Precision Technology and Profitability . . .

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Research by Mike Castle, Brad Lubben, Joe Luck and Taro Mieno of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows the adoption of precision technology on farms is associated with profitability, but the researchers couldn’t definitively answer whether precision technology adoption led to increased profitability.  The researchers sought to answer the question of whether the adoption of technology drives increased profitability, or whether increased profitability drives technology adoption.  Using survey data gathered from members of the Nebraska Farm Business, Inc. (NFBI), estimates of adoption rates for various precision technologies since the 1990s were developed.  Technologies examined included global positioning system (GPS) guidance, automated section control, telematics, yield monitors, site-specific soil sampling, variable rate application of inputs, and crop imagery.

Figure 1 shows the adoption rates of various technologies by NFBI producers.  The researchers found yield monitors (YM), grid soil sampling (GSS), GPS-based guidance and auto-steer (AS) have been widely adopted with 70 percent or more of the NFBI members surveyed saying they have adopted the technology.   Over one-half of the NFBI members surveyed said they use GPS-based automatic section control (ASC) and variable-rate application of fertilizers and seed.  Only small percentages of producers have adopted the remaining technologies.  The adoption rates for NFBI producers are substantially higher than those reported in a USDA ARMS survey.  The researchers attribute the higher adoption rates to the fact producers in the NFBI program are more concentrated in crop production and are likely to be more progressive and management-oriented than average crop producers.

 

tech and profit

Source:  Precision Agriculture Adoption and Profitability, Cornhusker Economics, June 21, 2017

The researchers’ initial analysis found the adoption of technology was associated with higher net farm income. However, association alone does not prove causation.  A more in-depth analysis showed positive effects on net farm income of technology adoption, but the results were not conclusive enough to determine definitively whether the adoption of precision technology had a positive effect on net farm income.  The analysis also showed the profitability of technology adoption increases over time as producers’ experiences with the technologies mature.

The research concluded the overall economic impact of technology adoption remains unclear.  Clearly more research is warranted to study the economics surrounding the use of precision technology.   Experience in the field would suggest there are benefits of technology, or their adoption would not rise over time.  Further research will help illuminate these benefits.  For more information on the research, Click Here.

 

Jay RempeJay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.

The Glories of May

garden lanscape toolsEvery year as May returns, Mother Nature gives us the return of sunny days and cool spring rains after a long Nebraska winter. May is also when many gardeners’ hearts seem to beat a bit faster because winter is gone and spring has returned.

Some parts of the year when I write articles or prepare comments for our radio shows I’m challenged about what to discuss but that is definitely not May. May is usually such a perfect time to accomplish so many tasks in our landscapes that the difficulty in May is deciding what not to talk about.

As I write this article Mothers Day is approaching and for many when we talk about Mothers Day we also talk about planting our Annuals. Over the years many gardeners have been taught to wait to plant their annuals until Mother’s Day. This way they know they are normally safe from the last chances of frost in eastern Nebraska. Even though this spring warmed up faster than normal whether you are planting a landscape bed, placing a hanging basket by the front door, or planting your pots on the patio, go right ahead and plant these beautiful plants for their wonderful color and interest all summer long. Mother Nature has turned the weather warm and it is now safe to plant your tender annuals.

Now, I don’t know about you but store bought vegetables just don’t have the same flavor and taste as those from our backyard gardens. Warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, corn, etc. can now be planted safely. And if you haven’t already, get your cool season vegetables planted quickly such as Broccoli, Snap Peas, Cauliflower, Lettuce, etc. They will grow better in cooler weather versus the heat of summer so the sooner they are planted, the better crop you will receive. Also remember that amending your gardens each year by adding compost, or some peat moss and manure then tilling in well before planting will give you better yields from your garden. And we recommend applying a coating of mulch around your vegetables to help hold moisture in and to help fight those pesky weeds in the garden.

Neddenriep, Shirley - Gardening - Nemaha CountyOnce your annuals and vegetables are planted consider adding perennials, shrubs and trees to your landscape. Planting now will give your new additions some time to settle into place before the full stresses of summer arrive. Daylilies to Iris, Lilacs to Viburnum, Lindens to Maples – May is a perfect time to plant your landscape. Make sure to plant interest for all seasons of the year versus just what is blooming now. And if you aren’t quite sure what to plant consider crafting a plan with a landscape designer. Experienced designers – like our team at Campbell’s – can offer recommendations in planting the right plants in the right locations that have color and interest as much as possible through the year. Let the experience of an expert make your planting and growing easier with a plan.

Now before you think May is all fun and sunny weather don’t forget to deal with weeds and insects. Pre-emergents like Preen can cut your weeding immensely and should be applied before new mulch is applied to your landscape beds. If you didn’t know this or forgot to apply then apply it right over your mulch as soon as possible then water it in well for best results. Also be ready to spray a bit of Round Up on those weeds the pre-emergent doesn’t control. And keep your eyes open so you are prepared to apply controls for infestations of Pine Sawfly, Red Spider or any of the other pesky insects preparing to attack your plants.

One final note for those of you near Lincoln who plant vegetable gardens. As you plant your garden, please consider planting an additional vegetable plant or two and donate the extra crop to the “Grow and Share” program between Campbell’s and the Lincoln Food Bank. Beginning sometime in late June to early July anyone can drop off extra produce in paper sacks Mondays and Tuesdays to either of our garden centers through the summer and it will be donated to the Lincoln Food Bank.

Overall, try to enjoy some of the great Nebraska weather we have in May, add some color and interest to your landscape through new plantings, and keep the Grow and Share program in your mind if you are close to Lincoln. May is such a great month in Nebraska, How can you go wrong?

 

Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department. A Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member, Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of their two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office. www.campbellsnursery.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/CampbellsNursery

Spring is Here!

spring is buddingEvery year when spring returns the heart races a bit faster for every gardener and landscaper. The return of spring brings warmer temperatures, longer days and a time for a fresh start. This year though may be a bit more interesting due to last fall and winter being drier and our cooler temps earlier this spring. Definitely proof that Mother Nature can always throw us a curveball.

But while the weather has seemed to be slow in warming up this year, spring is still a time of renewal. Whether it’s planting new plants, cleaning up after winter, planning for the vegetable garden, or simply making preparations for the new growing season, spring is the time to refresh your landscape and vegetable garden for the year ahead.

This spring while we still will be doing more normal tasks and projects in our landscapes and gardens, the major issue we all will face is reacting to the drier weather, at least until more normal spring rains arrive. Well, at least we hope they do. Until they do, consider some supplementary watering to help your evergreens and newly emerging plants push through until we start seeing more rain.

rake and leavesWhile our thoughts may be focused on the drier weather there are a number of standard projects we should be accomplishing as we do most years. While many first think of spring and planting, there is definitely some cleanup work in your landscape. Rake up any final leaves from winter, cut back any perennials, including ornamental grasses left up for winter interest, and do any light trimming as needed to remove dead branches. Then add a good dose of pre-emergent weed preventer and thicken your mulch to around 2-3 inches thick to fight future weeds in your landscape beds. By cleaning your landscape you help prevent diseases and weeds, and you are giving your plants the best opportunity to look their best, as well as grow their best for the growing season. In addition, that mulch layer, if applied to the recommended depth will also help keep valuable moisture where it can do the most good in the root zone of our plants versus evaporating into the air.

Once your landscape beds are looking their best, it’s time to consider new plants. Whether it’s a new shade tree for the yard, a few new perennials, a brand new landscape bed, or doing some seeding in your lawn, spring is a great time to establish new plants for the future or to replace plants lost in the last few years. And if you are unsure of what to plant then getting assistance from the experts at your local garden center like Campbell’s may make your spring a lot easier. Do remember to wait until after mid April to do any lawn seeding, and to get closer or even into May to plant more tender perennials or vegetables in the garden.

Once you’ve made plans for what you want to plant, the only thing left is to get them installed. Whether you pick out great plants from a garden center to plant yourself or work with an experienced landscape designer like our design staff at Campbell’s then have a landscape crew install it for you, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction once the plants are planted.

And please don’t forget about properly preparing your planting areas before planting and to care for your plants after planting. Many times, besides buying good quality plant material, the preparation before and the care after planting are the most important parts of achieving success with your new plantings.

watering lawnOne final note about the effects we may face from the drier weather last fall and through the winter. Many are calling us at Campbell’s worried that we may see issues with plants as they wake up from winter. Only time will tell for sure whether you will have plants or lawn you will need to replace or if the plants are just stressed and will recover with some watering and care this spring. While the odds are higher to see some plant issues this spring, in general Mother Nature gives our plants the ability to thrive and survive even with problematic weather. Do keep an eye on your plants though and if you see issues talk to a nursery professional for the best recommendations for your situation. Most times though with some care and watering this spring, sooner than later on the watering, your plants should be fine.

Overall, remember that every spring is a time to welcome the new growing season and to enjoy the warmth of the days and the beauty of your landscape, as there’s nothing quite like a beautiful spring after a long Nebraska winter.

– Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department and a Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member. Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of its two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office.

Farmers Busy Planting Future

Ask a Farmer - Planting PhotoFarmers are now in full field swing. Planting season for corn and drilling soybeans is underway.

While the seeds for planting were mostly purchased shortly after the previous harvest, farmers were still busy for the majority of winter preparing. Nebraska farmers prepared for planting with spring fieldwork including applying fertilizer to the soil to provide the crops the best growing conditions, disking and preparing machinery for planting.

Farmers have a lot of risk at stake each spring due to factors outside of their control including weather. On average the cost to plant each acre in the field is $750 and with the average farm in Nebraska being 966 acres, that totals an investment of $724,500 each spring, hence the need for insurance!

Once the corn and soybeans have been planted, farmers will have to await moisture and warm weather for their seeds to grow. Rain will need to continue throughout the growing season, April – September, for crops to reach their full potential. However, too much rain can also cause corn and soybean plants to die.

— Kassi Williams is a proud farmer’s daughter growing up on a cow/calf and grain farm in Iowa. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University, majoring in both animal science and public relations. She has been involved with agriculture from birth, working in multiple facets of the industry including the USDA and Extension. Kassi relocated to Nebraska in 2010 to work for a marketing communications agency for a multitude of agriculture clients.

Spring is Here!

301575_10151388438138878_381876582_nEvery year when spring returns hearts race a bit faster for every gardener and landscaper. The return of spring brings warmer temperatures, longer days and a time for a fresh start. This year, while more normal than last year, may be a bit more interesting than typical years due to last year’s drought. Proof that Mother Nature can always throw us a curveball.

While the weather has seemed to be slow in warming up this year, spring is still a time of renewal. Whether it’s planting new plants, cleaning up after winter, planning for the vegetable garden or simply making preparations for the new growing season, spring is the time to refresh your landscape and vegetable garden for the year ahead.

This spring we will be doing the normal tasks and projects in our landscapes and gardens, the major issue we all will face is reacting to last year’s drought and preparing for a potential repeat this year. Depending on your specific situation that could mean repairing damage to a lawn through seeding or sodding, accomplishing additional waterings to weakened plant material early this spring  or simply by getting on a voluntary watering schedule this spring that follows any potential mandatory watering restrictions we may face later this summer. Suffice it to say while we all hope this year will be different from last year, it is always better to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

While our thoughts may be focused on the drought there are a number of standard projects we should consider this spring as we do most years. First of all, while many first think of spring and planting, there is definitely some cleanup work in your landscape that can make your planting, and ultimately the entire growing season, more productive. Rake up any final leaves from winter, cut back any perennials, including ornamental grasses left up for winter interest and do any light trimming as needed to remove dead branches.

Picture-Mulch-01Then add a good dose of pre-emergent weed preventer and thicken your mulch to at least 2” to 3” to fight future weeds in your landscape beds. By cleaning your landscape you help prevent diseases and weeds, and you are giving your plants the opportunity to look their best, as well as grow their best. In addition, the mulch layer will also help keep valuable moisture where it can do the most good – in the root zone of our plants.

Once your landscape beds are looking their best, it’s time to consider new plants. Whether it’s a new shade tree for the yard, a few new perennials, or a brand new landscape bed, spring is a great time to establish new plant material for the future and replace any plants lost last year.

Some standard questions to consider include:

      1. Is it time to add additional shade to make your deck or patio more enjoyable?
      2. Do you want to add color and interest to an existing landscape bed?
      3. Do you have trouble with insects, diseases or the drought and it’s time to change out some plants?

All of these questions and more can guide your planting this spring. And if you are unsure of what to plant then getting assistance from the experts at your local garden center may make your spring a lot easier. 

Once you’ve made plans for what you want to plant – the only thing left is to get them installed. Whether you pick out great plants from a garden center to plant yourself or work with an experienced landscape designer, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction once the plants are planted.

And don’t forget about properly preparing your planting areas before planting and to care for your plants after planting. Many times, besides buying good quality plant material, the preparation before and the care after planting are the most important parts of achieving success.

One final note about the effects we may face from last year’s drought this year, many are calling us at Campbell’s worried that we may see issues with plants as they wake up from winter with either damage showing or worry that the plants have been damaged by the drought. Only time will tell for sure whether you will end up having plants or lawn you need to replace or if the plants are just stressed and will recover with some watering and care.

While the odds are higher than normal for issues this spring, in general Mother Nature has given our plants the ability to thrive and survive even with weather like drought. Do keep an eye on your plants and talk to a nursery professional for the best recommendations for your specific situation; but with some care and watering this spring, hopefully your recovery from the drought may be less troublesome than it may first appear.

Overall, remember that spring is a time to welcome the new growing season, enjoy the warmth of the days and the beauty of your landscape Even if we do have issues from the drought and worry it will repeat this summer, there’s nothing quite like a beautiful spring after a long Nebraska winter. Especially this year.

Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department, a Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member. Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of their two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office. www.campbellsnursery.com or follow them on Facebook.