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Tech personnel work in all kinds of field conditions. [Photo: submitted by Charlie Adams]
Tech personnel work in all kinds of field conditions. [Photo: submitted by Charlie Adams]

For the Farmer: Technology and the Crazy Spring of '22

Charlie Adams
 June 28, 2022
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This spring presented a complete array of challenges for farmers. Often when weather conditions shorten the timeline for adequate spring’s work, a farmer has to decide what stays and what goes.

However, technology has helped to make things easier for farmers when the going gets tough. Farmers Edge is a digital agriculture company that not only provides farmers with high quality, accurate data, but also with field-level analysis, predictive modeling and an experienced team of farm data professionals to go along with all of the above. I spoke with two of those local professionals, Katie Wirt and Matt Keller, about how data-driven technology has made it less stressful this spring for farmers.

A Farmers Edge tech working on a grower in cab setup. [Photo: submitted by Charlie Adams]

With the crazy late spring weather challenges, how has your company made it easy for farmers to handle some of the quick decisions they needed to make in order to get the crop in?

Matt: Our ability to send Prescription Maps to the Farmers Edge CanPlug™ gives growers peace of mind knowing that if they have a crop change they can still receive a map for it. In addition, the Farmers Edge agronomist will help the grower understand what’s going on in your field’s soil test and how to quickly create a fertilizer plan to optimize yield and cost savings.

Matt Keller with Farmers Edge. [Photo: submitted by Charlie Adams]

Katie: Data is saved with minimal effort. Farmers get busy and some of the little record keeping details are hard to keep up with. Having our CanPlug™ collect and send data gives people peace of mind that there is a record. Adding products and notes to jobs in the Cab App are also a quick and easy way to keep digital records. Digital records are much more insightful than paper notebooks or the notes app on someone’s phone because they are linked to the field, are searchable, and can be used to assess profitability. Also, our automatically generated As-Applied Maps help producers calculate seeded acres. Furthermore, many growers made a crop plan in the winter months to assess input costs for different crop types. Even though the plan sometimes goes out the window in springs like this, this forward thinking allows growers to assess which fields or how many acres they might be willing to change if the conditions don’t suit “Plan A.” We also help with a visual assessment of soil test results. The FarmCommand platform allows farmers to visualize nutrients remaining in each field. This has been a great tool for making decisions about where to plant late-season including deep rooted crops like sunflower, where to put legumes that can fix their own nitrogen and which fields would benefit from a cool season small grain crop.

Katie Wirt with Farmers Edge. [Photo: submitted by Charlie Adams]

What challenges have you had this spring with the conditions the way they have been?

Matt: The 2022 planting season brought a multitude of challenges to producers and Ag Consultants alike. Producers were faced with high amounts of moisture in April and May causing planting delays which led to a high amount of crop changes. In my six springs at Farmers Edge, I have never seen the amount of crop changes as I did this year. Fertility recommendations made months in advance were tossed out and replaced with new ones. It was a chaotic spring, but the tools that Farmers Edge provides their agronomists helped make quick turnarounds.

Soil Probe with sample. [Photo: submitted by Charlie Adams]

Any exciting new tech coming from you guys in the next couple of years?

Katie: Of course, there are always lots of new things we are working on, but right now we are focusing on enhancing our digital tools for profitability and field-by-field decision making. For example, we are refining models to help make it easier to make in-season decisions like adding nitrogen or applying variable rate fungicide.

charlie.adams@mydakotan.com

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