Field Size and Shape does affect Farmland Rental Rates

Field size and shape

What factors affect rental rates.. continued

Well, it is week five and today I will be wrapping up a series of blog posts on the factors that can have an effect on rental rates. I know a few of you may be jumping up and down with joy and ready to move on to other things. But today’s factor of size and shape of the field can play a major role on what rental rates you could be paying. Why does this matter? If you think about, acre is an acre, right? Maybe not.

Field shape and size can have an effect on the yield produced and the efficiency in which the crop is grown. In the case of field size, the larger the field is the easier it is to plant, apply nitrogen, run the sprayer and even harvest. There is a cost to moving equipment from one field to another, folding and unfolding, putting on grain heads and removing them. If it was just a matter of convenience, the smaller the field, the more difficult it is to manage equipment, especially as equipment continues to get bigger. The other point to think about is time efficiency. If you as a grower are spending more time on smaller acres, could you spend less time per acre on larger tracts? Something to think about.

The next challenge is the shape of the field. Odd shapes tend to be much less convenient than a more regularly shaped field. In the case of field shape, it is not just a matter of convenience, but even more so a matter of efficiency. Regardless of the crop, whether it is corn or cotton, almonds or sugarbeets, plant spacing is critical to maximize yield. The proper spacing allows the plant to explore the uniform soil environment where it can access nutrients and water. It also allows the plant to take in sunlight consistently throughout the acre. The more consistent and uniform the plant spacing is, the more uniformity can be created. Odd shaped fields create many issues with point rows, gaps in rows, double rows and even damage due to overlap in equipment. With the advent of systems like RowFlow, GPS, Auto Steer, and automatic boom shut-offs, many of these issues have minimized to some degree.

What else impacts the fields shape?

Along with the field shape, the presence of grass waterways, terraces, or bodies of water that break up the field also limit the production or efficiency. River bottom ground tends to be a high risk adventure so create a rental plan that would take this into account. Does the field have adequate access to the road or is it a challenge to move equipment to and from the field? These are all considerations when thinking about rental rates. At the same time, as a farmer who is willing to work through these inconveniences, can have a long history of farming land that many are afraid to farm. If you have some experience in this, there is opportunity.

I hope this series of blog posts have been helpful or have given you a few things to think about. The last thing I want you to think about is, do you want to grow? And if so, how will you go about doing it? Those who have a plan and use the tools they have available will be successful. Those who choose to just let things happen by chance will be subject to even less success than ever before because the way of picking up ground has changed. Bird Dog is here to help you market yourself to landowners you want to work with. It is our mission to share with them what kind of a farmer you are, what type of person you are and how you can bring value to them and their land. In many areas, harvest will begin getting started in the weeks ahead. Don’t put your growth plans off. Landowners don’t have any reason to make a change unless you give them the contrast to who they are currently working with. Show them what you have to offer.

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