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

ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center, and Bayer-Monsanto Sell-Off News
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applicators
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterways Infrastructure
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Wheat Growers
UncategorizedWheat Growers Names Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice Presiden…
June 12, 2017
Wheat Growers has hired Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice President of Agronomy. Linbo joins Wheat Growers after having served 10 Read More
EquipmentAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Central Valley Ag Randolph, NE
Precision AgLand O’Lakes Invests in EFC Systems
June 12, 2017
Land O’Lakes, Inc. has made a minority equity investment in EFC Systems, Inc., an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and precision Read More
BRANDT
Crop InputsBRANDT Products Approved for Use with New Cropping Syst…
June 12, 2017
BRANDT, a leading manufacturer of specialty products for the agriculture and turf markets, has announced that 11 BRANDT formulations have Read More