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.
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.”
"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."
There are many ways to trial new products on your farm. Possibly one of the most common is what you might call a split-planter or side-by-side trial which we’ll refer to as a split treatment trial. For example, two hybrids in the planter. Half on one side, half on the other side. A split treatment trial could also be done for seed treatments, fungicide, crop protection--anything that can run in a side by side. This could even be separate passes with a sprayer, stripped through the field.