• Agriculture Technology

Extend Ag Tech’s Value Throughout the Season

Two men reviewing a tablet discussing their season-long ag tech strategy
From seed selection through post-harvest assessment, access to ag technology tools and consultation are valuable services you provide to your farmers. Help them understand the value of tech all season long. Familiarize them with using ag tech tools to make data-supported decisions instead of relying on gut feelings. Your guidance is key in making tech part of their everyday farm management process.
Here are some of the tools you can share with farmers to promote a technology mindset for improved decision-making, and optimized ROI and yield potential.
Assess nutrient and water status
It’s critical to monitor nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium, as well as water stress and biomass levels, during the growing season so farmers can promptly address deficiencies and protect yield potential. The R7® Field Forecasting Tool is a web-based crop modeling solution that uses field-specific information such as soil types, as-applied fertilizer applications and tissue testing results from NutriSolutions®, along with weather information to simulate daily crop growth and development.
This enables farmers to predict optimal timing and rates for nutrient and water applications in-season and shift applications to a more appropriate date, depending on predictions from the model. Work with your farmers on in-season monitoring and be sure they know what fields they should focus their time and budget on to get the best results.
The Field Forecasting Tool also has applications later on. At the end of the season, use the tool to run different scenarios to see if doing something differently would have had an effect on yield and use those learnings to help the farmer start planning for next year. 
Track field trends
Early-season concerns such as weed outbreaks can be spotted with the R7® Field Monitoring Tool, which lets you and the farmer track a crop’s vigor status to determine if a field needs attention. Later in the season, you can see which fields have higher-than-average, average or lower-than-average crop development based on their normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) levels.
Higher-NDVI fields will be the ones most likely to have optimized yield potentials, and the ones the farmer may want to concentrate on to protect yield. For example, if a farmer has a field with a higher NDVI score than many of his fields and the hybrid the farmer has planted has a high response-to-fungicide score, investing in a fungicide application would be wise. At harvest, the tool indicates which fields should be harvested first based on those with lower-NDVI readings. This knowledge allows farmers to prioritize fields for harvest so they can better manage their time.
Have an eye in the sky
Farmers can access low-resolution imagery with the Field Monitoring Tool along with high-resolution, in-season satellite imagery available through the R7 Tool to see where there are problems. If the Field Monitoring Tool indicates a downward trend, you and the farmer can look at past and current imagery to pinpoint where that field is struggling and take action. Essentially, in-season imagery can be used to validate information from the Field Monitoring Tool. It’s also useful in scouting to identify stressed fields throughout the season.
Help farmers get the most out of their investment
Farmers may not be using all the technology they have paid for or that your business offers. Whatever your pricing system procedure for farmers to access ag tech, be sure they are aware of what’s available and that they’re using it to its fullest potential. Take the time to go out to the farm and review the tools with them. Be sure they know about the data storage capabilities of the Answer Tech Data Silo®, WinField United’s cloud-based data-management system. But also be sure they’re aware that the Data Silo can be used with other tools to leverage all of their on-farm information and make their data work harder.
Go the extra mile
Often during the time crunch of a busy spring — especially with challenges such as the late planting and excessive rainfall many areas have been experiencing this year — it’s easy for farmers to not take the time to accurately record as-applied data, keep up with nutrient management and tissue sampling, pay enough attention to harvest order or track harvest data. Help your farmers see the pitfalls of not using the tech, which could end up costing them both time and money. Then, follow that up with action. Work with them one-on-one to put tech into their hands, then help them properly interpret data and record information so they can use those resources for seasons to come. This level of customer care will pay off in optimized ROI and yield potential for them, and help build their confidence in you and your retail location.
© 2019 WinField United. Answer Tech Data Silo®, NutriSolutions®, R7® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.