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.”
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.
Virtually every precision ag survey done with growers and industry over the last 20 years would rank "getting different systems to work together" as the greatest frustration and obstacle to growing the overall market.
Topics: Farm technology
Dan Frieberg talks about the Silver Bullet of precision ag and how there is no "Silver bullet". The point is the "Silver Bullet" for growers changes within every part of every field and can change every year. Watch now...
Topics: Precision ag
Topics: cost per bushel
I’m a big believer in the practice of split-applying nitrogen – specifically sidedress – applying a portion of the nitrogen after planting. Being able to apply part of the nitrogen closer to plant uptake always made sense to me because the nitrogen is less available for loss before that time. However, oftentimes it is difficult to find the advantage of sidedressing in the data.
Topics: variable rate
I spend some of my best work days with growers – encouraging them to use their data to drive better agronomic decisions. Of course, I'm frequently also inviting them to become customers.
Topics: yield efficiency
Dan Frieberg, President of Premier Crop Systems, talks about data and breakeven cost per bushel on the Farm to Fork Podcast.
Topics: cost per bushel
In the early 1970s, I was fortunate to work for a farming operation that was serious about soil conservation. Serving on State Soil Conservation boards, building terraces, implementing no-till, when planters and weed control options were crude by today’s standards – they were soil stewards. Because of their mentorship, I’ve always taken soil conservation seriously.