The Seven Most Expensive Words in Farming
Marry the science and art of farmingIn the past, farming may have felt more like an art than a science. Before ag technology and the wealth of data we have today, farmers made decisions based on experience and their gut feelings. I’m not discounting the importance of them, but modern agriculture arms us with tools to help support, or sometimes refute, what our gut tells us. Your tried-and-true ways of managing might actually be holding you back from optimizing your farm’s potential.
Ag technology can be intimidating. I get it. Trying to decipher relevant data from noise isn’t always easy but when we marry the science of farming — the data, the equipment and the ag tech tools — with the art of farming, we build a strong foundation for making profitable decisions. You can work with your agronomist to build a plan for how you operate today and then build on that plan over time.
Stop obsessing over maximizing yieldYes, yields are important. They’re the basis of determining how productive your fields are. However, it’s time we start putting more emphasis on profitability. How much does it actually cost you to produce every bushel of grain? In the end, the answer to that question will determine your profitability potential. Every management decision you make impacts your bottom line positively or negatively. The right data, technology tools and expert recommendations can help you make sure those decisions optimize not only yield potential but profitability as well.
For example, in 2019 my farm saw a tremendous amount of rain. It made me wonder how much nitrogen my fields lost. Around the time my corn pollinated, I was tempted to apply an extra 30 lbs. of nitrogen because experience has shown that’s an effective way to increase yields. However, when I looked at the R7® Field Forecasting Tool and ran scenarios based on my field’s conditions, it predicted that my nitrogen investment would only result in an extra bushel per acre. The model revealed that my gut feeling was not the right decision in this situation, and I ended up saving money by not applying that nitrogen. Those dollars were reallocated to a fungicide application, which I planned using response-to fungicide scores and imagery from the R7 Field Monitoring Tool.
Find the right partners with the services your operation needsWinField® United is invested in seeing farmers succeed. Our extensive retail network delivers the local expertise and support that are critical as the industry evolves. From pursuing online storefronts to offering innovative programs and services, the most progressive retail partners will be advancing as the industry does.
One way WinField United retailers are doing this is through the Advanced Acre® Rx program. It’s a research-backed prescription service that gives farmers a customized management plan to increase profitability potential while dialing back uncertainty. The program flexes to help farmers achieve their agronomic and economic goals and ranges from providing season-long plans to recommendations focused on a specific agronomic decision. If the prescription is executed and participating farmers don’t achieve a predetermined yield goal based upon approved yield,* WinField United covers the cost of the prescription and select inputs with a service warranty.
During the 2020 season, the WinField United agronomy team conducted a series of trials with local retailers that put the Advanced Acre Rx program to the test. Across all 20+ Advanced Acre Rx trial sites, a prescription program provided yield increases for corn and soybeans. And, on average, the more resources invested in Advanced Acre Rx, the greater the ROI.
- In testing, when utilizing the 100% approved yield APH approach, Advanced Acre Rx prescriptions netted a $45.10** per acre ROI at a price of $4 per bushel in low-yield environments for corn and also showed a positive ROI in high-yield environments.
- Similar results were seen in soybeans with Advanced Acre Rx prescriptions netting $12.90** per acre ROI based on a soybean price of $11 per bushel.
If you’re looking for ways to boost profitability potential in 2022, there’s still time to take advantage of SECURE financing and to develop customized prescriptions with the Advanced Acre Rx program. Contact your local WinField United retailer for more information.
This article was originally published in December 2019 and was updated in December 2021.
*Agreement is required and conditions, restrictions and service fees apply. Percentage goals for the APH (actual production history) crop yield range from 95–105% for corn and 95–100% for soybeans.
**Amount does not include prescription fee or additional application costs.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.
© 2021 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. R7, Advanced Acre Rx, SECURE and WinField are trademarks of WinField United. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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