Innovating in increments

Friday, February 16, 2024

 Optimizing your production system is a daunting task. It’s easy to get lost in internet spirals promising to double your yields with one easy change... Fighting through the click-bait is challenging.

One of the most attainable ways of optimizing your farm is to make small easily achievable changes across several factors of your operation instead of trying to make one big change that could work but is harder to achieve and inherently riskier.

Relatively small changes can have incrementally huge impacts on your operation. Here are some resources to help make small but meaningful changes to your operation:

- Plastic mulches are not created equal. The type of plastic mulch you choose to use will dramatically affect your yield for a relatively minor change in input costs:

 See this demonstration that we carried out last year as an example:

- Optimize your organic amendments based on nutrient release and be mindful of soil temperatures. Organic amendments require mineralization to release plant-available nutrients. When your soils are cold/wet in the spring very few nutrients are made available to your crops. Consider applying an immediately plant-available nutrient supplement until your microbes are active in your soil system.

See this fact-sheet for more information on nitrogen mineralization:

- Switching to targeted biopesticides where possible can help eliminate pathogens while maintaining diverse and ‘beneficial’ microbial populations in your soils and on your plants.

See this fact-sheet for more information on biopesticides:

Check out our YouTube channel for more ideas and suggestions for ways to optimize your systems. There are hundreds of videos specific to our climate and soils ranging from soil testing, marketing, cover cropping, to calving lambs and everything in between.

Hopefully you’re having a good start to the season!