How to Assess the Suitability of a Crop for an Area

How to Assess the Suitability of a Crop for an AreaIt’s relatively easy to assess the suitability of a new crop for your farm if there is only one crop under consideration.

You can pretty well do the figuring on a single piece of paper and decide whether the crop is suitable or not.

But what happens if, like most of us, you can’t narrow the field down to less than three or four opportunities?

Can you keep all of the information about each crop’s soil and climate requirements along with the characteristics of your soils and microclimates in your head or recorded clearly on paper?

 You can narrow down which crops are suitable according to the following criteria:

• Crops with a competitive advantage for the region. There is no point in growing a crop such as grapes if every other region can grow grapes just as well. The reason for the premiums paid for grape-growing land in certain regions is all about the advantages of soils and microclimates bestowed on these areas.

• It is sensible to only grow those crops for which there are known or potential markets. Unless you have deep pockets, its a major challenge to start a whole new crop industry from scratch.

• Only grow those crops where there is private enterprise or entrepreneur interest. You need to find people with fire in their belly and a passion to develop a new farming industry.

• Only grow those crops that are within society’s resources and not in conflict with an existing activity.

Another way to find new crop options can be undertaken once you have quality data on the climate of your farm. First find a list of other places in the world that have a climate similar to your own. The reason for doing this is that it then gives you some places to start to look for plants that could do well in your environment and that have some economic value.