Having “The Talk” About Technology
Here are three questions I often use to lead a grower into a conversation about technology and the R7® Tool. They’ve worked pretty well for me. Why not give them a try?
Question 1: “Are your yield maps all the same color?”
The common answer is “no,” which helps the grower identify that they have variability within their field. This can lead to viewing a yield potential map or historical imagery to determine if this variability is a new problem, figuring out what can be done to manage these areas differently, and providing recommendations about managing a persistently bad area. Maybe it’s poor drainage, maybe it’s a fertility issue or maybe it’s a problem that can’t be fixed. But helping a grower understand the resources that are available and the ROI by acre as he goes across his farm is a great place to start.
Question 2: “When you change hybrids, do you change seeding rates?”
This can lead to a discussion about Corn Characterization Charts (also known as the CHT Tool). The CHT Tool lets you show a grower how CROPLAN® and other seed products are projected to perform on specific fields and how comparing soil type, crop rotation, plant population and management practices can help him control and capitalize on field variability. A conversation about determining optimal plant populations to achieve the most ROI for his seed investment could potentially lead to creating a variable-rate planting map based on the variability you’ve identified from the first question.
Question 3: “How do you manage nitrogen?”
This helps lead the grower to the CHT Tool for a discussion about what particular hybrids might result in a yield penalty if nitrogen is improperly managed. Ask the grower if he changes nitrogen by hybrid, or what he would do if he got 8 inches of rain in a short period of time. Some hybrids would need precise nitrogen management, while others could be managed with less precision. Again, it’s about getting back to choosing the best seed and inputs for each field.
Do some of your growers still resist having conversations about ag technology and how it can help them optimize yield potential? If the answer is yes, don’t be frustrated. Farmers agree to hear about technology at their own pace. There are questions, however, that you can ask to help them understand how technology could benefit their operations.
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