How improving soil health supports farm profitability while protecting natural resources
Your land is your legacy. Optimize your farm profitability and build your legacy by improving soil health.
Traditional farming methods going back many generations have focused on maximizing yield goals by applying as much fertilizer and water as possible. The green revolution had many benefits and led to high productivity of crops and a massive increase in the ability to produce cereal crops consistently and reliably.
However, there are a number of challenges resulting from this approach that impact farmers’ legacies and profits:
- Soil depletion – Over time, soil can become depleted by too much fertilizer, leaching, or runoff that erodes valuable topsoil.
- Water stress – Continued demand for fresh water over time can reduce groundwater tables, deplete aquifers, and increase soil salinity.
- Loss of farm profitability – In the chase for maximum yields, profits are eroded due to the high costs of seed, fertilizer, crop protection, and fuel / energy required to pump water in irrigated farmlands.
Fortunately, there are a number of proven approaches that can be applied today that will reduce soil depletion, conserve water resources, and increase farm profitability. While there are a variety of climate smart techniques that can be deployed over time in the field to improve soil health, one very simple change can be made in the first season by using low-cost, below ground technology that gives insights that drive better irrigation decisions: Crophesy technology by AquaSpy. In just one season you will be able tune your irrigation process control to reduce inputs, save water, and increase farm profitability. AquaSpy technology has been proven through use across thousands of acres of commodity and specialty crops as well as demonstrated results in university studies and competitions such as UNL-Taps.
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Soil Health and Conservation
Soil health and conservation go hand in hand to maintain or enhance soil health to optimize crop yield and protect long-term soil productivity on agricultural lands.
Tips for improving soil health over time:
- Apply inputs only when needed
- Use less fertilizer through precision applications and careful timing
- Reduced fertilizer use reduces harmful runoff. This allows for increased productive soil activity (microbes) that can lead to improved soil. Be sure to monitor for leaching.
- Utilize a cover crop strategy
- This isn’t an overnight change, but even small steps and experimentation can bring about changes. Analyze soil temperature, changes in moisture retention and availability as you change up your approach.
- Use a crop rotation strategy to naturally increase nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil
Healthier, less stressed crops better utilize available nutrients and contribute to a more balanced nitrogen – carbon cycle, helping to capture more carbon and mitigate climate impact.
Protect Water Resources
Protect water resources and manage water for efficient agricultural productivity. Groundwater is part of your farm legacy. AquaSpy below-ground technology gives growers insights to be able to:
- Use water more efficiently
- Use less water and reduce runoff
- Reduce leaching to protect regional water sources (aquifers, rivers)
Process control measures proactively meet sustainability objectives and performance measures for soil health, soil conservation, water use, and water quality
Intelligent soil and crop sensor technology provides process control for best practices which drive a direct and measurable impact on both soil health and protection of water resources. The ability to continuously remotely monitor and more precisely manage the use of inputs including nutrient applications and irrigation water leads to a demonstrable reduction in the use of inputs while simultaneously benefiting the grower with better outcomes – more predictable, consistent, and higher yields and farm profitability.
- Better outcomes – Using a unique vertical approach of looking at each crop’s roots, a grower can gain up to between 25 and 40% more yield in addition to conserving valuable water and costly nutrients.
- Reduced inputs – Grower reported yield surveys and University studies have shown that using vertical insights into soil and crop consumption lead to a minimized use of inputs.
- Less runoff – Better control over timing and amount of irrigation reduced runoff from nutrients.
- Mitigate effects of salinity – Certain high value fruit and nut crops are highly sensitive to salinity in the soil and our technology improves management and plant health.
- Saves energy and fuel – Precise management and remote monitoring means fewer trips to the field and fewer pivot turns.
- Realtime remote monitoring – Growers as well as partners such as agronomists or farm managers can remotely monitor soil moisture, temperature, Ec/salinity, and crop consumption via desktop, tablet or mobile device.
- Field Comparison and Year Over Year History – Compare fields and gain insights for year over year improvements and tuning.
Interested in learning more about the proactive measures you can start using to improve soil health today? Contact a regional AquaSpy sales rep or your local coop or dealer.