THREE Ways to Determine Field Profitability Using Your Technology {Pt. 2}

Posted by Molly Haub on 3/19/19 8:07 AM
Molly Haub

This is a three part series focusing on ways to determine your field profitability using your technology. We will post the series over the course of two months. If you don't want to wait, you can get the full series here.

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In tough economic times, it is more imperative than ever to know your productivity and be able to evaluate the cost or benefit of your decisions. Our mission at Premier Crop is to make this easy for you and give you multiple ways to evaluate across your operation. I will walk you through the different methods of evaluation: cost/bu, variance reports, and learning blocks, along with why each is important.

The first measurement is the cost per bushel on a spatial level to give you a new look at each individual area of your field.

Field Productivity Report Card

After determining your cost per bushel, it is valuable to look at all your fields and rank them, like a report card. This process allows you to view which field deserves the gold star and which field needs more attention. This is a process that is automatically generated for you when you are enrolled in our program.

One part of the report shows a cost/bu field average over all of the crop acres for a given year and over multiple years. It allows you to look at trends in regards to cost/bu over time. This report will show you if one field is consistently producing a lot more or less yield or costing a lot more per bushel.

In the report below we can see that Bob Smith’s BS3 Home field corn averages $6.11/bu(1) across all the years of data, which is higher than his other fields in comparison. In 2018 it cost him $3.38(2) to grow a bushel. This report will show where the cost/bu had a significantly higher average (2012 $15.07/bu(4) corn) but since 2014 this farmer has been doing a good job of maintaining his cost/bu average on the BS3 field. However, we can see that across all acres of our fields the average cost of corn in 2018 was $2.94/ac(5). Therefore this field raises a flag for us to look deeper into the field data.

In contrast, the BS4 Home field averaged $2.59/bu(6) in 2018 which is below our average corn costs of $2.94/bu(5). This field has a consistently lower cost/bu year over year than other fields.

premiercrop_costperbushelaverage

What does this mean? The purpose of the report is to get us to ask ‘why?’

BS3 could be averaging a higher cost/bu because our management zones are not correct, we may be trying to push the field too hard, our plant population is off, or the nutrient prescription is flat-rated. Or we may be paying higher rent on that field and need to consider if it is economically responsible to keep renting at the current rate.

Again, this report is a big-picture overview across a whole operation, it’s main strength is to get us to ask why. Why is BS4 performing so much better than BS3? What can we change to get our cost/bu more in line across all of our fields? Lower seed costs? Split apply nitrogen? Apply fungicide?

Premier Crop can help answer these questions, our trained agronomic advisors can identify yield-limiting factors by doing an in-depth analysis of your individual field. We are able to recommend a management change that will affect your bottom line across a whole field. That is our ultimate goal, to make you profitable.

Is there a way be profitable without implementing wide-scale changes across your whole operation? The answer is yes, with step three, Learning Blocks...stay tuned!

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Find more relevant posts about precision ag on here

Topics: Farm technology, data analytics, Precision ag, Ag technology, management zones, cost per bushel, learning blocks

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Premier Crop Systems is a leading precision ag, data processing and analysis company in Des Moines, Iowa. Premier Crop Systems started in 1999 to deliver better agronomic decisions through data analysis that lead to higher yields, increased profits and more sustainable practices for customers. 

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