Syngenta Partnership Delivers Productivity Data to Growers
“There is a lot of agronomic research out there,” Stelford says. “But when you present it to growers, they’ll have varying degrees of doubt. It’s only when you show them in their own fields that they’ll appreciate what each input can do for them.”
Stelford is the general manager of Premier Crop Systems®, LLC, an early developer of digital agriculture tools like Prove It in My Fields, a suite of agronomic analysis tools enabling local, infield testing programs.
Last year, Syngenta entered a commercial partnership with Premier to offer the industry’s first customized, variable-cost-per-bushel analysis maps, currently available for wheat, corn and soybean growers in the Midwest. Through the whole-farm management program AgriEdge Excelsior®, growers have access to Land.db®, the secure, cloud-based software that allows growers to digitally organize their data.
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“We’re combining whole-field economics with precision agronomy,” says Aaron Deardorff, head of digital agriculture solutions at Syngenta. “We can see cost-per-bushel at a subfield level, so growers know where the opportunities exist and can drive productivity through strategic investments.”
It’s no surprise to growers that certain areas of their fields are more productive than others as a result of varying factors, including soil type and moisture levels. With a larger focus on managing their costs and access to more advanced precision ag tools, growers are paying closer attention to these variances in field productivity.
Many trusted Syngenta and Premier advisers help their grower customers build management zones within a field. Together, they develop higher-investment management plans in A zones, for example, where more aggressive strategies will further improve their bottom line. On the other hand, they are more conservative with the C zones, cutting rates and managing costs to eliminate risk.
Kevin Kruize, precision ag manager at Central Advantage GS (CFS) in Owatanna, Minnesota, says that managing these zones differently delivers better yields in all parts of the field and significant improvements in overall return on investment. With this integration, Kruize will be able to pinpoint where those improvements come from and why on a cost-per-bushel rate. This information will help his customers understand their cost of production and how their input decisions are impacting their profitability.
“One of the toughest things in the industry is showing what is actually providing the grower value or profit,” Kruize says. “Precision ag has helped us make better recommendations, but putting dollars and cents to the data is really going to make our recommendations and insights a lot more valuable.”
For his customers, Kruize has used Premier Crops Systems for 15 years and is going into his sixth year with AgriEdge Excelsior.
“We have found great value in using the tools separately,” Kruize says. “Now, with the integration, we cannot be more excited. People get excited about bells and whistles of maps and apps. But with the integration of these two programs, we will far exceed any program offered in the precision ag/decision ag marketplace.”
In the Know
The software integration creates a unique opportunity to create localized field trials and address the Missouri Challenge. Whether it’s a new product or a varied seeding rate, growers or retailers can conduct comprehensive analyses on their own farms. They can learn exactly where and how products are performing—down to a 60-by-60-foot level.
“Traditional research is rather difficult to show on-farm without technology,” Stelford says. “But using this integration, growers or retailers can leverage the technology we have to conduct an experiment. After developing a plan, the operator uses a specific prescription. They then have access to field analytics on hundreds and hundreds of different agronomic factors.”
“We’re combining whole-field economics with precision agronomy. We can see cost-per-bushel at a subfield level, so growers know where the opportunities exist and can drive productivity through strategic investments.”
Syngenta and Premier refer to this as “research at the speed of farming.” Deardorff says it will help growers and their advisers make practical decisions.
“When they understand exactly what’s happening on their farms, growers can make faster decisions with confidence,” he says. “For example, when they aren’t absolutely clear on what their costs are, growers may miss opportunistic windows in the grain market. But if they have accurate data in front of them quickly, they can make profitable decisions.”
According to Deardorff, the integration is an opportunity to strengthen the connection between growers and their trusted advisers, retailers and crop consultants.
“Retailers can differentiate themselves from others,” he says. “In the world of digital ag, there’s lots of common understanding. But with this offering, they’re able to clearly define cost-per-bushel at a subfield level; and they can combine precision agronomy with farm-management software to make it simpler for the grower. This enables retailers to reduce the focus on price and increase the focus on profitability for the grower.”
Kruize says he appreciates the commitment of Syngenta to supporting his relationships with growers.
“There are other companies boasting they have the best program,” Kruize says. “They go directly to farmers, but then realize it’s failing because they don’t have the support in the field. With the Premier and AgriEdge Excelsior integration, we feel completely supported to enhance our relationship with our producers and are able to bring them tools that are actually making a difference on their operations.”