Crop selection for many new and even experienced farmers OFTEN feels like sitting for a difficult exam.
They find that there are so many considerations and questions to take into account.
For example, farmers will often ask themselves:
- Will I afford to manage the crop until the season is over?
- How will the market react to a new crop?
- Will the weather and climatic conditions favor this crop?
- Is my land is suitable for this crop?
- And many more questions.
You can answer some of these questions through scientific experimentation and modeling.
Nevertheless, that can’t turn away the worry that farmers have.
You’ll still find yourself:
- Unsure of where to start
- Unable to determine the cost of growing a crop,
- and in doubt of whether your efforts will earn you profit at the end of the season.
- If you have ever found yourself in this awkward situation, you are not alone.
Most prospective farmers–even experienced horticulturists find themselves struggling to decide what to grow. They see themselves having no clue in the world about the right crop for their farm, the amount of money they need to raise it, or where to sell the harvest.
If you’ve ever found unable to decide the right crop to grow
Consider this article godsend.
You will learn what to do so that struggling what to grow will be a thing of the past. After reading this article, you’ll equip yourself with the right knowledge to help you choose the right crop for your farm.
So where do you start so that you choose the right crop?
What do you grow so that success is assured the VERY first season you utilize idle land? Remember choices have consequences. Growing a crop that is too common will put you in direct competition with hundreds of thousands of other farmers. You’ll be too many people struggling to sell to a few customers. On the other hand, choosing a crop that is too rare—is risky.
Such a plant may not have sufficient demand. The risk of it rotting in your store or warehouse is sky high! Does this little analysis make you feel like entirely giving up on farming? Please don’t give up. Done well, growing crops often have a high rate of return— far higher than the rate of return of the stock market, and the real estate.
You can get up to ten times your investment. For every dollar invested in farming get you ten to twenty more. That’s why I am writing this to you. I want you to come to the right decision—on what to grow—easily and fast. The process of choosing a crop to plant, shouldn’t be a mind-boggling job. It should be a pleasant experience, just like spending time with a loved one…
4 Things That Will Show You a Crop is Worth Growing
- The prospective crop should have a Predictable and Reliable market
Whatever you grow MUST have wide acceptance and demand. People must be eager and ready to buy ALL or a substantial portion of what you desire to grow. If you don’t want what you desire to grow to end up in the compost pit, consider its market. Invest in a crop that you are sure will SELL; several such crops exist.
Just to mention a few of ALL SEASON-HIGH DEMAND crops; For vegetables, we have Kale, Spinach, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Onions. For fruits, we have avocados, mangoes, and oranges. People need these crops—from January to December, 24/7 days a week. Something worth noting about the market is the competition. If you decide to grow the vegetables mentioned above and fruits, you will face ugly and stiff competition.
Nevertheless, there are times when these vegetables and fruits are in SHORT supply. You can take advantage of such times to beat the competition. Grow high-demand crops during times of shortage, when the weather is unconducive to many farmers, and you’ll smile all the way to the bank.
As you think about what to grow, don’t limit yourself only to favorite crops. There are other less popular crops, herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are very profitable—if you find a niche market for them. Before you venture into their production, do thorough research. Search for potential customers, and persuade them to sign a contract with them, so that you are always assured of a market.
- The amount of capital you require
Second, you must decide how much you are willing to invest in growing the crops and whether you have the money to do it. I am saying this because most investors often don’t have a clear picture of exactly what they need to put in farming. Some people underestimate the amount required and they end up broke before the crop they planted is yet to mature. Running low before the season ends means you won’t have the cash for other operations like harvesting, storage, transport to market etc.
- Managerial skills
Third, you must consider your management competence. Some crops like tomatoes, potatoes, and cut flowers require the grower to be highly skilled or experienced. Others like avocados, mangoes, papaya, and kale need a little experience to grow. Don’t grow a crop you can’t manage. If you must do, start small. Learn from experience before starting a full-scale production project.
- Consider all logistical challenges
Fourth, consider all the logistics associated with growing the crop. Consider where you are going to; source for inputs and its effect on the overall cost; distance from the nearest market, and its impact on operations or marketing, time of harvesting and time of arrival at the market. When you put all these four things into account, you’ll have settled on the three most ideal crops to grow.
Once you have settled on one to three crops—you have to know if your farm is suitable for them…
Your job is halfway done once you settle on three crops to grow. I am saying this because a crop can make economic sense to grow, nevertheless be unsuitable for your farm. This is because every farm has its unique and localized conditions that make it suitable or unsuitable for a crop.
For example, a farm could be in an area, suited for growing carrots, potatoes, or onions, but still prove unsuitable for growing those crops. The soils—of the farm could be black cotton soils—soils that can’t allow the successful growing of the aforementioned crops or could be other conditions like flooding on the land, or even diseased soil could be affecting that specific farm. Other factors that may prevent the growth of the desired crop is a history of soil-borne diseases, the quality of water among others.
Type of planting material
The type of planting material should be considered carefully. Depending on what the planting material is, your costs will go up or come down. If you want to establish your crop from seed, the cost of seed is much lower. But if you expect to either use corms, tubers, cuttings, bulbs, or rhizomes, brace yourself because these types of planting material are, costly compared to seed, and a little difficult to handle.
Source of planting material
If your selected crop is going to be raised from seed, consider buying certified seed from authorized seed sellers. The certified seed produces crops that are resistant to disease, vigorous, and display uniform growth. Things get tricky if you want to establish your crop from vegetative materials like cuttings, tubers, rhizomes, and bulbs.
Sometimes there are no certified distributors of these planting materials. Where certified material exists, consider using it. In instances you can’t get certified vegetative materials like tubers, cuttings and the rest,
Think of how you are going to harvest the crops, and how you are going to preserve them for the market.
After spending much time growing a crop, a time will come that it must be harvested. As you do so, think of what type are you going to sell them in the fresh form, or you are going to process them further?
Plan for success
Get the right help and workers Keep proper records and track expenditures Consider integrated pest management