Farmland owners, do you recognize this image below? It’s a yield map, and it’s one of the most important communication tools your farmer can provide to help you understand your farm’s performance. If you aren’t receiving yield maps from your farmer today, you should start asking for them. Here are 4 big reasons why:
1. Use it to determine gross revenue.
When you have yield information, it is a simple calculation to determine the gross revenue generated by your farm (yield*price of crop/bu = gross revenue). This number is important in helping determine a fair market rent. If you need more information about the different approaches used to calculate this critically important number, read our article, “Calculating Cash Rent.”
2. Understand the nutrition management of your farm.
Yields can be used to help you understand the amounts of fertilizer and other nutrients your farmer is applying, so you can have productive and fact-based conversations if these amounts differ from general recommendations. With the yield, you can perform a mathematical calculation to determine which nutrients have been removed from a field and what amount of fertilizer and nutrients must be applied to maintain fertility. Every farmer will tell you that they treat the land like it is their own, but fertilizer is the second most expensive input behind seed. When money is tight, this is sometimes an area that doesn’t get the attention and resources it should. This practice is commonly referred to as mining the soil, and good farmers don’t do it—but yield maps can help you determine what’s happening on your particular farm. Tracking soil management activities documents that your farmer is taking care of the land. (To see how this works, try this calculator from Ag PHD.)
3. Just how good is your farmer?
Having an accurate yield history can help you determine whether you have an average farmer, a good farmer, or a great farmer. Historic average yields for every county are available through the USDA (see the sample below from DeKalb County, IL), and although yield will depend on the quality of your farm, you can compare the trendlines—a good farmer’s productivity and trendline should be better than average. As an aside, many landowners don’t realize that even if grain prices are stable, yields are going up over time (yields have increased 170% since 1950), meaning that the revenue generated by your farm is also going up.
4. Increase the value of your farm.
If you ever choose to sell your farm, having yield or production records will likely increase the value of the farm. As is outlined in this Iowa state article about financing the purchase of a farm, potential yields influence both what a farmer and an investor are willing to pay for a farm. Your farm is an investment, and since yield directly impacts revenue, having strong yield data helps substantiate a higher price for a farm whether the potential buyer is a farmer or a landowner.
Collecting yield data and making these comparisons is just one thing that Tillable helps do for landowners to help ensure that your asset is being taken care of and performing to its potential. We can help you get started with a Free Farmland Checkup.