“Knowledge is Power” – The more one knows, the more one will be able to control events. Francis Bacon published this concept in 1597 and almost 420 years later it is just as relevant. Just like any business we continually look for ways in which we can improve, but in order to identify areas of improvement we have to first know how we are doing. This is why records play such an important role for us.
This year we are making some upgrades to our crop record keeping. We currently manage about 3,600 acres of tillable land, 1,500 accounts for our corn crop and the remaining 2,100 acres is used for haylage. With 3,600 acres of land, we cover almost 300 fields and employ 7 full time people, with another 10-15 people that are seasonal or part time. With this amount of people and fields, organization becomes a top priority. A couple years ago we developed a numbering system for all of our fields, these fields are mapped and kept in binders with their numbers. In our binders we keep management notes including areas that require buffers, our nutrient management plan and spreadsheets to keep record of manure spreading, fertilizer applied, planting dates and varieties.
To supplement our maps we are excited to add field signs this year! Thank you to our friends and neighbors, Mike and Cheryl Rus, at Sign Here, Inc. for our new signs. We have just started to put them up, so you may begin to notice them around town. The goal for these signs is to assist our record keeping. They will be located at the entrance to fields that we manage, both owned and rented, with our logo and field number on them. This will make it simple for our operators to keep records for each field. As an added bonus for those that may not know, when our cupola logo is at the entrance to a field you know that we are managing it.
Another addition to our crop records this year is a new weather station! We have a station ordered and on the way that will be able to remotely tell us accurate weather information such as how much rain we have had when it happened, the temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction. This is something that will be accessible remotely as well which will be a huge help for deciding on start times for our land here around East Montpelier but also for our farm in Craftsbury which we travel to.
Last fall we installed a scale on the farm which we used for our corn harvest, we are looking forward to have it for a full growing season this year so it can be used for our haylage as well. Having a scale is the last step to the records, after keeping track of all the field inputs this gives us an accurate picture of what the results were. It also gives us a definitive number to use for our feed inventory.
We are looking forward to the 2016 growing season and excited to see what we learn from the improvements we have made.