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

Trending Articles

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
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
Crop InputsFMC Announces Cheminova Takeover
September 8, 2014
FMC Corporation today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cheminova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries. Read More
HerbicidesValent’s Fierce XLT Herbicide Receives EPA Approv…
September 8, 2014
Valent U.S.A. Corp. announced today that Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide is now federally registered for preemergence weed control in soybeans Read More
Eric SfiligojIndustry Consolidation Set To Increase Going Forward
September 8, 2014
As the agricultural marketplace moves into fall, one observer predicts the pace of consolidation will grow at all levels. Read More
LegislationCropLife America Leaders Address Regulatory Landscape, …
September 8, 2014
As CropLife America enters its 81st year, the organization’s leaders have seen another period of rapid and visible policy and public issue activity. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: Finding The Payback
September 6, 2014
Profitability in precision ag is not about any one technology, but the result of employing technology in a total system approach that is agronomically sound. Read More