Tag Archives: Precision Prep

Is Automated Crop Reporting Ready for Prime Time?

The subject of Automated Crop Reporting (ACR) to report planted acres and yields to your crop insurance company using precision technology has a utopian sound to it.

John Deere and its affiliated crop insurance company are attempting to make this utopian dream a reality.  Other insurance companies are following suit.  One thing is for sure, there is plenty of buzz in the agricultural forums over the subject of Automated Crop Reporting (ACR).

There are plenty of questions surrounding this subject – the biggest of which may be whether or not ACR is ready for prime time.  For all the promises that the technology holds in this arena there are real obstacles to whether it can be successfully deployed on a mass scale.

The biggest mountain to overcome may at first glance seem to be the smallest – preparing precision hardware to collect the RIGHT data, in the RIGHT format, in the RIGHT way.  The honest truth is that most growers don’t know the RIGHT way to collect  data or simply where to start.  That is why the cornerstone of Prime Meridian’s data services is an inexpensive service called ‘Precision Prep‘ that prepares grower’s monitors before they go to the field with the correct grower, farm, field information along with GPS field boundaries and standardized variety and product names.

If ACR is to work It will require more rigid data collection standards within the industry and basic data setup programs like ‘Precision Prep‘ from precision service providers.  The other obvious mountain in the way is the issue of calibration.  The painful, unspoken truth is that most precision yield monitors are never calibrated properly if at all. If such precision records are to be accepted by crop insurance companies for proving baseline yields and ultimately for crop loss claims then monitor calibration will have to clearly documented and accuracies will have to be in the 97 percent accurate or better range.  We have a long way to go before that becomes the norm.

Working with your crop insurance company to implement ACR on your farm will mean you have some of your own mountains to climb in order for such adoption to be successful.  It is our view at Prime Meridian that professional precision agriculture services providers will be invaluable guides in order for ACR to become mainstream within the industry.

What do you think?

Every Field has a Story to Tell – Are you Listening?

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.