The Power Of Precision

The SoilWarrior N can deliver anhydrous ammonia and liquid or dry fertilizer.
The SoilWarrior N can deliver anhydrous ammonia and liquid or dry fertilizer.

The ag retail industry is in a state of transition as farm operations continue to consolidate. Ron Farrell, a consultant with Farrell Growth Group, LLC, says that as consolidation continues, it is likely that about 20% of U.S. crop acres will be farmed by growers who will prefer to buy direct and apply their own fertilizer and crop protection products; another 20% of the acres will be smaller farms where the operator is also employed off-farm and will require additional support services from their farm supplier; and the remaining 60% will be farmed by growers looking for more sophisticated risk management and precision agriculture services from their ag retailers.

Recent surveys have found that more than 80% of ag retailers see their grower-customers doing more precision agriculture in the next five years. “As commodity prices drop to more sustainable levels, growers will focus on maximizing their return per dollar invested. Precision ag provides the best opportunity to do that,” says Farrell.

Retailers who help growers determine the most viable practices through precision ag data analysis, on-farm research and custom precision services will gain business, according to Farrell. “The ag retail industry is segmenting as quickly as farmers are consolidating. Those retailers that build up their team to be knowledgeable on all components of precision ag and on maximizing return on investment will thrive. Those that don’t will struggle to maintain business in this sector,” he says.

Besides investing in data analysis, retailers are helping growers evaluate new agronomic practices that build on precision capabilities. Custom strip tillage and fertilizer placement is a new precision offering by some ag retailers. These retailers have invested in strip tillage equipment because it fits well with their variable-rate fertilizer programs, it provides agronomic advantages and it shows their leadership in helping growers experience and evaluate new technologies.

For example, two years ago United Farmers Cooperative (UFC) in York, NE, leased a SoilWarrior strip tillage machine with a real-time kinematic (RTK) steerable fertilizer cart for research and custom application purposes. The yield advantage for strip tillage compared to no-till and conventional tillage ranged from 10 to 15 bushels per acre in the on-farm trials it conducted for customers in 2012.

Building On Precision Capabilities

“As we help our growers increase yields, we are focused on getting nutrients placed in the right location. We aren’t just applying nutrients, but placing them where they will have the greatest impact to yield and greatest economic benefit,” says Mike Zwingman, lead analyst of agronomy research for UFC. “The advancements that the SoilWarrior brings in nutrient placement can help growers advance their yields, lower their nutrient use and manage their environment better than ever before.”

Timeliness is another reason to offer custom strip tillage fertilizer application, according to Matt Richmond, Midwest regional field technology specialist with the Wilbur-Ellis Co., Onida, SD. “Farmers are covering more acres and with the planting window so short, they don’t want to be slowed down by applying fertilizer with the planter,” he says. “It also allows us to hit higher rates of fertilizer for increased corn yield goals.”

Kevin Born, CEO of Environmental Tillage Systems (ETS) says: “We are seeing more interest by ag retailers to add strip tillage with precision fertilizer application to their custom services. It dovetails with retailers’ precision ag services and it provides another revenue source. Most importantly, they are introducing growers to an innovative technology that improves yields and nutrient efficiency.”

Interest by ag retailers and large growers alike has caused ETS to build its largest SoilWarrior machine yet. The new 60-foot, 24-row SoilWarrior N simultaneously delivers anhydrous and liquid or dry fertilizer at a speed of up to eight miles per hour. Equipped with three variable-rate dry fertilizer tanks, the SoilWarrior N easily adapts to fertilizer formulation changes based on soil conditions, the calendar and comparative prices of various nutrients.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Precision AgUAS: The S Stands For Smart, Service And Sensors
May 1, 2014
The only thing occuring more rapidly than the technologies’ evolution is the clamoring to implement UAS into agriculture as soon as possible. Read More
Precision AgAg Retail: 3 Tech Trends To Watch In 2014
April 1, 2014
It's been a busy first quarter of technology developments in 2014. Here are some of the highlights, and things to watch in the months ahead. Read More
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgMaximizing Returns From Water Inputs
March 3, 2014
Irrigation manufacturers have developed some vital new technologies to fine-tune irrigation and save growers money, water, energy and labor. Read More
Todd Golly and UAVs
Precision AgReal-World UAV Experience In Agriculture
February 3, 2014
Minnesota grower Todd Golly shares his views on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Read More

Trending Articles

EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More
CropLife 10013 Key Acquisitions Pinnacle Has Made In The First Half Of 2014
May 29, 2014
The only thing that has reached a more frenzied pace than #plant14 might be the multiple acquisitions that Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has made in the first half of the year. Read More

Latest News

EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 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
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Resumes Production At Oklahoma Nitrogen C…
July 17, 2014
The company had shut down production at the Woodward, OK, facility in April to address an issue in one of the site’s boilers. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denve…
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
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybe…
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Drive To Thrive 10 Finalists Announced
July 15, 2014
Finalists are chosen based on the quality of their essays and photos depicting what makes them thrive. Read More
FertilizerHow To Minimize Phosphorus Losses In Runoff
July 15, 2014
Phosphorus losses from agricultural fields can be divided into three categories: flash losses of soluble phosphorus, slow leak losses and erosion events. Here's how to minimize losses in each instance. Read More
ManagementCalifornia Drought Threatens To Dry Up Farm Wells
July 15, 2014
Farmers hit hardest by California's drought could begin to see wells run dry next year, according to a new study by The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Read More
Precision AgPoll: Do you plan to attend this year’s InfoAg Co…
July 14, 2014
This year’s InfoAg Conference is just two weeks away. The premier event in precision agriculture takes place July 29-31 at Read More
LegislationFarm Bill Implementation Continues
July 14, 2014
The bill provides $28 billion over the next five years for conservation on private lands while streamlining several old programs and creating new ones like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Continues Expansion Of Atmore Facility
July 14, 2014
The company has improved its molten sulphur unloading system to help meet increased sulphur demand at Tiger-Sul’s Atmore, AL, facility. Read More