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
Now is always the right time to start managing your farm decisions at a finer scale. If someone were to ask you if you know your cost of production, you likely have an idea. But, when I say it’s time to manage at a ‘finer scale,’ the question that really precedes it is, “Do you know how much it costs you to raise a bushel of grain in each unique part of your field—that is—as your productivity changes across the field?”
Topics: cost per bushel
Topics: cost per bushel
I have had the privilege of being in the “Precision Ag business” for over 20 years now. A lot has changed since I started, but some fundamental issues still plague our ability to make it easier for users to leverage the various technologies that are available: having systems “talk to each other” technically referred to as “interoperability” is a key challenge. This issue is apparent from a recent survey conducted by AgGateway, a non-profit industry consortium that is focused on promoting and enabling the industry’s transition to digital agriculture with a goal of maximizing efficiency and productivity (www.aggateway.org). As an industry our goal is to make these technologies relevant to a large cross section of growers, so in the future we don’t refer to “Precision Agriculture” instead we just say “this is how you do Agriculture.”
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
In 2005, Premier Crop trademarked a unique idea that has become a common practice with our customers. A trademark called Learning Blocks™. If you’ve conceded to the idea that your fields aren’t the same from fence line to fence line and you’re already managing your fields in zones, you’re ahead of the pack. But, are you checking your work? How do you confirm you are choosing the right rates for the zones in your variable rate planting or nutrient prescription? Do you just trust that the prescription is right?