A system designed to listen and respond to plant needs
In a perfect world—with ideal growing conditions—today’s seed corn genetics can produce a whopping 500 bu. per acre. With the average corn yield in 2013 at 158 bu. per acre, the question lingers: How do we capture the other 346 bu.?
Gregg Sauder’s latest technology company, 360 Yield Center, is singularly devoted to closing the gap and capturing elusive bushels. Sauder created Encore in June 2012 and began building 360 Yield Center in August 2013. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because the Tremont, Ill., farmer also started Precision Planting. That company sold to Monsanto in 2012, and while many of Precision Planting’s employees are still with the company, Sauder is no longer affiliated.
None of that changes the fact that for 20 years, Sauder fought for every bushel at the top of the yield pyramid by creating planter attachments and high-tech tools.
"Now 360 Yield Center is fighting for the bottom of the yield pyramid to maximize the potential of genetics," Sauder explains. "By understanding the relationship between nitrogen and water, we can boost yields more than 80 bu. per acre, if we’re there with the right amount of each at the precise time the corn plants need it."
The foundation of the system caters to bushels primarily controlled by the environment using three key principles: sense, decide and apply. It listens to the plant’s needs, identifies actions and provides tools to respond.
The journey continues. Sauder’s vision for 360 Yield Center began after he sold Precision Planting. The acquisition underpinned Monsanto’s Integrated Farming System (IFS) platform, which maximizes yield through seed genetics and equipment technology.
Initially reluctant to sell the multigenerational company, Sauder says he changed his mind because Precision Planting needed IFS to reach its full potential and IFS needed the equipment technology.
The decision to sell opened doors to new opportunities. Sauder left Monsanto and returned to his family’s Illinois farm in the summer of 2012. His corn crop, which got off to a great start, was soon crippled by the historic drought.
"I began to realize I needed to create a product that controls the environment the corn grows in," Sauder says.
The next spring was one of the wettest planting seasons in years. A frustrated Sauder pushed to get a crop in. His vision for 360 Yield Center emerged. He knew to fulfill it he needed to acquire or develop products that push water and nitrogen management to a new level.
Parts to the whole. This summer, Sauder and his team gave Farm Journal exclusive access to learn more about the company’s philosophy and plans. Just as this magazine hits mailboxes, the team is launching a suite of products designed to operate with the push of a button.
The farmer-founder of Precision Planting, Gregg Sauder, has a new company focused on helping farmers improve yields. The 360 Yield Center is a systems approach that helps farmers take control of their yields and capture the full potential of specific fields with the tailored "sense-decide-apply" management approach.
The system’s current lineup of products and services include: 360 Commander, 360 SoilScan, 360 Y-Drop and 360 UnderCover. Sauder started acquiring companies in fall 2013. The 360 Commander, formerly known as Optimizer, was created by Indiana farmer, Daryl Star. Iowa engineer Rhett Schildroth and wife, Stacey, owners of Redshield Technology, sold their product to Sauder, which is now called 360 SoilScan. The final acquisition came from Dan Muff, owner of Y-Drop. The 360 Y-Drop and 360 UnderCover allow late-season nitrogen and fungicide applications.