21 September 2021, US: With the high price premiums organics offer, you may feel the cost of expensive equipment is justified. But spending too much too soon, especially when you have smaller acreage, is a good way to end up in the red.
Organic farmers need to do their due diligence to ensure their equipment purchases are wise investments.
Here are six tips to avoid overspending on farm equipment for your organic operation:
- Do the math: Calculate the per-acre cost and ROI for any equipment you want to purchase. That includes not only the price tag, but also the cost to store it, operate it and maintain it. And don’t forget depreciation.If the numbers seem shocking, think about other ways to get the work done on your farm. Most times, it can be done at much less expense than you’d guess.
- Keep your equipment stock simple: It’s easy to feel like you need all of the options out there to run a successful organic operation. The truth is, most farmers can be successful with just a rotary hoe and a cultivator.If you’re wondering whether a piece of equipment is a good decision, ask yourself: Does it solve a problem?Or is it merely an expensive way to deal with a problem? Usually, buying an expensive piece of iron or machinery is only a patch to the challenges you face rather than a permanent fix.
- Take the emotion out of it: At AgriSecure, we always encourage organic farmers to run the numbers when they’re not in a stressful situation.When you’re facing a big problem, it’s easy to make bad decisions out of desperation. Let the math decide whether you’re making a good call, not your emotions.
- Make the most of your crop rotation: You can get more out of the equipment you have by designing a solid organic crop rotation.A good rotation should help suppress weeds, so you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment like row crop flamers. It can also help balance out fieldwork timing, so you’re not trying to do the same task for every acre at once.
- Hire it out: Sometimes, it makes more financial sense to outsource work than to buy the equipment and do it yourself. Consider any weaknesses or areas you struggle with that you could hire someone else to handle.
- Fit your investments to your farm: There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to deciding on equipment. Maybe you’re great at bringing old parts back to life, so buying used equipment would be a wise investment.But if that’s not your strength, maybe you’re better off leasing the machinery and letting the dealer handle any repairs.It’s all about tailoring your purchases in a way that will allow you to become the most cost-efficient organic producer you can be.