We are excited to announce the launch of our new Data Visualization platform, part of our three-tier technology strategy. This new platform allows growers to gain key insights that give them the ability to make informed decisions based off economics, seed, crop protection, fertility, operations and management.
Throughout Premier Crop's nearly 20 year history, we've perhaps been the most diligent at communicating that what we do – big data analysis – would be considered "observational data analysis" by those in the scientific community.
Topics: Enhanced learning blocks
Difficult economic times tend to bring out skepticism or at least a review of current practices. Recently I was asked “Do variable rate applications of any crop input really pay?” To some it might be surprising that 20 plus years after variable rate technology was first brought to the market, there are still so many that haven’t “bought in” to the concept.
Yield results are in and every plot or trial has an overall winner! Winning a plot isn't easy. Sometimes, luck is involved. Years ago, one of our customers measured the impact of "shading" in a plot. If your company's hybrid was placed next to taller hybrids, how much did being shaded by a taller hybrid affect yield in the outside rows that were shaded? They found the difference could range from 7.7 to 33 bu/acre penalty from being shaded! In some company's trials protocols, they discard the outside two rows and only count the results from the inside two rows.
Topics: seed selection
Topics: data driven decisions
Long before GPS was part of our acronym vocabulary, my early agriculture career started in eastern Iowa and northern Illinois. On one of those scorching hot July days, as you were driving through the area, every so often the road would be higher than the fields and you could visually capture a birds-eye view of the fields below. You could see parts of the fields, where the corn was rolled up tight as the plants went in to "protection" mode – while other parts of the field look perfectly normal. Images like that help make me an advocate that managing parts of the fields differently would make agronomic and economic sense.
At this time of the year, it's easy to feel like yields are largely a function of weather – temperature and rainfall. Over the years in hundreds of grower meetings, I've heard that sentiment repeatedly. If you are inclined to think that way, think about this scenario.
Every week I see ads using the latest marketing buzzwords to describe how a company is going to use your/their big data to revolutionize how you farm. Estimated rainfall using radar images is being claimed as “hyper-local”. UAV’s, imagery and crop models being claimed to replace scouting for diseases and insects. Proprietary algorithms use big data to manage all your inputs so efficiently it will be “game-changing.” That’s one of my favorite buzzwords- “game-changing.”
Topics: data analytics
Increasing return on investment for every input is clearly on the mind of every grower. They are in an economic squeeze, but that doesn't mean they won't invest more in crops. It does mean they are scrutinizing every dollar they spend. The current success measure now goes beyond yield increase to include which inputs offer better return on investment.
I'm always looking for parallels – examples from other industries on how they use data to drive better decisions. While on the road, I listened to several Freakonomics podcasts. One that related well was titled Bad Medicines, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations.