Fertilizer prices are on the rise, which leaves growers seeking to better manage their input costs. When it comes to planning for 2022, you may have a ton of questions rolling in your head such as: How can I manage costs? Is soil sampling actually worth the investment? Does variable rate fertilizer really pay?
Foundations of agronomy and geography are the starting place for data-driven decisions.
I believe data driven decisions will power change in every aspect of crop production. Your data can be a valuable business asset that leads to greater profitability. Here are two reasons your data will lead to greater profitability:
- Yield limitations
I was meeting with a grower who asked the question, ‘Is the direction of Premier Crop going from a prescription company to an analytics company?’ My answer was: ‘Premier Crop has always been about analytics. We are not only a company known for analytics, but what to do with the information that is received within the data, in those analytics.
Variable rate seed prescriptions have been a topic of conversation since planter capabilities have increased and seed companies look to increase the value of their recommendations. Yet the farmgate, conversations have had a range of reactions to its success.
Do you remember the 90s? I was an elementary student, probably about 7 when my parents bought our first computer. I remember listening to the dial up tone to get on the internet and play the math video games that my mom had found. I also remember the incessant pop ups that also came with 90s internet. Sometimes, that’s how I feel about precision ag these days. There are a lot of pop ups that are flashy and use all the right buzz words wanting you to ‘pick me, pick me, pick me.’ However, there are several things about precision ag that these companies often leave out of their messaging that can be surprising. 5 of those things that can often surprise people are:
"It's just putting data to work for you. You can drill down on which fields, and which parts of fields are most profitable, and which aren't. I think the more you help growers know their costs, the better managers they are." - Dan Frieberg
"It convinces growers to spread those nitrogen pounds out over the course of the season or minimally making more than one application, and they see improved efficiency. We're talking about less pounds of nitrogen to produce a bushel of corn, and we generally see higher yields at the same time. So, it becomes a win-win." - Mike Manning
"Data is valuable, but data in the hands of the right people with the right context is really, really valuable." - T.J. Masker
"Growers tell me they are frustrated with precision ag, they've invested in the technology. I tell them, 'You just want to put the pieces of the puzzle together to see exactly what the picture is.’ And they are relieved when Premier Crop can help."
- Katie McWhirter, Director of Training and Development
What truly is the purpose of a variable rate prescription? Wikipedia puts it as “the application of a material, such that the rate of application is based on the precise location, or qualities of the area that the material is being applied to.” Fairly complicated right? At Premier Crop we like to describe it as using your technology that your equipment already has to reallocate your inputs to a part of the field where your yield potential and return on investment are higher. Ever since variable rate application methods were introduced in the 1990s and on into the 2000s there have been a number of farmers who have strayed away from using variable rate technology because it “just doesn’t pay”. I can understand this mentality because there has never been a precision agriculture software that ties the agronomics to the economics. Was the increase in yield that we saw in that area of the field where more seed/fertilizer was applied enough to offset the cost of the inputs and provide a greater return? This is the type of question that led many to be non-believers in variable rate prescriptions.
Topics: variable rate