RESEARCH REPORT: Year 2: Fruit and Vegetable Yield Data Collection
In 2013, Practical Farmers of Iowa started a yield data collection project for three reasons:
1. Iowa-specific production histories do not exist for most Iowa fruit and vegetable crops.
2. Lenders need more information to better assess the profit potential of these farms and the risk/benefit of lending to these farms.
3. Private and public insuring agencies both say they need more Iowa-specific, actual production history to improve insurance options for these farmers.
Thirteen farms submitted data for the project in 2013. Nine farms submitted data for the project in 2014. Multiple years’ data provides additional information for producers, insurers and lenders alike. Practical Farmers’ farmer cooperators plan to collect this data again in 2015, further increasing records of Iowa actual production history.
The data provided by this project is important for all fruit and vegetable growers in Iowa, but the practice of collecting the data has helped participating farmers improve their own operations. Rick Hartmann of Small Potatoes Farm said:
“Although the yield data taken has not necessarily been statistically significant, it has provided some very noteworthy information. For example, yield differences between pea varieties recorded during the record keeping trials have been so different, we have changed our varietal selection for upcoming plantings. The differences were not noticed or evident through observation alone, but only came to light through careful record keeping. Observational data are normally kept on crop variety yields, but by participating in the record keeping project we have been able to put numbers to our observations.”