Premier Crop Systems

For over 20 years, we’ve been empowering growers to get the most out of their fields through data driven decisions. Premier Crop makes it easy for you to find solutions that will impact profitable yield. We analyze all parts of your field, with your data, to make sure you implement the very best prescription possible. But we don’t stop there. We also work to maximize your profits by generating new knowledge from your fields that help you better understand agronomic and economic relationships. And the best part is, all you have to do is farm. We take care of the rest.

Does Variable Rate Pay?

Difficult economic times tend to bring out skepticism or at least a review of current practices. To some, it might be surprising that 20 plus years after variable rate technology was first brought to the market, there are still so many that haven’t “bought in” to the concept.

Using your yield file, you can now quantify results and answer the did-it-pay question. Since 2005, we’ve been checking our work with our trademark Learning Blocks and we have proved, and continue to prove every year, that variable rate applications frequently pay. It’s not 100% but given the complexity of our modern crop production the results from millions of acres are amazing. Learn more about variable rate technology.

Using Management Zones

Management Zones are defined as, similar agronomic areas in a field that are created from a combination of layers. These similar agronomic areas can be used to manage inputs and data to analyze better efficiency and return on investment to your farm.  At Premier Crop we offer a user-friendly way to bring these layers together in one platform and help you make confident decisions from your data.   

Management Zones have been the catalyst in creating yield synergy across hundreds of thousands of acres in our system. Yield synergy is defined as applying the right rate of multiple products to achieve a higher return in specific parts of the field, rather than applying more or less of one product at one rate on a whole field. Developing the right rates is calculated by incorporating your management zones into all of your prescriptions. Each zone will have a specific calculated rate per product to be applied based on its productivity. If we know that you have a high yield environment, we have proven with our replicated randomized trials, called Enhanced Learning Blocks, that we can increase fertility, population, and crop protection products in these areas to push that environment to a higher yield. We also have experienced in lower producing zones, not only a savings on input costs, but also yield increases due to less plant crowding with lower plant population and better use of fertility management. Now that is a huge win for your bottom line!

Management Zones can provide great value to your operation when created, implemented and analyzed correctly. Premier Crop Systems platform is built to meet any grower where they are to create management zones using their data.  Whether you have years of data, or a 60-year-old soil map, we can help you be more profitable. Don’t get stuck using a system that can’t provide analysis of its work or prove your results. Premier Crop Systems is proud to be your partner on your path to higher profits. Learn more about Management Zones.

Success in VR Seeding

In our company’s early years, we did plenty of strip trial approaches where treatments and checks ran across the entire field. But we came to understand that most strip trials are running treatments across tremendous spatial variability, which is frequently ignored in the analysis. Averaging the results for treatment strips and ignoring the effect of spatial differences tends to mask what is really happening. Gains in the A zones can be “averaged” down by the results from C and D zones.

For many, analyzing variable-rate planting with strip trials has resulted in conclusions that aren’t positive for the practice. Our results and experiences have been the opposite. Using higher and lower Learning Blocks within management zones and analyzing yield results has led to even faster adoption. Read more about variable rate planting.

Back to the basics

Variable rate application of lime can be extremely significant in many areas and it's worth exploring why it frequently saves so much. At some point in our farming history, most of us have seen this chart illustrating the relationship between soil pH and nutrient availability. Phosphorus (P) is a primary nutrient and a significant annual investment for most growers. Focus specifically on how phosphorus availability is influenced by pH. When I talk about why growers should know and pay attention to pH, I start with "P" availability. Correcting low pH's helps unlock soil "P" reserves for the growing crop.

But there are at least three other reasons variable rate lime applications make sense. In many parts of the country, fields also have high pH areas. Applying a flat rate of two tons of lime on a field that has any high pH soils, makes a bad agronomic situation worse as phosphorus availability is just as adversely affected on high pH's as it is with low pH's.

Another reason that is seldom talked about is organic matter mineralization. The bacteria that are needed for mineralization cycle aren't active in low pH's. Correcting pH can keep the soil's natural nitrogen engine working well.

The third reason is an old one made new again. As we start to embrace IPM practices – crop rotations, herbicide rotations, cultural practices, etc. – to deal with weed resistance, soil applied herbicides will be part of the solution. And some of the most effective products have pH interactions, including carryover to other crops in your rotation. How will your advisors make the best recommendation without a pH map of each of your field?

There are many reasons to variable rate apply lime, but you can't consider them without an accurate geo-referenced soil sample. It's a great way to get started and the savings in lime cost by only treating the low pH acres will more than pay for the cost of the soil sample! Learn more about variable rate lime application.

Agronomic Synergies

Because nitrogen gets the most attention, our customers have been using their data to refine their N rates from our beginning in 1999. Any deep dive into their data reveals what appears to be the "right" rate that differs dramatically within parts of fields. One of our findings years ago showed that our best soils have more ability to furnish soil-supplied N from mineralization than our lighter soils. The data would show that we actually need more applied N per bushel produced on our lighter soils than our best soils. Learn more about variable rate nitrogen.

There can be “selectional bias” in data. For example, growers select their heavier soils for fall applications for agronomic reasons – ability to hold ammonium nitrogen. Likewise, they might choose their lighter soils for side dressing. Looking at nitrogen timing by soil type can be an obvious next step for correcting selectional bias. A second reason that side dressing might not show up in analysis as being superior in data analysis is due to the fact that nitrogen applications might not be the yield-limiting factor! If applied nitrogen is not what’s yield-limiting, then timing of application won’t likely matter or show up in data analysis. In much of the high organic matter portions of the U.S. Corn Belt, university researchers estimate that 50% to 70% of the nitrogen that feeds the plant is soil-supplied and not fertilizer-supplied. It’s no wonder there are years when the relationship between applied nitrogen – regardless of timing – and yield is insignificant. Read on for more information about side dressing nitrogen.