To efficiently collect data on your farming operation, it’s important to have a good plan and keep notes as you go, collect in a timely manner, and verify that data matches what happened throughout the season. There are many data points that need to be collected, verified, and entered to get a full-scope picture of your operation for analytics purposes.
Telling your customers they’re under-performing isn’t a great business model. Encouraging them to take part in agronomic benchmarking can sometimes have that same effect. Those at the top might enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they are the stars, but how do you gently push the below average customers to step up their game?
At Premier Crop, we say that agronomy is local. Farmers say it too, though, because we have such a vast amount of data within our system.
"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
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 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.
As a grower, you’ve most likely asked yourself, “How do I improve my operation’s performance?” Defining success is an important first step towards improving performance on your operation. However, the definition of success has evolved over time.
It takes a great deal of effort to plan appropriately for the upcoming crop season. It isn't easy to be successful, and it definitely takes some time. There's an old saying that says, “You plan your work, and then you work your plan.”
"We know there are dollars left on the table on every acre, it's just a matter of finding it with your farm data." - Lance Meyer, Kansas
LANCE MEYER: Hi, guys. My name is Lance Meyer. I'm an advisor here in eastern Kansas, actually located in the little town of Wellsville, just southwest of Kansas City. I've been with Premier Crop for about a year and a half now, and I work with growers kind of all over Kansas. I’m mainly focused here in east-central Kansas, but I get out west and up north a little bit, so kind of all over.
"Part of the value of what they get in the Premier Crop program is being able to see beyond their own operations. A lot of times, hybrid and variety is the very first thing they look for."