“We don’t just sell seed in the spring,” says Kyle Allen, a Channel seedsman based in Hawk Point, Mo.
Allen has built his seed business over nine years, and he says in the past five years data has changed the way he partners with growers. Helping farmers collect and interpret data as an advisor has helped grow his business.
“At planting, as we’re scouting, when we’re spraying—we’re building data layers,” he says. “So it’s not just the yield map helping inform our decisions.”
And according to Allen, the tool that is amplifying the value in those data layers is instant data sharing.
“It’s a great tool for my toolbox,” he says. “We are no longer depending on handing over a USB drive. Farmers get a ping on their phone with the custom reports we send them, and they love it.”
His goal is to help farmers form a plan every year and then be able to react to it in the most timely way.
“A great example this year is weed pressure. With the increased rainfall we’ve gotten, it’s been crucial to handle weed outbreaks within 24 hours of scouting. Our time windows for application have been small, so having instant information from the crop scout to the farmer makes things much more effective.”
He shares on anecdote that some customers used to sit on the edge of fields waiting for files to upload and synch in their machines. Now, with instant data sharing, things are much more instant and can eliminate delays.
Another hurdle that has been knocked down is incompatibility, as integration between equipment and digital tools becomes easier.
“60% of my customers will buy seed from another dealer. So I have to be able to help them make decisions with their data,” he says.
Along with the advances in digital technologies, Allen shared the importance of data quality for maximizing the value of digital ag tools. “It may be easier to collect and share data today, but bad data in can result in bad data out,” he says.