Increasingly, ag retailers are finding ways to abandon what they call a "cookie-cutter approach" to providing customers with crop inputs such as seed treatments, herbicides and insecticides. One recent example is STI Customized seed treatments from West Central Inc., which is delivering customized options for wheat, soybeans and other crops based on geography and rate of final application volume.
"Agriculture is a business of precision, and seed treatments are no different," says Blake Murnan, West Central Inc. seed improvement specialist. "The concept behind STI Customized is to first discover the challenges growers are facing and then provide a solution, rather than presenting a solution before knowing the issue."
DuPont is also ready to extend a successful pilot program for wheat farmers into a broader geography in 2014 with the company’s PrecisionPac custom blending service. The device looks like a vending machine, but instead of dispensing candy and soda, retailers can dial up customized chemistry to create a highly tailored "tank mix in a bag," explains Jeff Carpenter, DuPont corn portfolio manager.
"You can create several really unique blends," he says, adding that the system requires no measurements and product is dispensed into a polybag rather than triple-rinse plastic containers. The original batch of PrecisionPac machines were used in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Great Plains, with a planned expansion stretching across the U.S. for the coming year, Carpenter says.