Every grower sets goals for their farming operation. Seeking high yields or decreasing costs of operation are commonly cited, but ultimately what every grower wants to know is whether or not each decision is profitable.
GPS technology has allowed growers to capture variability within a field – from yield to soils, fertility, pH, varieties, variable rate application and agronomic treatments. More than likely, you have accumulated binders full of color maps and hard drives full of files.
"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
Big data is a phrase that has integrated this world of technology across industries. It's about capturing relevant data from a huge number of sources, and translating it into something that people can use. Big data provides actionable insights to solve problems at scale and at speed. In this world of ag, we have billions of dollars of venture capital funding pouring into agriculture through technology builds. Big data has been at the center of that.
"We're all about tying the economics to the agronomics, which just means when we're adjusting nutrient rates and plant seeding rates and decisions about what we spend in different parts of the field, we're tying that out at the end of the year."
- Dan Frieberg
We often use the phrase, “Everything agronomic is economic.” What does that really mean?
First, let's first define agronomics and economics. What is agronomics? That's everything that we do in the field related to making good management decisions. It's deciding how much fertilizer to apply and where to put it, planting rates, crop protection, tillage systems and how to incorporate all of this into the farm. Those all go into how we grow our crop. On the economics side, we’re talking about all of the money involved in farming. Farming is a business, and just like any other business, you need to make sure you have cash flow so you have the opportunity to farm again next year, and the year after that. So, how do we focus on agronomics and economics? We do that by analyzing growers’ data. We use that knowledge to help them make decisions on their farm.
Knowing what you’ve done on the farm in the last five, 10, or 20 years can provide valuable knowledge as you plan into the future. However, if you never take that data and don't use it to make decisions, it's not doing you any good. It's important to invest time into collecting your farm data. We work with growers to analyze their collected field data. We add costs to the layers of data including product cost, operations cost, management cost if they have any land-specific cost, and tie that to the yield file so we can see what is making agronomic and economic sense on the farm.
It's fairly easy to tell where there are higher yields, but it's a lot harder to know if that yield increase also caused an increase in the pocket book. Did the decision pay for itself? Did you produce enough bushels to offset the cost of production? Every pass across the field matters agronomically, but it also has a cost associated with it. We give you three steps to help combine your farm agronomics and economics below.
"I think people are really good looking at a 10,000-foot view, but when you dive deeper into the economics and profitability, that's where the rubber meets the road."
- Landon Aldinger, Farmer, Iowa Falls, IA