1 like = 1 yield optimization strategy *, *

* used by _actual_ farmers 🚜🌱🌾
** until I can't think of more
Pesticides : chemicals sprayed on plants to kill insects that are eating the plants
Herbicides : chemicals sprayed on plants and soil to kill weeds growing next to the plants (and stealing nutrients, sunlight, rain)
Seeding early - so that you don't end up trying to take off your crop in snow
Seeding not *too* early - so that your newly planted seedlings don't freeze in the early spring nights
No-till seeding : to minimize moisture loss when seeding (as opposed to toll based seeding which turns soil upside down)
Fertilizer during seeding: "planting" chemicals and nutrients to help the seeds get going
Double tires on each tractor wheel when seeding : to minimize pressure of tractor on the ground, thereby minimizing disruption to soil, for more even growing conditions
Ditching: digging ditches to drain water out of what would otherwise be sloughs (ponds), to ensure maximum growable land area
Breeding : selecting the best growing seeds year to year, for ever better varieties of grain (done by pros in this)
Genetic modification: changing DNA of grain, for even better varieties of grain. Grow faster, yield more, resistant to bad insects and weeds and even certain chemicals
Seeding around the clock: one it's time to seed, it's time to seed! Do this so that you don't get caught by the snow in the fall.
Dedicated self driving sprayer : lighter than a tractor, therefore less impact on ground, happier plants
More to come, stay tuned..
Spray plane: spray pesticides and herbicides when the plants are too large to drive on.
Modern equipment: to maximize area covered per hour, and minimize chance of breakdown
Driving fast : to maximize area covered per hour. But not so fast that you crash or break down or have suboptimal seeding, spraying, etc. It feels like a videos game
Ninja mud driving skillz: you've got to go through patches of mud and water while seeding etc, in the interest of maximal land coverage and speed. But if you start to get stuck, you've got to crank everything up to 11 and GO, wheels spinning, lest you get stuck and lose hours
Getting un-stuck : what not to do is unhook the hitch from the tractor, it will fly up at 90 degrees and you'll lose many many hours. Rather, call for another tractor to get in front of you and pull you and your rig out.
Access to good mechanics : when the equipment inevitably breaks down, you've got to minimize downtime, while getting a proper fix done.
Driving with minimum overlap of previous round. You're going back and forth across the field, any overlap is lost $ from double seeding / spraying, and lost time
Driving with not *too* little overlap: have a bit of a safety margin for the natural perturbations in your direction. Because if you miss something completely then the loss is far worse than double seeding: you have empty land that should have been growing things.
Auto guidance systems : modern equipment helps in getting the right amount of overlap. And without those: focus focus.
Clearing land: you didn't buy land to have a forest, you bought land to grow. So bulldoze the trees, clear the brush, pile it up, burn it, and smooth the remainder (and yes I know the negatives :/)
Picking roots : manually walking recently cleared areas, finding remaining roots, piling them up, and burning them. And walking. And walking. And walking.
Picking rocks : like roots. With the walking. But not the burning.
Tree breaks : rows of trees to prevent wind from eroding the soil too much. Typically on the "fence Iines" - dividing line between two quarter sections of land. Via keeping some trees around when you clear land, or planting new trees.
Animal fertilizer : drain manure from cleaning pig barns into a pit. Pump the manure into a tanker on a trailer. Drive the trailer around the field with the tanker nozzle open to drain out the manure. The plants *love* this, may give 2x yield. It's the sh*t🙃
Location : if you're just starting out, DYOR to buy land where the soil is good, and other conditions (humidity, temp, hills, etc). There are regions 50km from others that are radically more successful.
Ditching part 2: *don't* try to flatten your land with your ditcher. You end up with a bunch of clay that can't grow anything.
Crop choice: there are a thousand possible choices of what to grow. Each has its own crop yield, and price dynamics, and even distribution. Your region will be great for some and terrible for others. And you have to know how to grow it!
Try totally new crops. Have a baseline of crops that you know. But experiment. Figure out distribution, be creative. If you're early, you'll get higher prices because supply is lower. But don't be so early that there's no demand.
Examples : canola in 1980s, peas 1990s
Try new crop varieties. They're usually getting optimized for yield etc. So take advantage, rather than a variety from 50 years ago with 1/4 the yield. Eg wheat, barley. (And yes there are health disadvantages to over-optimization :/)
Anhydrous ammonia : apply after harvest to keep your soil happy and help it regenerate (this was a thing, I'm not sure if it is anymore. This goes for many of these strategies.)
Crop rotation : Balance super profitable but harsh crop varieties with less-profitable ones that help regenerate. Eg canola (harsh) then peas (nice), wheat (med), barley (med).
Harvesting as soon as humanly possible: if your crop is ready, it's time to GO, before the snow comes.

The tactics to get things done quickly for seeding repeat here, but with 2x the force.

When it's time to harvest.. HARVEST.
Grain testing during harvest : if you combine grain that is too wet, hot, or cold then it might not be saleable. So test every combine hopper load. How: weigh a fixed-volume can of grain (will tell density), and take temp with thermometer.
>1 combines at once. A combine drives along the field, inputs the full plant, shakes it up, holds onto the grain (into its hopper), and spits out the rest. Aka "separates wheat from chaff". For maximal speed, you can run >1 combine at once. It's a sight to behold.
Grain testing 2: Stop if the grain test says stop! This is typically around 1am-3am if it happens (if it doesn't then you're going through the night). If you do stop, then do a small trial at early light and be ready to GO again.
Grain drying: a tactic to be able to take off grain that would have been too wet otherwise. It's sort of like a clothes dryer. But for a truckload of grain.
Aeration: even after drying, grain might have moisture and risks overheating and rotting. So give it a bit of air conditioning, via fans blowing air through the grain as it sits there being stored in bins.
Big grain trucks or semis : in harvest, speed is the name of the game for everything. Including hauling the grain from the combine to the grain bin, and from the grain bin to the elevator (for distribution). So go big. With >1 trucks or semis.
Meals on the fly : the combine is the main bottleneck, so optimize for it. the trucker picks up food from the house. When the combine is ready, the trucker clambers up the combine cabin with food. The trucker drives for a round while the usual combine driver eats next to him.
Harrowing : after harvest is done, pull a gentle-ish device behind the tractor, around each field, to spread out the chaff for better average growing conditions.
AFAIK has no relation to "harrowing" to describe negative experience. The harrowing I know is super boring
Burning dead grass in drainage ditches : dead grass slows the flow of water, which hinders the ability to drain sloughs. So burn the grass! This is one of the less boring post-harvest activities.
Clearing old farmyards: if you've acquired more land, and it's got an old rotten farmhouse and five old rotten wooden grain bins ("toilets"), then 🔥. Be careful lest you start a forest fire...
If you do start a forest fire: that's why you're ready! With a grain truck having a huge tank loaded on its back, filled with water, with hose and nozzles, ready to go. The game is farming not firefighting, let's keep it that way
Placing seeds at the right depth : every plant variety has an optimal depth. Know it, and calibrate your seeder accordingly. Check every morning and adjust as needed. Little things can make a big difference.
Patience and cash flow management : you may have the crop off but you still have to sell the grain. Many farmers need to sell asap to pay the bills -- a buyer's market. And the prices reflect it. But if you manage your cash flow and can wait, then $$.
The long game : sometimes grain prices can go down for years. But with grains can stay good can for years! If you have the patience, $ mgmt skills, and aeration equipment etc so that your grain will keep, then.. wait.
More land : more land = more cropped = more yield. To growth yield at maximal rate, plow profits into land.
Loans : buy land not just with cash, but by borrowing. Use your existing land and equipment as collateral.
Risk management : it's not just playing the yield game for one season. It's also about yield over time, coming back season after season. If you don't protect against the downside, you'll be out of the game and yield = 0.

This means insurance. Get it.
Crop rotation 2 : growing several grains at once is also a good hedge against one or two of them having abysmal prices. Ideally they are different in character, eg peas vs canola vs wheat. Not unlike uncorrelated assets in investing.
Avoid whole-sector risks : ideally don't fully rely on grains for all your revenue. Hedge.
-Have another farming income, eg pigs.
-Have another non-farm income or two, eg teaching or a tour company.
(Yes I'm using examples from my own experience.)
Reduce food costs : it's about cash back into growth (more land). So reduce costs. Food is a big one. So
-Grow your own vegetables
-Grow your own beef
-etc
Reduce gas costs. This is a huge expense, so figure out every trick here. Here are some:
-have modern equipment that runs more efficiently
-have a membership with a gas station where you get bulk discounts
-know optimal tire pressure, vigilantly follow it
Distribution : for some grains (wheat, barley) there's only one primary market, so suck it up and sell there. But for others, there may be several options. Explore them and optimize. Eg drive trucks 150km to sell canola (vs usual 15km).
Regular crop inspection: aggressively visiting all the plants all the time in their growth cycle. If there's an outbreak of bugs or weeds, you want to catch it at the beginning. You can lose 50% yield if you're 2 days late.
Building bins: recall that for a healthy farm business, you need to have the $ mgmt to wait to sell your grain. You also need the physical space to be able to hold it! A good practice is to build a few more bins every summer, as part of a steady cadence to grow capacity.
Rent land: another tactic to kickstart revenue is to rent a bunch more land at once. More land, more crops yield. But be careful not to over-leverage.
Scarecrows and 4-wheelers. Geese appear magically in the fall, just after you've swathed the grain (cut and laid into rows) but not yet combined. These geese love your grain! To scare them off: build scarecrows, and drive around periodically with four-wheelers / dirt bikes.
* I meant self-propelled, not self driving.

Though self-driving is coming! 🤓
Fixing roads : the shoulders of gravel roads get soft over time. Which can lead to tipped-over grain trucks. So the RM (rural govt) needs to periodically buff up the shoulder, with new layers of gravel etc.
Tracking weather : to decide to start seeding, spraying or combining, you ask what's the chance of rain? When? Where? How much?

Pre-internet, this meant: listening to hourly radio weather report, looking at the sky, and standing outside and listening to your gut.
Measuring rain💦: after a rainstorm, you want to estimate how soon you might get going again. It might be hours or days.

Main way: look at the rain gauge.

To get fancy, have many rain gauges throughout your farmland, since rain can be spotty.

Also, just look at the puddles.
Take care of your equipment :
-house it in a shed
-when running it all day: each morning change oil & grease all moving parts. Do an inspection to catch issues
-listen for weird sounds
-yes drive it fast, but drive it smooth not harsh. Treat it well, it will treat you well back.
Take care of your body & mind:
-kinda like the tweet above 🙃

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