• Agriculture Technology

Use Crop Modeling to Facilitate Decision-Making

Sprayer in a field
I’m a seventh-generation corn and soybean farmer and work an operation with my dad in southwestern Indiana. We always keep one eye on the field and the other on the marketplace, as each can change dramatically very quickly. We know that if we want to keep our farm going for generations to come, we have to win in both.
I also work for WinField United as a district sales manager. In this role, I’m able to see the value of the company’s ag technology tools firsthand. The tool I worked with the most last season was the R7® Field Forecasting Tool. After seeing the value it brought to other farmers, I began using this web-based crop modeling solution to guide my own in-season decisions. The tool puts personalized crop data, like nutrient or water stresses, into an accessible format so you can take quick action to fix problems.

From nitrogen applications to spring burndown

The Field Forecasting Tool lets you run scenarios that show what you can expect if you apply various inputs. For example, if you make a nitrogen application at a particular time at a particular amount, will you get a return on that investment? Or is there a better chance of success if you apply it at a different rate at another time?
Nitrogen management is very important to our operation. We received a lot of rain last year, and I wanted to make sure we were able to react no matter what Mother Nature was throwing at us. The Field Forecasting Tool helped us do that. 
The tool can also provide a view into the more remote areas of your operation. We had one field that was hard to get to, which created issues with accomplishing an effective spring burndown. If it hadn’t been for the in-season imagery in the Field Forecasting Tool, we probably wouldn’t have noticed that in time to take the appropriate corrective action to manage those weed escapes.

Taking a fungicide application to the bank

In addition to agronomics, the Field Forecasting Tool has helped us on the business side of farming. While talking about falling corn prices with my banker, I showed him some in-season images on my phone taken from the Field Forecasting Tool. I told him that we had a great corn crop in progress. I admitted there was some red on the images, which indicated a few not-so-great areas of the field, but that I was getting ready to invest in a fungicide application.
I wanted my banker to realize that if I wasn’t proactive, I was going to leave money in the field. Ultimately, he understood that I was taking the time and using the appropriate technology to manage every input from multiple perspectives. This gave him, and the bank, more confidence in our farm and in our management. He saw that we weren’t trying to raise the cheapest crop. We were trying to raise the best crop.
Talk with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer about the Field Forecasting Tool. No two growing seasons are the same, so use technology to stay a step ahead of field challenges.
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