Benchmarking Shows Yield Potential
The intersection between technology, data, shared resources and collaboration is boosting profitability and overall effectiveness in farming. FarmLink offers a data analytics and data science platform that is the engine behind TrueHarvest benchmarking, aimed to help farmers make more money either in the field or on balance sheets.
TrueHarvest functions as a peer-to-peer benchmarking platform for agriculture production. Typically, benchmarking measures yield through absolute bushels, often comparing yield in a single year to a county average. However, yield is subject to a host of uncontrollable factors.
For five years, FarmLink has collected yield data down to the granular level from combines leased to farmers. TrueHarvest breaks down data to a microfield level and correlates it to a yield database. Individual fields, down to the zone level, are compared with similar fields in similar conditions. Soil, slope, precipitation and several other factors create correlations and a peer-to-peer benchmark.
In essence, TrueHarvest provides a lay of the land based on concrete, actionable data. If a cornfield yields 250 bu. per acre but is only performing at the 55th percentile, the data reveals the yield gap and displays the yield opportunity left in the field. This shows a farmer where he or she should focus their resources, time and effort. Moving forward, farmers and their agronomic advisers can reallocate resources to areas of opportunity and measure success year-over-year.
Historically, farmers might compare yields to the county average or tallies from the previous year, which can be improper measurements. Even slight differences in precipitation, growing degree days and heating units can show in final yields.
Typically, benchmarking was tied to machinery or input costs per acre—not production.
TrueHarvest corn and soybean data is backed with a 220-combine fleet for comparisons. Wheat comparisons are available for the first time in 2015.
TrueHarvest builds revenue in two ways. First, it measures the effectiveness of farming
decisions and shows which inputs worked. Second, it shows the potential remaining in a field that can be harnessed through better investments.
For more, see www.farmlink.com/home/trueharvest.
AgJunction and Novariant Merger
AgJunction will acquire Novariant in a merger expected in the summer of 2015 to combine product portfolios and intellectual property for a stronger global position in automated steering and machine control.
“Novariant established itself as a pioneer in guidance and autosteer technologies over 20 years ago,” says Dave Vaughn, CEO, Novariant. “Most recently, Novariant has sharpened its focus on precision agriculture and has positioned its offerings to address a major shift in our industry from aftermarket channels to factory-installed solutions.”
Based in Silicon Valley, Novariant’s steering technology is used in more than 60 countries. Novariant created approximately $30 million in revenue in 2014.
For more information, see www.corp.agjunction.com or www.novariant.com.
DIY Management Zone Creation Tool
FARMserver has created the Management Zone Creation Tool, a web-based application designed for do-it-yourself management zone creation.
“Through a series of step-by-step instructions, the Management Zone Creation Tool will provide farmers the
capability to analyze field maps based on historical data and then create zones to generate variable-rate prescriptions for multiple fields at the same time,” says Jim Shertzer, FARMserver lead.
Farmers can analyze fields according to soil type, crop health images or historical yield data and then build zone maps based on assigned levels of productivity. After evaluation and modification, producers can identify the best zones for subsequent planting seasons.
For more information, visit www.farmserver.com.
Aerial Surveying at New Heights
Midwest Aerial Technologies (MAT), an aerial surveying company focused on multiple industries across the U.S., surveys land for any company or producer that needs 2D or 3D photogrammetry and imagery. MAT also specializes in custom drones. Wyatt Peterson, lead UAS engineer for MAT, has built several task-specific drones, including multi-rotor and fixed wing platforms. “We evaluate each need and build the proper tool for the job,” he says.
For farmers, acquired MAT data is archived into farm management software for additional use during the offseason to adjust management zones. “The high resolution we can now achieve is giving growers an advantage they never had before,” says Phil Moskal, integrated solutions manager for MidState Equipment. “We can show farmers weed pressures that can be managed and areas of the fields that are nutrient deficient. This technology is still evolving, but it will change the way precision ag is looked at.”
MAT is located in Willmar, Minn., at the MinnWest campus, and surrounded by a host of research, surveying, manufacturing and agricultural businesses.
“When we started this business we wanted to provide options to industries looking at aerial surveying to cut costs or manage projects,” says Matthew Rohlik, CEO for MAT. “We can provide data processing for manned or unmanned aircraft. How it is used will make the difference.”
MAT emphasizes data propriety. “Your data is your data, period,” says Russ Thorpe, business development manager for MAT. “Our clients all have data that is valuable to them. We offer storage options as well as data management and consulting services to provide an array of options.” MAT has partnered with E4 & Sons, Woodbine, Iowa, to provide agricultural data management.
For more, visit www.midwestaerialtechnologies.com.
Alerts Put Crop Health in Crosshairs
FarmLogs new yield threat alerts farmers to zero in on problem areas within fields. Instead of receiving a rainbow-colored map that needs layers of interpretation, the grower gets an alert that relays a specific, present threat.
Using baselines starting in 2010, FarmLogs knows what fields normally look like meter by meter. Every five days a satellite passes overhead and catches new measurements that gauge crop health. As a new feature of FarmLogs, crop health is monitored in-season and as field anomalies develop, farmers receive alerts with precise location maps. FarmLogs’ mobile app then guides growers to the location.
“It’s so much more powerful and easy for farmers to use because they don’t get map overload,” explains Jesse Vollmar, FarmLogs CEO. “You just walk right into the field and take a look at the exact spot indicated by the alert.”
For the 2015 season, the new FarmLogs crop health monitoring solution is free. “We want to get it in the hands of farmers. For the 2015 season, it’s free with no charge or contract to sign,” Vollmar says.
For more details, visit www.farmlogs.com.
Sirrus Update Adds Flexibility
SST Software’s precision ag app, Sirrus, has been upgraded to allow users to record and share tillage, planting, fertilizer or crop protection operations.
Sirrus is used to record field boundaries, soil samples and scouting reports. The data is used to build nutrient prescriptions, seeding recommendations and yield reports. The new updates will increase these benefits.
“The new upgrades to Sirrus are important to the farming community,” says Drew McMahon, product manager for Sirrus. “They speed up the data collection to application workflow and provide a greater degree of flexibility when making last-minute prescription changes.”
For additional information, visit www.sstsoftware.com/planting-and-crop-protection.