How One Crop Advisor is Using Software to Improve Precision Ag Planning for Farmers
While some farmers and crop advisors are new to the power of data-driven decision making, Amy Gardner has been a convert for many years.
The U.S. agronomy coach has the luxury of reviewing up to 10 years of historical data on some of her customers’ fields. This depth of information can be a powerful thing, she says — enough to take the concept of ‘precision ag’ to a whole new level.
“My goal is not just to help farmers grow crops, but to grow profitable ones,” says the Kalispell, Montana-based crop advisor. “If we aren’t able to look back at the end of year and evaluate our profitability — by crop, by field, and by zone — we’re missing a step. That’s an important piece of the puzzle and something I can do in Trimble Ag Software. I can evaluate and help us make the best decision for the next growing season.”
According to Gardner, who manages her customers’ data using Trimble Ag Software’s Advisor Prime, having access to centralized, organized, and accessible customer data around the clock is vital. What’s even better? Ensuring that the farmers you work with are using the same software platform so you can easily sync and share data in real time, without any USB hassles.
“It’s great to have all the information in one location and be able to look at trends,” says Gardner. “I’ve seen a big increase in the amount of data being captured since the mobile app was released. Farmers can plug in data about an application right when they’re in the field, sync it back and forth, and I have the ability to quickly email scouting reports at the end of the day, or upload the fertilizer applications right into the mobile app.”
“I can’t imagine life without the mobile app any more!”
— Amy Gardner
Enhance Precision Ag Support for Farmers
“Then after the application goes down we can compare it to yield data and analyze our return on investment of those applications,” she explains. “This is where we can see how we might change them the following year. Rather than trying to guess, we can dig into each area of a field and understand our result and look at why it is.”
Gardner recalls a recent example where, with the help of Trimble’s Soil Information System (SIS), she helped a client realize significant cost savings through the use of variable-rate lime application maps.
“Lime in our geography is expensive so determining exactly where and how much lime is required is crucial,” she explains. “Using SIS data, combined with in-season imagery maps, ground truthing, and soil sampling, allowed me to program a VR lime application on a 200-acre field that saved the grower $28,600, versus a flat-rate application. A previous VR application saved twice that.”
Mobile Capabilities Save Time, Reduce Stress
When asked what she likes best about Trimble Ag Software, Gardner doesn’t hesitate in her enthusiastic reply: “I can’t imagine life without the mobile app any more!”
She recalls printing off and labelling Google Earth maps during her early days working as a crop advisor, and says things have changed a lot. “Now I have the mobile app to navigate, drop benchmark points, do soil sampling.”
“It’s also important for the growers to be able to see what I’m doing, and I see what they’re doing — it definitely improves the communication,” Gardner adds. “That quick transfer of data as we’re in the midst of heavy work flow has just been incredible. And that’s probably the one comment I hear most from growers – is the ease of being able to input their data on the go, rather than spend hours in the office at the end of the day.”
Ready to get started reaping the benefits of Advisor Prime today? Check out this video for a quick overview, or sign up for a free demo!