Thinking “Data First”

rhylanderThis week I spent a couple of days at the Michigan AgriBusiness Association conference in Lansing, and gave a breezy update on unmanned aerial systems. I was also able to catch a few presentations, including one by Dave Rhylander, one of Monsanto’s key leads on the FieldScripts program.

We (along with many of you) have been following the evolution of FieldScripts pretty closely over the past two years, and paid particular attention to how data was coming in after harvest.  Dave shed some light on the findings during the talk, and with me one-on-one afterward.

The biggest conclusion was one that no one would accuse of being rocket science: the recommendations Monsanto provided through FieldScripts were only as good as the data that went into the recommendation. Where robust data history existed, the FieldScripts recommendations provided measurable yield increases in the 4 to 8 bushel range.

To this end, Monsanto is adjusting the data requirements going into 2014. Participants in FieldScripts will be required to have at least three years of yield data, and in two of those years the corn yield will have had to exceed 120 bu/a. Soil sample data must have been collected on or after September 1, 2009, at a grid resolution of 3 acres or less, and to a depth of zero to 6 inches of zero to 8 inches. Measurements on specific soil nutrients and organic matter will also be required, and west of the Mississippi River, an electrical conductivity test will be a part of the testing regimen.

And after the talk, Dave reiterated what he said during the session: If you don’t have three years of data meeting their requirements, you won’t be ALLOWED to participate in FieldScripts. “Yes, that means if you started this year, the soonest you could get in on Fieldscripts is 2017,” he restated emphatically.

You do have to respect the fact that they’re not going to take your money if they’re not confident in the process working for you. But what this, and movements on other fronts in agriculture, should tell us all is, if you’re not fully engaged in collecting good, useful field data, you are at best putting yourself at a disadvantage, and at worst, in danger of being left behind.

Last fall we completed a special report on sustainability, and I was surprised at how many initiatives, led by broadly supported program Field To Market, are gaining traction within the food production channel. What virtually all of them have in common is the need for field information to verify practices and/or to show continuous improvement. Collecting good data is at the heart of it all.

The difficulty is that to collect good data, you need to be thinking about it right up front. When the spring breaks and the fields are ready for planting is not the moment to think about what equipment you’re going to use to gather planting data. When the sun is high and the corn is dry is not the time to think about yield data. Taking the time to understand the equipment, calibrate, check connections, and possibly strategize with an outside consultant or your precision equipment dealer well before it’s “go time” will be time well spent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PrecisionAg Center Stories
Tim Norris
Packing/PostharvestThink Data First: Harvest Edition
October 5, 2016
There may be no other time of the year when good data management practices are as crucial as during fall Read More
Winfield video
PrecisionAg Institute1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: WinField
September 1, 2016
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth share insights from the company’s recent Answer Tech Summit, including challenges that retailers are facing with technology Read More
Climate Corp. Video
PrecisionAg Institute1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: The Climate Corp.
September 1, 2016
The Climate Corp.’s Brandon Rinkenberger discusses why the company has developed connections with many retailers and equipment companies, and shares Read More
Marvin Stone
Excellence AwardsMarvin Stone Honored With 2016 Precision Ag Legacy Award Posthumously
August 2, 2016
Editor’s Note: The PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence program honored the class of 2016 winners during the InfoAg Conference. This year’s Read More
Trending Articles
GVM E-Series cab
Ag Tech GlobalGlobalization And Precision Agriculture
December 7, 2016
Globalization has taken on a negative connotation in some circles in the U.S. in recent months. The lightning rod for Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge, Trotter Fertilizer Form Partnership To Enhance VRT Programs
November 29, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Trotter Fertilizer, Nebraska’s foremost Read More
Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid Concept Planter
Business ManagementKinze Fights Deere, Feds To Block Release Of Trade Secrets
November 22, 2016
An antitrust lawsuit intended to block a small-scale deal between agricultural giants John Deere and Monsanto is putting an Iowa Read More
BusinessClimate Corp. Acquires European FMIS Company
November 21, 2016
Today, The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., announced the acquisition of VitalFields, a European farm management software company Read More
USDA UAV
Hort TechHigh-Tech Agriculture Continues To Reap Rewards For Farmers
November 11, 2016
Just like a smartphone helps users learn, communicate and make important decisions, smart technology — known as precision agriculture — Read More
BusinessTrimble Launches New FMIS Platform
November 7, 2016
Trimble announced today that it is consolidating three of its agriculture software products — Connected Farm, Farm Works Software and Read More
Latest News
AgBot16 Challenge
Hort TechUSDA Announces $3 Million For Agricultural Robotics Res…
December 8, 2016
The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the availability of $3 million in available funding for Read More
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
Business ManagementPrecision Farming Forecast: 4 Challenges, Opportunities…
December 7, 2016
Opportunities and challenges. They are the yin and yang of the business world. It could easily be argued that, out Read More
GVM E-Series cab
Ag Tech GlobalGlobalization And Precision Agriculture
December 7, 2016
Globalization has taken on a negative connotation in some circles in the U.S. in recent months. The lightning rod for Read More
Buhler Versatile HQ cab
BusinessThe State Of Precision Ag In 2016
December 7, 2016
There’s no denying that precision technologies and practices are more vibrant than ever. Elsewhere on this site, you will find Read More
BusinessFarmobile Details New AGCO Distribution Deal
December 6, 2016
Farmobile today announced a strategic partnership with AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment. The agreement will allow Read More
Hort TechSol Chip Launches Autonomous, Wireless Solar Tag for Sm…
December 6, 2016
Sol Chip, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) systems and energy harvesting solutions, today announced the introduction of its Read More
TechnologyAgGateway Announces 2017 Board Of Directors And Leaders…
December 2, 2016
AgGateway has announced its leadership for the coming year, including the directors of its new Strategic Board and Operational Board, Read More
DataSentera Honored With Startup Award Of 2016 By Minnesota…
December 1, 2016
The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) recently recognized Sentera as the 2016 Tekne Startup Award recipient. The MHTA Tekne Awards Read More
AGCO AgControl
TechnologyPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
December 1, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge, Trotter Fertilizer Form Partnership To En…
November 29, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Trotter Fertilizer, Nebraska’s foremost Read More
Fall corn
BusinessInsecticide of the Future? Robotic Tanks With Lasers to…
November 22, 2016
*Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Topcon X30 Console in cab
Sensors/IoTIoT The Focus Of New Topcon Partnership
November 22, 2016
Topcon Agriculture and SDF plan to enter into a non-exclusive long-term partnership agreement. This latest arrangement of Topcon with a Read More
Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid Concept Planter
Business ManagementKinze Fights Deere, Feds To Block Release Of Trade Secr…
November 22, 2016
An antitrust lawsuit intended to block a small-scale deal between agricultural giants John Deere and Monsanto is putting an Iowa Read More
BusinessClimate Corp. Acquires European FMIS Company
November 21, 2016
Today, The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., announced the acquisition of VitalFields, a European farm management software company Read More
BusinessFarmobile Releases Mobile Data Visualization Dashboard
November 17, 2016
Farmobile today announced an EFR Dashboard, a real-time dashboard that helps farmers visualize their field data and derive insights to Read More
Southern States
Best PracticesSouthern States: 5 Tips for Variable-Rate Seeding Succe…
November 15, 2016
Success comes from taking advantage of every opportunity you can. One technique used in precision farming, called variable rate seeding, Read More
USDA UAV
Hort TechHigh-Tech Agriculture Continues To Reap Rewards For Far…
November 11, 2016
Just like a smartphone helps users learn, communicate and make important decisions, smart technology — known as precision agriculture — Read More
THRIVE
BusinessCall For Ag Tech Startups: Apply To THRIVE’s Open…
November 10, 2016
THRIVE is looking for high growth ag tech companies with an in-market solution that are positioned to scale. The top 50 Read More