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

ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosphorus Is Leaving Fields
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
ManagementUpdates On UAV Rules & Crop Conditions
July 16, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide updates on the ongoing UAV regulations debate and how the nation’s crops are Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More