For many growers 2019 is finally in the books and preparation for 2020 is beginning with seed orders, chemical and fertilizer prepay as well as some end of year equipment upgrading. Others still have begun these steps while finishing up the last of their acres. 2019 was a year of windows; there were only a few windows to plant, and many acres around here never even had that window. Many times, this past summer I spoke with growers and the same comments arose “it only needed 2 good days of sun.” But for some that was never given. Then the windows of application and side dress came and went, and many acres of corn didn’t get the treatments that were needed. Harvest has come and went as one of the wettest falls on record and became a difficult task for many to complete. With the year of 2019 behind us I look to the adoption of technology on the farm, whether that is in actual hardware on a planter, combine or tractor, or if it is the adoption of technology in the data and information side. Many growers still adopted technology this year or began to utilize technology that they previously adopted.
Looking into previously adopted technology, is the entire package of the information you adopted being used on your farm? 2020 is beginning as a year that we may need to tighten our belts and maximize the margin of profit on farm. Utilizing every bit of the information collected on your farm to make sound decisions is one way to increase this margin. If you have a precision planter, or a yield monitor on your combine, or even a GPS monitor in a tractor, are you utilizing the data collected? Or are you just letting the information sit on the monitors or as maps collected? This information collected on farm from your technology has a large amount of value if utilized to complete a cropping plan for 2020 and builds a larger amount of ROI on the technology compared to the basic utilization. Yield data is an important piece of information to maximize the production of a field, by validating the areas of the field that could benefit from increased fertility or seeding rates. Utilizing these variable rate seeding rates, then can be utilized to maximize placement of in season fertilizer rates.
On a different note, soil sampling and software on farm is one of the least utilized pieces of information that I see from farm to farm. If your farm has GPS soil samples, why not utilize the sampling for your benefit by working with one of our YieldPoint® techs to create variable rate fertility plans for your fields. The software you select to manage your data is an important step into tracking your margins and building a field history to make better decisions in the future. As margins tighten up on corn and soybeans, using the complete package of the information you collect on your farm can be the key to maximizing the profit on a per acre basis.
Written by Alex Yost, YieldPoint® Specialist