in on-farm innovation to move your operation forward.