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 100Map: Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings Acquisitions In 2014
May 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings continues to expand its agricultural retail distribution business through these key acquisitions in 2014. Read More

Top 100 Articles

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Avoid Aphid Infestation In Winter Wheat
December 10, 2014
The best strategy for managing aphid infestations in winter wheat — and the potential yellow dwarf diseases that they transmit — is prevention, according to a South Dakota State University Plant Pathology field specialist. Read More
LegislationDufault Installed As New ARA Chair
December 10, 2014
Dave Dufault, Vice President and General Manager of J.R. Simplot Company's Retail Business, was installed as the 2015 Chairman of the Board for ARA on December 4. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
December 10, 2014
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