I have had the opportunity and the privilege of observing and working for farmer clients with their crop production goals and objectives for quite a few years – 45 if anyone is counting. Over the years farmers have been some of my best teachers about the many elements and talents required to be a success in working with soils, crops and risk management decisions.

I also have had the opportunity of working with some excellent mentors in the agricultural crop production field. Of the many people that have helped me, I can mention Don Ackerman and Dick Large who were founders of A&L Testing Laboratories, Jerry Stoller who is founder of Stoller Enterprises – and I believe understands more about how plants function than anyone else in the country, and Johnny McRight of DeltAg Formulations who has developed chemistry that greatly enhances nutrient efficiency in plants.

With this in mind, the following is what I feel are some of the important elements in remaining successful in the competitive world of crop production that farmers are facing today.

The advancement of new technologies in all areas of production agriculture is coming at a faster and faster pace, such items like precision GPS technologies, seed genetics, plant growth regulators, and new chemical compounds are more and more becoming available. But, what is important is that we not forget to first properly manage the fundamentals –

# 1 Develop and maintain a sound soil testing program based on properly defined soil management zones.

# 2 Manage a balanced soil health fertility program for all crop nutrients

# 3 Develop and maintain an accurate record of crop yields based on the crop and soil variability’s with yield monitors.

If these fundamentals of crop production are developed, maintained and properly utilized, more accurate and efficient decisions can be made with the increasing amount of new technologies that are becoming available to increase crop yields.