Prices are down yet input costs remain high. Profit management has become increasingly important for every grower. But there are variables in agriculture which we cannot control that cause never-ending challenges to this ever important task. This is especially true when the largest yield limiting factor, water, or the lack of water, is vastly controlled by weather. At CropMetrics, we are aggressively developing new technology to attack the challenge of managing the growers most valuable resource, water. This year CropMetrics is revolutionizing water management with a new cloud-based platform called Virtual Optimizer (VO) Pro.
VO Pro begins by approaching the first hurdle most common with many aspects of agriculture today — the integration of multiple variables, that each provide important decision making information. To achieve accurate irrigation scheduling that increases water use efficiency and improves yield, growers must attempt to gather data generated from multiple sources. These may include, but not limited to: weather forecasts, soil moisture measurements, and crop water use. But without integration, it is often difficult to utilize all of these important variables because they are each delivered to different locations, in various formats, and do not work with one another. This was a challenge until VO Pro! The integration that brings all of your most important irrigation scheduling tools into one platform is the first step to a successful systems approach to irrigation management.
VO Pro integrates real-time hyper-local weather data to generate a Field Specific Forecast. Now tie that in with a dynamic crop modeling system that will adjust as weather affects changes to your crop growth stages. This unique crop model is different than any other in the industry as it allows you to adjust the crop growth stage to customize each field to actual ground truthing. With all this data collected in real-time, we are generating a precise Crop and Field Specific Irrigation Forecast!! Aside from the first two variables mentioned above, VO then accounts for both water use above the soil profile measured by ET, as well as water use in the soil profile. But now you may ask, “Do I need a soil moisture probe for that”? No. VO Pro is an irrigation scheduling and monitoring system that is designed to work with or without a probe! However, we highly recommend the use of a moisture probe for several reasons. The weather monitoring system does take into account rainfall, humidity, ET, and GDU, but it is difficult to accurately estimate true root development and true water utilization throughout the soil profile. A precision placed probe will provide a clear picture of how the root zone of each crop and/or each field is developing. Knowing real-time root depth and water use, VO Pro will then calculate required changes in the irrigation forecast; including irrigation timing and application amounts. This will build assurance into your irrigation scheduling decisions, while preventing over watering and nutrient loss. But most importantly, it will help you better manage your profit margins by increasing the ability to maximize yield through water and nutrient optimization.
Let’s be honest, haven’t most of these capabilities been guess work in the past? Of course it has! And you have records to prove it, right? Did we mention that all of this information is documented and stored in the VO cloud on a year to year basis to provide an incredible irrigation reporting system! VO Pro provides the tools and information we need to make irrigation less stressful and more profitable. It ultimately brings all the tools and information together in one place through integration which allows CropMetrics to deliver you the most advanced irrigation recommendation and scheduling system to date.
Do you really have the time to learn another software system? Even if it can bring you all the value we have been talking about? Maybe you could if it was in the middle of the winter, but how are you possibly going to pull that off during this busy time of the season? The answer is the CropMetrics PDS (Precision Data Specialist) Training and Support Network. The localized CropMetrics PDS Team is available to help with all aspects of our Precision Water Programs. We require that our PDS’s be trained and certified to provide the support that makes your systems profitable. Behind each PDS is a unique and unmatched training platform that every PDS has access too. These individuals are available to ensure that your VO Pro system gets up and running properly. If you are unsure of who the PDS is in your area, please contact CropMetrics and we will have a local PDS in contact with you as soon as possible.
Start your risk free 30-day trial today. If not today then for sure before irrigation season begins to experience the full value of VO Pro. For more details, and the many value added benefits (too many to list in this article) VO Pro can provide, please subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates on specific features, or go to www.virtualoptimizer.com.