Precision Ag: Make it Easy, Make it Work

December 11, 2015 09:56 AM

Farmers rarely describe precision ag technologies as “easy,” but that’s something FarmLogs CEO Jesse Vollmar wants to change.

Vollmar, who grew up on a farm in Michigan, has been slowly adding to his suite of digital products and says the latest additions are among the best yet – a nitrogen monitoring tool and custom variable-rate prescriptions for seeding and fertility.

“Our theme is make it easier than it ever has been before,” he says. “The challenge is something like nitrogen is complex and changes every day.”

That’s why FarmLogs takes a multi-tier approach to solving on-farm problems using technology, Vollmar says.

“We combine the best of agronomic principles and knowledge, and translate those learnings into software and algorithms to ask questions and find answers. Over five seasons of high-resolution, multi-spectral imagery and soil survey data, combined with data science and analytics, allow us to capture variations in the field in an entirely new way.

The company’s foundation lies with FarmLogs Standard, a suite of  free products that will follow field conditions, including a rainfall tracker, GDD accumulation, and more, and it allows users to scout and collect notes on their fields.

Today, the company announced its newest two products – Nitrogen Monitoring and Variable Rate Prescriptions.

Nitrogen Monitoring joins the company’s FarmLogs Advantage package, which costs $2,499 annually. It shows the amount of nitrogen available on a daily basis and gives users an unlimited number of flat-rate application recommendations so they can make smarter fertility decisions. Variable Rate Prescriptions comes as an $8.50 per acre add-on for Advantage subscribers.

“These are custom-tuned prescriptions that are fine-tuned every day,” Vollmar says.

Nebraska farmer Chad Kuhlman says he was skeptical when he was approached to trial the new products, but he was at a point in his farming career where he knew he needed to step more out of his comfort zone.

“I’m not an office-type farmer, but I knew I was going to have to start thinking more like a CEO and get the pencil sharp if corn was going to be $3.50 again,” he says.

Fortunately, the insights he picked up paid off.

“This year, with a FarmLogs prescription, one of my toughest fields had its best year ever,” he says.

Vollmar says now that more people will have access to Nitrogen Monitoring and Variable Rate Prescriptions, they’ll be headed back to the drawing board.

“We’re going to learn from people,” he says. “Every time we sit down with a farmer, we learn something new and go back and incorporate that into our products.”

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