Tag Archives: Prime Packages

There’s An APP For That! Prime Meridian Offers Digital Field Scouting Reports

When Prime Meridian first brought its multi-year precision data packages to market nearly 2 years ago we did something a little groundbreaking.  We decided that for any qualified client that signed up for one of our Prime Packages we would include a free Apple iPad tablet.

What we discovered was that delivering digital information via 3-ring binders should have been ditched a long time ago.  Our clients fell in love with receiving digital precision information digitally.  Imagine that?

But what we’re finding out along with the rest of the agricultural world is that these mobile devices are more than a digital one-trick pony.  Not only are they good at receiving and displaying digital information but they make pretty awesome field data collectors as well.

ScoutProScreenShot

There are a lot of great agricultural apps out there but one in particular caught our eye this spring and we’d like our retail partners and grower clients to give it a spin this growing season.  It’s called Scout Pro and what’s different about it is that it does one specific task very well – field scouting.  In fact, it is so specific the company offers separate apps for scouting corn and soybeans.

Up until now there has not been a really robust, full-featured scouting application that took full advantage of the power and simplicity of the new mobile platforms like iOS or Android.   What makes it so different?

1) Just a few touches and flicks through the app will reveal a rich multi-media library with almost every plant specific pest or disease you can think of.  Just identify, tag and touch and everything is geo-referenced and synced back to an online database where all data is sorted by field boundary.  Not sure of a particular pest?  Just snap a pic with you mobile device and it gets geo-tagged to the field and shared with key advisors.

2) In addition, to collecting data Scout Pro digitally disseminates scouting reports that look like works of art compared to their previous hand scribbled paper counterparts.  Plus, reports can literally be sent when exiting a field instead of having to sometimes wait days for a written report.

3) The final and most important perk we see with the Scout Pro app is that all the data once synced with the database is exportable to other key GIS packages.  This is critical as scouting data needs to be married with other real-time field information like variety and seed population information and yield maps and fertility data.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to relate yield loss in a field to insect damage?  Better yet wouldn’t you like to know which variety of corn was more susceptible to things like green snap?  That’s the exciting power of this app.

It is for these reasons Prime Meridian is looking to integrate the Scout Pro app and the data collected into its multi-year Prime Packages’ offerings.  It certainly is a natural fit and since you’ll have the free iPad anyway, you might as well take it everywhere you go – including to the field to scout bugs and weeds!

Want to learn more? For more information on getting set up on Scout Pro or its cost, please contact Justin Ogle or Steve Cubbage at Prime Meridian at 417-667-4471.

Yield Mapping Failure Is Not An Option

“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.

Precision Agriculture needs a “Jitterbug” and an “Easy Button”

The other day the daughter of one of our customers said something that made so much sense that it bears repeating.

“Wouldn’t it be great if there was actually a Jitterbug monitor for precision ag,” she said. “This stuff needs to be simpler so people like my granddad can use it.”

Photo via Toptechreviews.net.

For those who don’t know what a “Jitterbug” is – it is a cell phone made specifically for those who are “technologically adverse” or simply were a generation ahead of the “personal computer revolution.” In other words – a simple cell phone – with an emphasis on being a phone and double emphasis on being simple. No smart phone apps or complex data plans – simply a nice phone with big buttons, large display and robust volume. You know – the important things you might want in phone!

These comments reveal a persistent problem that plagues precision agriculture. It’s still too complicated! The hardware is too hard to run! And sometimes you truly may need to be a rocket scientist in order to operate this stuff.

For a segment of the agricultural industry that is nearly two decades old – precision agriculture should be simpler and offer a better user experience than it currently does. When the most complex task most operators of the hardware can achieve is simply pushing a button marked “A” and another button marked “B” so that you can drive straight – that is not what I would call fulfilling the promises of precision ag.

A $25,000 autosteer system should be able to do more than just drive a straight line. It should be a management tool that is like your own personal assistant that you take to the field with you recording exactly what you’re doing agronomically on your farm. It should be easier than it is to record the varieties you plant, the number of seeds you plant, the herbicides you spray and the number of bushels you harvest.

But those tasks are still hard to do because iron and hardware companies remain clueless or too hardheaded on how to easily collect the most basic, yet most important agronomic details regarding crop production. In order to outdo each other these precision ag companies continue to awe us with their latest bells and whistles. Meanwhile, the basics and the agronomic promises of precision ag have been left behind in the dust.

So it my contention that whoever comes up with the “Jitterbug” or the “Easy Button” of precision hardware will win the game. Technology can only truly fulfill its promise when it becomes transparent. Because it is not the hardware that should be the focus of precision agriculture it is the agronomy. And if we’re too confused about which button to press we’ll never get there.

That’s why Prime Meridian has worked very hard putting together BASIC multi-year precision plans called “Prime Packages” that focus solely on getting good data to and from the field. It would be a lot easier if the hardware companies would jump on the precision agronomic bandwagon but until then we’ll keep fighting the good fight and continue delivering SIMPLE to our customers.

Thousands of Reasons why Your Farm Needs an iPad 3

If you’re wanting an excuse to get Apple’s latest must have gadget – the NEW iPad 3Prime Meridian can give you one!

In fact, we can give you thousands of reasons – they’re called acres! When you sign up 2,000 or more acres of your farm in one of Prime Meridian’s multi-year precision plans called ‘Prime Packages’ the iPad 3 comes standard.

Photo from Apple.com.

Why? Other than it’s the coolest device on Earth – it is also the easiest way to connect you and your farm to your precision agriculture data. Plus, you can do so much more with it than you can old 3-ring binders full of maps.

Being shackled by a desktop PC and paper printouts can be compared to the days of using a rotary dial phone to talk with someone. Today, technology is mobile in a big way and we believe this mobile revolution being lead by the iPad is going to change the future of farming – big time!

Prime Meridian through its ‘Prime Packages’ delivers all of your maps ‘electronically’ so that you can view them right there on your iPad whether you’re in your La-Z-Boy watching March Madness or in your tractor planting corn. Your farm’s there in digital form everywhere you go.

With the new iPad3, precision agriculture becomes much more personal and greatly more interactive. It brings multiple years, thousands of acres and hundreds of agronomic variables into view on a magical 10-inch slate of glass. And with the new iPad 3’s retina high-definition screen its like holding a 42-inch HD TV in your hand!

To learn more about taking your precision plans mobile and viewing your farm in high-definition, contact Justin Ogle, head of GIS operations at Prime Meridian at 417-667-4471 or via email at: justin@primemeridiandata.com.

“Spring Forward” with your Precision Goals with “Monitor Prep”

Sure you changed your clocks last weekend for Daylight Savings Time. But the question is – are you ready to go to the field to start the 2012 crop year? Sure you’ve greased the planter and the seeds in the bag are ready to go, but are you really ready?

As I was resetting all my clocks in my house I wondered why producers shouldn’t do the same thing with their “electronic devices” before they go to the field in the spring.

If synchronizing all clocks and changing out your smoke alarm batteries are a spring ritual – shouldn’t prepping your precision equipment for the season be just as important?

At Prime Meridian we created a service that we hope becomes a spring ritual called “Monitor Prep” – a lot like setting your clocks forward. Monitor Prep is like spring cleaning — wiping the slate clean to start the new year fresh when it comes to collecting good and complete data from your precision monitors all season long.

Good precision agriculture just doesn’t happen. It’s a lot easier to collect good data if a precision display has been properly prepped with the right field names, the right field boundaries and the correct labels of all the seed varieties and crop inputs that made your pick list for 2012.

Failing to walk away from your field operations without collecting the right data is a great waste of precision technology that will impact the management of your farming business for years to come. Precision displays should not be treated like Etch-a-Sketches that you doodle on during the season for entertainment value – and you can’t just shake them clean when you’re ready to start another season.

Those of us at Prime Meridian believe the real rewards in precision and farming’s future will go to those who think of the equipment as true tools – just like they would with their tractor, combine, planter, disk, etc. For equipment perform correctly it has to be set correctly – and that in a nutshell is the first step to success on the path to precision.