Will These Grow?
- Students will be able to prove the value of maximizing germination rates.
Tools & Materials
- SMART Board
The expression “well-oiled machine” comes to mind when I think about the art of farming. The potential of any farm is only realized when everything in the process unfolds just as Mother Nature intended.
But that’s not always the case. Pests, disease, and human error all threaten the balance of the system over the course of a single growing season. Germination rates set the stage from the very beginning of the process. If every seed comes out of dormancy as expected the possibility for a bumper crop still exists. But if a portion of the seeds fails to germinate – due to soil moisture, temperature, or something else – the financial viability of that planting just might be in jeopardy.
Run an analysis to measure the financial impact of a partial germination for a set of seeds. Base the experiment on a set of known parameters: 100/500/1000 seeds to start, known market value for a mature plant harvested at peak ripeness, revenue potential for total harvest based on 100% germination, input costs, maintenance costs, labor costs.
Now run the financial analysis assuming a partial germination to varying degrees: 10% loss, 25% loss, 35% loss. With an understanding of your hard costs to initiate and manage the growing process, what is the tipping point for profitability in terms of germination rate? How much revenue is realized from a 10% increase in germination rate above the tipping point?
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