Three Myths About Growing Organic Row Crops
If you’re like most farmers, you’re always looking for new market opportunities for your crops. Faced with soft grain prices, weather challenges and any number of other unpredictable factors, you want your crops to provide as much return on investment as they possibly can.
The high cost of production against the backdrop of historically low prices for conventionally grown crops can feel daunting, particularly if you’re returning to the family farm or just getting started.
Organic grains, meanwhile, present stronger market demand and the possibility of much larger margins. And that’s what is making organic farming such an enticing opportunity for so many farmers.
Here are three myths about growing organic crops
With the possibility of greater margins, what is keeping farmers from moving into this market opportunity? Let’s take a closer look at three common thought processes that might stand in your way from transitioning acres to organic.
MYTH 1: “All weeds, no yield”
Often times organic crops can yield just as well as their conventional counterparts and look just as clean, but it will require that you adopt a different management approach.
The key is to remember that you can’t grow organic crops with a conventional mindset. Instead of burndown, pre-emergence and over-the-top sprays, your weed control system focuses more on solid seed stands and cover crops.
If coffee shop talk is important to you, organic may not be the route for you. A field might occasionally get away from you and become a little weedier than you’d like, and you’re not necessarily going to win any yield contests.
But if return on investment carries more weight than higher yields, however, then growing organic row crops could be a great way to put this mindset to work on your operation.
MYTH 2: “I don’t have the right tools in my toolbox”
There are plenty of tools in your toolbox—they may just not be the same ones your neighbors are using.
Instead of today’s acidic fertilizers and salt-based chemistries, you’re reaching deeper into your box, selecting the tools of yesterday and making them more efficient for today.
Need help controlling weeds when farming organically?
It’s management with a systems approach: rotation, not monoculture; cover crops and tillage to control weeds; finding the right amendments to supplement the fertility you can’t grow; using a tool from the past, such as a weed burner, to manage an unexpected issue.
Not only does this way of thinking help you pursue a new market opportunity, but it also improves your soil health and tilth, as we’re improving the biology of the soil for years to come.
MYTH 3: “Now just isn’t the time”
Many farmers feel like they lack the capacity to adopt such a significant shift after a challenging year like 2019. And the typical 36-month transition period might feel like too much of a barrier. But if you keep waiting for the “right time,” you might miss out on the organic market’s higher potential profit margins that are available right now.
Want to hear from farmers who’ve transitioned acres to organic?
While organic farming may take a little time and effort to get fully immersed in, it can prove to be both sustainable and economical given the right tools and support. Perhaps you can start by transitioning a smaller area and see what it does for your operation.
If you’re exploring transitioning acres to organic, the best way to find out more may be to talk to other farmers who’ve been successful in making this shift. With a little research and a well-balanced approach, you may find that organic farming presents a great opportunity for your operation far into the future.
Get the support you need to transition acres to organic
AgriSecure provides the insight, hands-on support and tools you need to successfully transition acres on your farm to organic. Sign up for a free consultation and get started with AgriSecure today.