Ohio Farmer Gets Big Value From Precision Program

Ohio grower Michael Scherger (left) with his local Sunrise Co-op agronomy representative Mike Burkholder.
Ohio grower Michael Scherger (left) with his local Sunrise Co-op agronomy representative Mike Burkholder.

Michael Scherger, of Scherger Farms, Inc., began collecting yield data in 2002, when he and his partners first purchased monitors for their corn, soybean and wheat combines. The fifth-generation northwest OH grower initially adopted precision ag to make seeding decisions for the farm’s 5,000 acres, but has embraced it for much, much more during the past 13 years.

“From straight grid sampling, we’ve evolved to making variable rate potash and MAP prescriptions and now variable rate seeding,” says Scherger, who farms with his father Patrick and brothers-in-law Brian Brickner and Nick Kelbley. “Precision farming has definitely decreased our input costs, particularly for seed and fertility.”

Just as importantly, precision ag has helped Scherger expand a sideline tiling business he offers for area growers. “We can take yield maps and show the benefits of tiled ground to potential customers,” he adds. “In addition, we can show cash renters or landlords how tile can improve the productivity of their soils in a big way.”

When corn was $6 a bushel, Scherger showed his landlords they could pay for the tile in a matter of five years. “On our personal ground, we’ve increased productivity from 40 to 80 bushels in a two-year span,” he adds. “Without precision ag technology, this would be hard to prove.”

A Good Team: Sunrise and MapShots

Though Scherger works with Sunrise Co-op to handle his precision ag data, he has used MapShots software in his operation as well. Now that MapShots AgStudio PRO platform is available, Sunrise collects and stores data for Scherger and both can easily access the information online. His agronomy representative, Mike Burkholder, contacts the farm at least once a week during the growing season, but they also view data remotely, whenever necessary.

“I used to collect information and store it for my growers to help me sell seed,” explains Burkholder, who started with Sunrise eight years ago. “But having that information in AgStudio, I’m able to use the multi-aerial views and the analysis tools to work up zones and recommendations that we’d never dreamed of doing before. It’s put my growers about three years ahead of the curve.”

Burkholder works directly with AgStudio on about 20,000 acres of farmland in northern OH. He uses the platform for variable rate seeding, fertility, nitrogen and, soon, micronutrient recommendations. “With AgStudio, our growers don’t have to make decisions while driving the planters or tractors – they can make them in the winter by looking on the computer,” he notes. “We can vary it down to a 30 x 30 foot section. It’s not practical to go much smaller. We figure half a planter is a good grid size.”

Monitoring Data to Cut Costs

Scherger selects soybean varieties by conducting on-farm test plots and monitoring yield data. He generally grows Asgrow, Croplan and NK varieties, cutting seeding costs and maintaining yield goals by following precision ag prescriptions.

“I have AgStudio Select on my iPad so I can share data with my landlords and cash renters,” says Scherger. “My landlords are all very hands-on and know their farms well. They like to be included in production decisions — and the maps help me show them how I’m managing their acreage.”

He also uses AgStudio to fill outmpaperwork for the next Farm Bill. “AgStudio is a lot more farmer-friendly and easy to navigate than our previous platform,” he notes. “Sharing data with Sunrise is a big benefit – we can look at the same data but never leave our own offices. ”

Recently, Scherger visited the State House in Columbus and used his precision ag data to demonstrate to legislators how farmers are helping to combat the Lake Erie algae bloom.

“I used AgStudio to show we have filter strips along our creeks and have taken steps for the last six years to grid our acres and follow phosphorus prescriptions,” he adds. “It really helps us tell our story.”

Leave a Reply

Business Management Stories
computer-in-field
Business Management3 Questions to Ask When Looking for Your First Job in Precision Agriculture
June 18, 2018
Let me begin this column by extending my congratulations to all of my fellow students who have just graduated – Read More
Grower-Laptop
Business ManagementOpinion: Stumpin’ for Rural Broadband
April 30, 2018
In 1936, deep in the throes of the Great Depression, the federal government moved forward with an initiative that would Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Trending Articles
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportunities
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
InfoAg ConferenceThe InfoAg Conference Offers Early Bird Registration Discount
May 24, 2018
Since 1995, The InfoAg Conference has been the premier event for discussion and advancement of precision agriculture. The event, organized Read More
Ernie-Chappell-Screenshot
EventsEFC Systems Sponsorship Demonstrates Commitment to Continuing Education for Retail Dealerships
May 16, 2018
Enterprise software manufacturer EFC Systems, scholarship sponsor of the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development conference this June in Brookings, Read More
EventsMeister Media Debuts Growing Innovations
May 10, 2018
As a service provider, you and your grower customers probably can agree on this much: While innovation abounds in agriculture, Read More
UCANR_booth_Food_IT_forum
EventsForum Calling All Innovators of Agriculture Technology
May 2, 2018
The challenges that come with feeding the world continue to grow. Luckily, so do advances in information technology that are Read More
Latest News
Imagery/SensingIntelinAir, TerrAvion Partner on Ultra High Resolution …
June 21, 2018
IntelinAir has partnered with TerrAvion to deliver what it is calling a “best in class imagery solution” to joint customers Read More
Industry NewsRaven Launching CR12 Field Computer in Europe this Week
June 19, 2018
Raven Industries announced the release of a new, larger field computer: the CR12. Utilizing the same functionality as the CR7 Read More
dropcopter
DronesNew York Apple Orchard Claims World First in Pollinatio…
June 18, 2018
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette, NY, is the first orchard in the world to use drones to pollinate Read More
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareAgrian Enhances Field Scouting App
June 18, 2018
Agrian has added a new feature to its robust field scouting app – a pest trap counting solution. The new Read More
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2…
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
Iron Man
UncategorizedAgFunder News: Forget Self-Driving Tractors; Agricultur…
June 18, 2018
Marvel’s Iron Man suit might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for growers, writes Joseph Byrum on AgFunderNews.com. Once the Read More
Soil-Corn-plants-field
Data ManagementRemote Soil-Sensed Management Zones Help Increase Crop …
June 18, 2018
Accurate prescription maps are essential for effective variable rate technology (VRT) fertilizer application. Grid soil sampling is frequently used to Read More
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportu…
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
computer-in-field
Business Management3 Questions to Ask When Looking for Your First Job in P…
June 18, 2018
Let me begin this column by extending my congratulations to all of my fellow students who have just graduated – Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s D…
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&…
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Ag Drone
EventsAgTech Conference of the South Dedicated to Innovation,…
June 12, 2018
Join current and emerging agtech business leaders and investors at the AgTech Conference of the South, a premiere conference dedicated Read More
Munckhof Machinefabriek equipment
EuropeEurope: Precision Farming at Heart of Munckhof Deal
June 11, 2018
One of Europe’s oldest suppliers of machinery used in fruit production, the Dutch firm Munckhof Machinefabriek, has been purchased by Read More
Australian-Farmers
Australia/New ZealandCrunching the Ag-Tech Numbers Saves Time for Australian…
June 5, 2018
Time management is key on the Walker family’s farm, where a mix between cropping, commercial sheep and two studs means Read More
Drone-exhbitor-at-Drone-Show
AmericasDroneShow Highlights UAV Technology in Latin America
June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: The DroneShow Latin America is an annual trade fair hosted by MundoGEO, a media and communications company founded Read More
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Time for a Reality Check
June 4, 2018
Where do I begin….I’ve been dealing with imagery in agriculture since I was 10 when my dad started Satshot. At Read More
AmericasNAAA Issues Drone Pilot Reminder: Watch Out For Aerial …
May 31, 2018
With more than 1 million UAVs registered with the FAA, it is vitally important for UAV operators to be aware Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key t…
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More