Grower and Precision Ag Services: Opportunities Lost

I often spend time with growers, talking about their operations, and the processes they go through each season to do what they do on the farm.

Reflecting on the content of these discussions, it’s obvious to me that the volume of data being collected by producers that ends up either completely unused, or seriously underused, is even larger than I once thought.

As an industry, we continue the push to get growers to invest in more and more technology — technology that is capturing valuable data about what’s happening in producer fields. However, it’s clear to me that this data is not only being allowed to lay fallow, but the level of apathy among producers about ever being able to realize the promise these technologies are supposed to deliver is growing.

That’s disappointing. The best quote I heard from recent discussions was this: “I’ve collected yield data for 12 years and planting data for six, but still don’t think the data has brought me any value!”

Service providers today have the ability to access more data than ever before to help producers make data-driven decisions. Every grower I meet with is asked the same question: “If your data identified changes in your operation that could increase efficiency or increase profitability, would you make the change? “Eight out of nine growers said “YES!”

So, why is data not being used today? Reading between the lines of producer comments, and based on my own experience, these are the top four reasons:

  1. Data is too difficult or complicated.
  2. It takes too much time or effort to incorporate data.
  3. There’s no understanding of where to begin.
  4. And in some cases, people aren’t even sure where “their data” exists for them to get it.

Topping it all off, producers see in the agricultural press all the time where massive amounts of money are changing hands in the name of bringing innovation to agriculture. But somehow, it never ever seems to impact a producer’s operation to the extent it helps them, the producer, to be more successful.

Someone, somewhere else it seems, is benefiting from these headline-making transactions. This adds to this apathy and feeling of helplessness so many of these producers I visit with are able to articulate.

What’s Next?

So what is the future for producers and their use of data technology?

One thing is certain: producers will have many opportunities to continue to invest in new hardware and data systems in the future. These systems will likely continue to ingest increasingly large amounts of data coming from the farm. Sometimes it will be with the assistance of the producer while at other times, it will occur in spite of the producer. It’s likely in the future these “systems” will, in fact, know more and more about a producer’s operation, putting these “systems” in a position to generate revenue in many different ways.

Some will get better at making farm information visible to the producer. But if past experience is any guide, producers will be left to themselves to figure out what to do ­if anything — with what these “systems” tell them.

This recent round of visits with producers confirms one thing: there is opportunity for those who want to help producers be more successful, not only by selling a gallon, ton, or bag of something that someone else manufactures, but by demonstrating real, sincere commitment to creating value for the producer by supporting their decision-making processes.

The service provider of tomorrow will find ways to offer more consultative-type services to growers. And I would argue that growers today have the data to begin to analyze their operations to bring greater profitability and/or efficiencies.

So, what’s the first step in this process? Go talk to your growers and find those who are wanting to take a deeper look into the data they have collected. It’s likely to be an interesting conversation.

Leave a Reply

Grower Services & Solutions Stories
AmericasPrecision Farming Companies to Watch in 2018 (OPINION)
January 17, 2018
My friends, as many of you told me repeatedly throughout the last 12 months, 2017 was an interesting year in Read More
Corn-Planter
Grower Services & SolutionsCorn Planter: The Train of Consequences
January 11, 2018
It’s always planter season in our shop but now that harvest is done the corn planter is the next piece Read More
Agrible
Grower Services & SolutionsAgrible to Launch Retailer Services in 2018
January 9, 2018
It’s a new year, which means new market challenges. Full service retailers are searching for ways to differentiate themselves and Read More
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareClimate Adds New Features, Restructures FieldView Pricing
August 30, 2017
The Climate Corp. announced at Farm Progress Show the addition of new features and data connectivity enhancements for the 2018 Read More
Trending Articles
John-Deere-Cab-GPS
Data ManagementPrecision Ag Hardware and Software: A Little Off-Season Maintenance Goes A Long Way
January 11, 2018
All service technicians have heard this line. Most often when spring makes its anticipated return to our lives. It is Read More
Anez-Consulting-Paul-Anez-and-Michael-Dunn
Service ProvidersAnez Consulting: Focus On Fertility
January 9, 2018
Central Minnesota features variability aplenty when it comes to soil characteristics and topography, from flat, black expanses rich in organic Read More
Agrishow2017
Americas5 Best Ag Tech Shows in Brazil
January 8, 2018
Brazil continues to demonstrate its potential in agriculture. Several international companies are investing in our country because we have a Read More
Farmer and computer
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture Writers Wanted To Join Our Team in 2018
December 10, 2017
About The Opportunity: PrecisionAg.com is looking for people to join our team in 2018 and submit original content to our Read More
Harvested-Corn-Field-Clouds
Data ManagementWeather Services Advance Precision Agriculture
December 4, 2017
Some estimates suggest over half of growers’ activities are impacted by weather conditions, from field workability to fertility management to harvest Read More
Wheat-an-oats-Daniel-X-ONeil
Data ManagementWill Open-Source Finally Unlock Ag Technology’s Potential?
November 28, 2017
To Aaron Ault’s eyes, ag technology right now is something like a walled garden — not unlike the Microsoft of Read More
Latest News
Lee_Brittany
Specialty CropsFlorida Blue Farms Digging Data for Savings and Profit
January 17, 2018
Brittany Lee is no stranger to land management, writes Frank Giles on GrowingProduce.com. She grew up around it, observing her parents Read More
AmericasPrecision Farming Companies to Watch in 2018 (OPINION)
January 17, 2018
My friends, as many of you told me repeatedly throughout the last 12 months, 2017 was an interesting year in Read More
farmer-tractor-ipad
Data ManagementThe Era of Digital Agriculture: Opportunities and Chall…
January 17, 2018
The digital revolution is changing the way agriculture is done. Rapid population growth, changes in market demands, depleting agricultural land, Read More
Data ManagementBlockchain: Making Data Cleaner, More Secure
January 16, 2018
Probably most professionals who deal with business data have at least heard the term “blockchain” bantered about as potentially the Read More
Soybean-field-clouds-Photo-courtesy-of-Earl-R-Shumaker
Data ManagementBetting on Rain? The Accuracy and Reliability of Precip…
January 16, 2018
For you sports junkies out there, if I could prove to you that I can correctly predict winners and losers Read More
center-pivot-irrigation-drop-sprinklers-on-corn
Precision IrrigationFinding Your Precision Ag Mindset
January 15, 2018
A precision mindset is the most important requirement for successful precision ag technology adoption. One of my first VRI (variable Read More
Drone-and-operator-Photo-courtesy-of-Kray-Technologies
DronesCrop Protection Application by Drone: A Q&A with Kr…
January 15, 2018
January is a busy month for agricultural companies. It’s a month that strong sales can set the mood for the Read More
Data ManagementAgGateway Grain Traceability Proof-of-Concept Seeks Ind…
January 15, 2018
AgGateway’s Precision Agriculture and Grain & Feed councils have issued a call for participation for a proof-of-concept initiative in AgGateway’s Read More
John-Deere-Cab-GPS
Data ManagementPrecision Ag Hardware and Software: A Little Off-Season…
January 11, 2018
All service technicians have heard this line. Most often when spring makes its anticipated return to our lives. It is Read More
Corn-Planter
Grower Services & SolutionsCorn Planter: The Train of Consequences
January 11, 2018
It’s always planter season in our shop but now that harvest is done the corn planter is the next piece Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversSmart Ag Announces Driverless Tractor Automation Platfo…
January 11, 2018
An Iowa technology company has unlocked the tremendous potential for automation in agriculture by developing the first cloud-based platform for Read More
Anez-Consulting-Paul-Anez-and-Michael-Dunn
Service ProvidersAnez Consulting: Focus On Fertility
January 9, 2018
Central Minnesota features variability aplenty when it comes to soil characteristics and topography, from flat, black expanses rich in organic Read More
Agrible
Grower Services & SolutionsAgrible to Launch Retailer Services in 2018
January 9, 2018
It’s a new year, which means new market challenges. Full service retailers are searching for ways to differentiate themselves and Read More
jeremy-speaking
Grower Services & SolutionsGrower and Precision Ag Services: Opportunities Lost
January 9, 2018
I often spend time with growers, talking about their operations, and the processes they go through each season to do Read More
Winters-Farming-farm-manager-Alex-Bergwerff-and-Ranch-Systems-marketing-and-business-development-manager-Hylon-Kaufmann
Precision IrrigationInside California Irrigation: Winters Farming
January 9, 2018
As many of us already know, almonds tend to get a bad rap for their water-use efficiency — or some Read More
Sentera software
DronesSentera Offering Elevation Data Mapping Via AgVault
January 9, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of elevation maps within the Sentera AgVault platform, offering agronomists, crop consultants, and growers additional field Read More
Industry NewsRaven, South Dakota State University Link Up: What You …
January 9, 2018
On Tuesday afternoon Raven and South Dakota State University (SDSU) held a press conference on the SDSU campus in Sioux Read More
Agrishow2017
Americas5 Best Ag Tech Shows in Brazil
January 8, 2018
Brazil continues to demonstrate its potential in agriculture. Several international companies are investing in our country because we have a Read More