South Dakota Wheat Growers: Making Connections

Wireless Connectivity

Precision programs can only stretch as far as their own limitations, and retail cooperative South Dakota Wheat Growers (SDWG) is creating a program that pushes those limiting factors beyond their grower-customers’ expectations.
It starts with a program that fits agronomically with a wide swath of its customers, and breaks barriers by utilizing the flexibility and connectivity of cloud computing to provide open access to managers, agronomists and grower customers.

The hopeful result will be unfettered access to information and people, and effective communication that makes the crop production process as efficient as possible.

Of course, it starts with a sound agronomic program. And according to Brent Wiesenburger, Precision Ag Manager at SDWG, the proven approach in their region is zone management. SDWG has been analyzing field needs using zone sampling since 1996. “We manage nitrogen up here, so when planting a nitrogen use crop, we pull a 0 to 6-inch and 6 to 24-inch soil test, this makes grid sampling really overwhelming on the cost side when sampling every other year. Management zones have worked really well over the years.”

Last year, the cooperative took a big step forward when it acquired MZB (short for Management Zone Based) Tech­nologies based in Watertown SD. MZB Founder Glenn Hanson started MZB in 1996 as a way to develop and fine tune a zone management based program.

“Glenn developed a system of combining RTK elevation, both the shallow and deep layers of Veris data, and yield or satellite imagery data to establish high, medium and low yielding zones with turnkey software to make sound field management decisions,” says Wiesenburger. Satellite data is generally favored over yield data because so many growers are large and will run multiple combines, creating a serious data collection challenge at harvest time.

Based on these layers of data, as well as carry over nutrient levels analyzed by Agvise Labs, SDWG can manage phosphorus (P) based on the zone designation. “As you would expect, our low yielding zone 3 and 4 areas always have higher carryover levels of phosphorus, and our higher yielding zones tend to have lower level of carryover P.  This allows us to fine tune phosphorus build strategies in ways that a grid based system can’t,” says Wiesenburger.

With a clear understanding of the zones in terms of fertility and crop performance, fertilizer recommendations can be made and yield goals established for each zone in the field using the MZB system. At SDWG, that system is called MZB Tools, a program that resides on the agronomist’s computer that allows him them to bring all the data sets together for the grower and create the field recommendation.

Next: Cloud Connectivity

Taking the MZB precision program, and in reality the entire company, to the next level of efficiency and customer interaction was going to mean pushing SDWG managers, agronomists and customers into the realm of wireless connectivity and cloud computing. To get there, they turned to AgIntegrated, a State College, PA company that has developed a cloud-based connectivity and data management program called Onsite.

“Onsite is a cloud based, multi-platform service designed to manage and communicate information between software, equipment, employees, and customers, explains Mike Santostefano, marketing director of AgIntegrated.
With retailers juggling more and more data through disconnected software and equipment, there is a need for a solution to help connect these systems and to improve the efficiency of the people who interact with them, he says.

“Onsite provides a solution to this challenge. Onsite is a cloud solution to help manage and communicate information across any software, equipment and most importantly, the individuals that use the information to make decisions and complete tasks. Instead of adding another disconnected system into the mix for retailers that increases their staff’s time commitments, On­site’s primary goal is to compliment and connect their existing software and equipment.

With Onsite integrated into the system, the agronomist using MZB will now be able to create fertilizer and seed recommendations, then send the controller file and recommendation report to the SDWG operator and/or directly to the grower. The operator or grower can then transfer the controller file to a USB drive or compact flash card. 

Mixed fleet telematics is also an important part of the program. Pre­scription files can be sent from any precision ag software to any brand of equipment and transfer as applied or yield data back to any precision ag software. Files can also be sent to and from equipment telematics systems such as Raven’s Slingshot, and others as well when they become available. Individuals that are not equipped with equipment telematics system can utilize wireless capabilities of Onsite Relay, which utilizes smartphones and tablets in the field.

The system will also offer a mobile app capable of tracking assets through smartphone or tablet’s GPS and allow the setting up of geofences to generate an alert when an operator crosses a boundary. It works for managers or growers — a grower can be alerted when an applicator accesses their field.

Finally, Onsite will allow file management in the cloud, so information can be disseminated efficiently, data can be stored safely and securely and agronomists can have full access to sales, marketing and customer information from anywhere. 

The new, supercharged MZB program is rolling out in four locations this fall and winter, and Wiesenburger is excited about the potential. “We’ve had the software and the precision program, all we needed was the Onsite connectivity,” he says. “Everyone is waiting for this to get going.”

Leave a Reply

CropLife 100 Stories
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denver
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Acquire Illinois River Energy Ethanol Plant
May 1, 2014
CHS has signed an agreement with Sinav Ltd. to acquire 100% of the company's stock, which includes Illinois River Energy, a 133-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant at Rochelle, IL. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More
StewardshipCould Australian Water Trading Approach Fit In Californ…
May 18, 2015
Ten years of drought isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help the bottom line of farmers or the health of Read More
SpreadersDutch Sprayer Manufacturer To Enter U.S. Market
May 18, 2015
Dutch self-propelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac Machinery has announced intentions to enter the U.S. market with two models of sprayers available Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
ManagementA Visit To The 2015 Environmental Respect Spirit Award …
May 14, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a recent visit to the CPS Spirit winner in St. Stephen’s Church, Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee …
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Crop InputsKansas State Researchers Announce Resistant Kochia Brea…
May 13, 2015
Kansas State University researchers say new research helps explain why an invasive weed is developing resistance to a well-known herbicide, Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
HerbicidesUSDA Study: Glyphosate Application More Prevalent In So…
May 13, 2015
Glyphosate—known by many trade names, including Roundup—has been the most widely used pesticide in the United States since 2001. It Read More
AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant J…
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unificati…
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More