Which Crops / Varieties To Track?

Topic Type: 
Question

John asked me, "Do you have a recommended way to track crop variety? Just put another entry under crop type? Might the crop list get too long and cumbersome then, and the crop report become less relevant? Or use the succession field? Seems like it could work for tracking variety, especially if it could be tied to crop type somehow."

I said, "It's really up to you whether and to what extent you want to track individual varieties. You can certainly include every variety of every crop in the Crop List, but I agree that would likely be too cumbersome for a number of reasons. Using the Succession field to track varieties is an interesting idea, but I think that could be problematic as well. If your operation is anything like the farm where I work, you might have 4-5 varieties of lettuce in each of 7 successions. You could track these 28-35 individual plantings separately if you only want to track lettuce this year, but if you have 50-60 more crops with different varieties, I wouldn't recommend it. I think some farmers will be using this tool to look at only a few crops each year, while others will want to try to track all of their crops either just for the first year or every year. I think you'll have to think about what information will be most useful for you at the end of the season and how much time you're willing to spend on keeping records.

Knowing only that you are just starting out on a smaller farm, I guess I'd suggest trying to track all of your crops but not individual varieties this year. This will give you sort of a baseline, and then next year you can target individual crops on which to focus more closely, tracking different varieties if you expect them to have different input needs as well as different yields. I'd be happy to go into this more if you want to talk about it."

I'd like to add that yes, the successions are tied to crops. Theoretically, putting in a variety name instead of a succession number would work. A potential problem, however, would be making sure that the variety name is entered exactly the same way in every Farm Log entry.Auto-Complete might help to accomplish this, but there is a risk of some entries not being correctly identified with the others.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on these questions?

Farmers: Would you rather track all of your crops each year, or choose a few? To what extent do you want to know the differences in inputs and outputs between varieties of a crop?