Boosting Profits

In 2009, Crystal Valley Co-op, Janesville, MN, will harness precision sensor technology to open up a new 10-day application window that will boost sprayed acres up to 25% while adding a valuable new service for its customers.

Based on results from a 900-acre test program in 2008, the co-op has pre-booked an additional 5,000 corn acres for its first sprayer equipped with a GreenSeeker RT200 sensor-based variable-rate application and mapping system.

“We are adding the ‘profit’ acres by increasing sprayed acres from 18,000 to 23,000,” says Tim Danberry, sales agronomist for the co-op. Not only is the co-op spreading fixed costs over 25% more acres, it is able to charge $9.50 per acre for variable-rate sidedressing, a $3 premium compared to its normal sidedress charge. The extra income should be ample to defray the cost of the GreenSeeker RT200 system, which lists for $22,500, plus freight and installation.

If the 2009 GreenSeeker program turns out as expected, it could be expanded in the future, he adds. “If we show the benefits from GreenSeeker sensors we saw in 2008, I could see this program going to more sprayers at the co-op down the road,” he says.

The window for GreenSeeker-based sidedressing fits after the first Roundup Ready corn and soybean herbicide applications. “The machine was basically sitting at that point,” he says. “Now we have a 10- to 12-day window where the machine is putting on an extra 5,000 acres. We sell more product and keep the sprayer moving.”

Variable-Rate Value Proposition

Based on 2008 results, Danberry is telling customers they are likely to end up with an extra $20 per acre in their pockets from variable-rate sidedress nitrogen (N) savings, higher yield, or a combination of the two.

“Any time you can talk about dropping a $20 bill back in a grower’s pocket, you get his attention,” says Danberry. “That, plus the variable-rate sensor technology behind GreenSeeker, made selling a sidedress program relatively easy.”

Sidedressing had been far from popular in the co-op’s trade area until N costs skyrocketed. “Two to three years ago, farmers wanted simple and easy,” says Danberry. “Put my N down, plant the corn, and be done with it. With higher N prices, there is definitely a lot more interest in sidedressing.”

2008 GreenSeeker Results

Results on 900 acres in the pilot program helped the co-op and its customers gain confidence in GreenSeeker, which uses six boom-mounted sensors to assess crop vigor and adjust sidedress N rates on the go.

Danberry, working with crop consultant Bernie Paulson of McPherson Crop Management, Janesville, MN, chose fields likely to benefit from GreenSeeker-driven sidedress applications. These included fields with a history of manure applications and those with varying soil types, which can have organic matters ranging from 2% to 40% in this south central Minnesota region.

Most fields were chosen ahead of time, but others were added to the test after Danberry and Paulson, a GreenSeeker dealer, noticed N deficiency symptoms.

Across the board, the test fields, which included 80-foot non-variable-rate comparison strips, showed a positive economic response. “From a yield enhancement standpoint, we were pulling anywhere from 6.8 bushels to the biggest response of 21 bushels per acre (A),” says Danberry.

One field stood out. The 240-acre field, which had a history of cattle manure applications, had been fertilized with 120 pounds of fall N, plus cattle manure. Nevertheless, parts of the field showed N deficiency symptoms.

After getting the grower’s permission, Danberry sidedressed an average of 6.8 gallons/A of 28% N, with a range of 2 to 17 gallons/A. Four weigh-wagon yield checks across the field showed an average yield response of 14.2 bushels/A, raising the yield to 200 bushels/A.

“The application and nitrogen cost about $25 per acre, but it returned about $50 in extra yield,” says Danberry. “Normally, we would have applied 12 to 13 gallons of 28% to bring that field back. With GreenSeeker, we definitely distributed the N in the right place to maximize N efficiency and maximize yield.”

Long-Term Opportunities

Danberry and Paulson expect GreenSeeker technology to offer additional opportunities beyond sidedress N application.

For example, Danberry thinks GreenSeeker could be used to drive variable-rate fungicide applications in soybeans. In areas with poor crop vigor, fungicide could be eliminated, while in more vigorous parts of fields, the rate could be increased to the label maximum. “I see some interesting possibilities,” he says.

Paulson, who has several clients who use Crystal Valley application services, says the technology will help him improve scouting efficiency.

“We hope to use the system to create crop vigor maps any time the GreenSeeker rig goes over a field,” he says. “If we identify low-vigor areas during a planned sprayer application, we can pinpoint areas for follow-up ground scouting.”

In the end, providing GreenSeeker technology strengthens the co-op’s reputation, adds Danberry. “By offering this sensor technology, our customers see we are working to improve their bottom lines, not just sell them product. So it’s a win-win.”

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Greenhouse Gas Reductions
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview, WA Facility
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Trending Articles
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Latest News
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsNY Times: Bayer-Monsanto a Bad Deal for Farmers
September 15, 2016
Via NY Times: Don Halcomb, a 63-year-old farmer in Adairville, KY, is expecting his profit to vanish this year, largely Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Merger Creates New Global Ag Giant
September 14, 2016
During the whole of 2016, many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry have concluded the best Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More