“This year’s crop is so bad I just don’t see the point of yield mapping.”
I’ve heard that line repeated by more than a few farmers this fall as they prepared to go to the field to harvest a severely subpar crop.
I don’t know who started the rumor that yield monitors were only to be used for good crops! Granted there certainly is no pride down at the local coffee shop showing off maps of fields that only produced half a crop. But that shouldn’t be the point of yield maps in the first place. It is not a work of art. It is an agronomic record to learn from. Sometimes Mother Nature teaches us from very hard lessons. Accept them, learn from them and move on.
I understand the inclination to want to wipe disaster years like 2012 from your memory. But turning off a yield monitor or trashing yield data on a crop because it didn’t measure up should never be an option in the age of precision farming. It’s sort of like turning off your young child’s baby monitor because you don’t want to hear them cry. It’s irresponsible in both cases!
I would argue that you actually learn less about your fields and your management practices in a good year than you do a bad one. A lot less! How do you fine tune seed populations to soil in a perfect year? The answer is you don’t. How do you evaluate drought tolerant hybrids if it rains just the right amount every week? If there was ever a year that tested modern seed genetics it was this crop year! How do you gauge nutrient removal if you don’t have a precision fuel gauge like a yield monitor? Nutrient management alone is worth keeping a yield monitor on in both good times and bad.
As you can tell at Prime Meridian we take yield mapping very seriously. It is the cornerstone of many of our multiple year Prime Packages. It is critical information that provides the template for many variable-rate seeding prescriptions. And finally it has become necessary digital data that will be required by government agencies and federal crop insurance. Even if you do nothing with it – collect it, save it and protect it in a secure online AgriMAX account.
You only have so many harvests in a lifetime. They all tell a unique story. It is important to you and your farm’s future not to skip a single chapter.
For much of the past decade agricultural producers have been left wandering in the precision desert. The industry has sold them multiple mirages promising them oasis after oasis of economic prosperity if only they chose their precision path. What have growers gotten in return? In many cases – a precision canteen full of sand and nowhere closer to the precision promised land.
It is time to put the producers in charge of their data and their precision destiny. It is time for them to lead instead of being led. To do that they must take back “ownership” and “manage” the information that will determine their future fate. This will require an independent place, a home, an exchange, a robust platform where growers can store, share and add value to all the data that matters to their agricultural business.
Until recently (the last 3 to 5 years), most precision data fell into two categories or silos – fertility data usually captured and controlled by input suppliers and yield data from which farmers created maps from their own personal PC or more recently handed off to their seed dealer that gave them colorful paper maps in exchange for the valuable golden nuggets of raw data.
Today the industry is on the verge of monumental shift when it comes to precision data and precision services. Growers, and frankly the people that serve growers on the local level, expect more than what the status quo is delivering. Second, there is simply more data from all sorts of devices and sources. Third, wireless and cloud technology has the potential to converge all this data for a greater good. Fourth, growers are desperately seeking a new precision messiah – a trusted precision advisor, data traffic cop or precision accountant – that can direct the flow of data, ensure the integrity of the data and ultimately add maximum value to the information collected. And finally, growers and the industry cannot afford to ignore the cumulative good or management potential that can occur when multiple years of multiple layers of data intersect. Consider this to be the agronomic equivalent of the movie Moneyball.
Even with corn prices over $8 and soybeans over $17 – growers still need to realize that their most valuable crop is the precision data that is produced from their farm. Make sureyou – the grower – puts your data in a safe BANK – and that YOU – not someone else has the key to YOUR Data Safe Deposit Box. At Prime we believe we’ve created that Bank and its called AgriMAX. For more details, click here.
Harvest 2011 is in the books. But if you collected GPS yield data it still has a story to tell.
When producers question us about what is the most important piece of precision agriculture data – without hesitation our answer is yield data. Why? It is the last chapter in the book. It is the summary of all the management decisions you made during the crop year on a particular field.
Yield maps literally help paint a picture of a particular field’s personality. Strengths. Weaknesses. All are revealed in digital living color. Making major agronomic decisions however based on one year’s worth of yield data is sort of like getting married after only one date. Agronomy professionals say that most fields only reveal their true personalities after being tested by Mother Nature over the course of three to four years.
That’s why if growers want to graduate to the agronomic perks that precision ag can offer like variable-rate seeding and multiple-zone field fertility recommendations they need back to back to back years of yield data. Then through analytical agronomic tools like “normalized” yield maps you can better predict the tendencies of each acre and manage accordingly.
This is why those of us at Prime Meridian share such a passion in regards to the collection, calibration and preservation of combine GPS yield data. It is one of the main reasons we created our “Precision Prep” program for monitors to ensure data is properly organized and collected at the time of harvest. It also is why we offer either remote or on-site yield monitor calibration assistance for nearly any brand of yield monitor because only good data leads to good agronomy. And finally, it is why we offer producers free online storage for yield and other important agronomic GPS information through our online web portal called AgriMAX.
If you have been collecting and using yield data for years to make management decisions – then good for you. If not, your farms and fields still have a story to tell. You can never recreate GPS yield data. The Good Lord and Mother Nature only give producers so many harvests in a lifetime. So make each one count and make sure you harvest and store the digital crop of data as well as the one that showed up in your grain tank.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
Those aren’t exactly the questions people ask when they inquire about Prime Meridian’s online data portal called AgriMAX but there sure have been a lot of questions since the launch of our website.
What is AgriMAX? Is it a mapping software? Is it an online FTP site?
The simple answer to those questions is AgriMAX is the home for precision agriculture data. More specifically it is a place for your retail business to streamline and do the business of precision agriculture.
Probably the most important question we’ve gotten is simply – “What can AgriMAX do for my business?” The answer to that question is up to you the retailer. But rest assured by using the tools and services offered by Prime Meridian through your secure AgriMAX account you certainly come off looking like a superhero to your customers. Click here to learn more about a Prime Meridian AgriMAX account.