Optional - Creating plantings to match sales projections
Sales projections provide a handrail to start out with. Something to consider is that you can pay yourself the most amount per hour of any farm job when you are planning out your next season. This is because of the importance of the crop plan to match all of the needs and wants of your customers while reducing waste.
Getting a number for 'Units per bed ft' doesn't require awesome records
Sales projections hinge on a value of 'Units per bed ft.'. This value is the number of units that can. be sold from one foot of a bed (across all of the rows in that bed). This allows VeggieCropper to calculate the number of bed feet of the crop you will need to meet your sales projections. Sales projections are your planned sales for all of the different units for that crop.
Crop planning requires a Unit/bed ft whether you have one
One row of zucchini was lots last year, so it will be enough this year. Fair. But why not take a guess at the units per bed ft (estimation is really powerful) and see what your sales projections think you should plant? You can always go with what you did last year but the more you rely on sales projections the more you can cut waste and keep dialling everything in. By adding sales projections you can also check them against your harvest plan with the 'Harvest plan & Sales projections - Bed Feet' graph (explained below). Why not next level your farm planning?
VeggieCropper allows you to have complete control over the type of unit (bunch, lb, case, 120 g bag etc) and you can have as many different units for any crop as you want with separate sales projections for each unit. Maybe you only wholesale cases of lettuce in August and September but you sell it heads of lettuce all summer at market and put it in your CSA every second week, no problem. VeggieCropper will add it all up for you and calculate your planting dates and the bed feet required to match all of your planned sales.
Here is a short video about adding projections and using the projections page (this video will be updated soon, you can now find projections by going to the more ... menu next to your initials and clicking a specific unit on the units page found on the more menu. 'View projections' will show on individual units pages after adding in details: 'lbs unit' and 'units/bed ft'.
By adding sales projections you also get a graph that compares the bed feet of expected harvest for each week of the crop with the bed feet of expected sales for each week of the crop. The Harvest Plan and Projections - Bed Feet graph allows you to directly compare sales projections to your crop plan.
The harvest data in the harvest plan divides your bed feet for each planting by the weeks of harvest. If a planting is 100-bed feet and has 2 weeks of harvest, once 'weeks to harvest' (DTM) has passed, then VeggieCropper will assume you are going to harvest 50-bed feet one week and 50-bed feet the next. The graph compares that with the bed feet you expected to sell across all of your crop units. You can learn more about this handy graph here and there's a video explaining it in more detail in step 3.
Always aim to be first to market to gain and retain customers
Perhaps the greatest advantage of being first to market isn't the boost in sales from that first week (which always feels good). The greatest advantage is likely gaining and retaining customers by engaging them with an easy sale and keeping them coming back to you for the same great product you were first to market with. Customers love consistency. Showing them you are consistent is exactly the imprint needed. Then you will make their life easier because you will always be first to market with other crops. That's how to become their main go to and it can make a huge difference in sales. This is the kind of planning precision VeggieCropper is all about.
We can all grow a huge amount of food and flowers, that's really powerful. But not being able to sell it for top dollar results financial loss and undue stress. VeggieCropper offers an easy way to use and update sales projections, next year will be much easier. And you can check your plantings against your crop plan from last year to make sure everything makes sense. Put in the effort now and save 10x the hours and make more money in one season with less waste and more happiness.
A good general rule is to double what is needed to pay the farm owner(s) yourself for this year and then add 20% for profit/contingency. So if $40,000 is needed in earnings, the gross needs to be around $96,000 (($40,000 x 2)+20%).
There are a lot of problems with general numbers like these, but the principle of adding 20%, is a good one. The farm owner has all the risk. If there is a bumper year great, that leaves the 20% for retirement savings but more likely it is headed into farm improvements. Either way, farm owners deserve profit over and above their 'wages'. When there is crop or market loss, then the profit dries up and with little left to invest in retirement savings or the farm. That's when the 20% invested from last year comes in handy. Profit is a really good thing and worth at least planning for. Believe it or not, customers want a farm to be profitable so that they can keep enjoying the special flowers and vegetables that they have come to rely on as part of their lifestyle and sustenance. If there is no profit then it is a hard reality that the business is vulnerable to market and production failure. Profit makes sustainable farming sustainable.
However, you calculate your gross number, keep it in mind as you can check in on your gross sales on the Projections page by clicking the calculator button.