Prescription For PROFITZ

Last year about this time, Jeff Nesbitt of Precision Partners, Fergus Falls, MN was feeling pretty optimistic about prospects for new clients. Retailers he talked to were truly getting a handle on the advantages of variable-rate fertilization, and they were ready to make the jump into offering the service to growers, especially in light of exorbitant fertilizer prices. His company’s program, ProfitZ Nutrients, carefully tailors variable-rate maps.

“It’s been easier for these retailers to go out and talk to the grower about a solution to expensive fertilizer, vs. ‘You just have to pay for it,'” says Nesbitt.

Indeed, the latest figures for the 2006 season are in, and growers saw significant fertilizer cost savings — to the tune of $12.12 per acre — with no negative effect on yield, thanks to ProfitZ Nutrients. Nesbitt reports that “with an average savings of $12 per acre and an average price of $7, I would be comfortable saying growers were getting a 20% to 40% return on fertilizer above the program cost.”

Amazing Acceptance

Those returns came on some 98,000 acres mapped and applied by ProfitZ dealer-users in nine states in 2006 — a total that grew from approximately 50,000 acres in 2005. Crops included corn, wheat, and malt barley.

That doubling of acreage makes sense to Nesbitt: “I really think the farmer is searching for an answer to managing the high cost of fertilizer other than just cutting the amount he puts on. The same thing is true for the retailer. He’s searching out a solution to an expensive price.

“It was in early 2005 when things started to get very expensive, and as that oil and fertilizer price has gone up, so has the acceptance and savings per acre,” he summarizes.

In June 2006, Precision Partners had 19 dealers signed on for the program, and as of early fall, the figure had risen to 30 — including five United AgriProducts (UAP) pilot locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. That’s a lot of growth in a very short period of time.

He would note that this is no “overnight” success story. His company started nearly 10 years ago, in 1997, and he chuckles, “I must have made a dent in the wall with my head after all these years,” spending many hours helping to educate both dealers and growers on the benefits of precision application. “The acceptance level for farmers is very high. When we get to sit down with a grower and show him what the potential benefit is in actual dollars per acre, he’s very interested in using ProfitZ and wants to give it a shot,” Nesbitt points out. “It’s convincing dealers that farmers want this, they’re looking for it.”

Putting Together A Program

What Precision Partners does with its ProfitZ Nutrients program is help dealers create very individualized fertilizer recommendations for growers — as well as generate the actual computer file for the variable-rate controller on an application rig, once it’s time for an application.

A Precision Partners staff member visits a dealer to train them on-site. Dealers actually have a piece of the ProfitZ software installed on their computers — which can be a laptop for work in the field, in the shop, or in a farmer’s office. That software helps users gather key agronomic data. And it’s custom-programmed with a user’s county information — such as historical remote sensing imagery. A dealer can “clip” a grower’s field from the county images.

Farmers and the dealer are looking at historical remote sensing from a field that defines yield variability. Once defined they then decide on a yield goal for the upcoming season, explains Nesbitt. The map analysis includes an economic comparison of the ProfitZ plan and the farmer’s typical fertility plan. The farmer knows he is saving costs on fertilizer before he buys ProfitZ. This approach is “very unique to us,” he adds.

Pulling together dealers and farmers to “do the agronomy” is key. “We often go out and talk to the farmers with the dealer to help get the process started,” he explains. “We have a strong philosophy of “training by doing” when helping dealers learn this product.”

Field data and yield plans are sent to company offices for ProfitZ staff to make the final application maps.

Tweaking Needed?

Dealers often like things done faster, Nesbitt points out — so he and his staff have considered putting the application map creation capability on dealers’ software. “But the feedback they’ve given us is that they like our quality control, they like us to look at what they’ve done before we make the map. It’s an extra step to make sure the map gets made correctly, and that there aren’t any mistakes,” he says. Precision Partners guarantees a 48-hour turnaround, so dealers don’t have to wait all that long. However, the staff does meet twice a year, at the end of each season, to debrief and discuss what worked well with ProfitZ and what didn’t. They generate a “Top 5” list of improvements and work on them during the off-season. “The software and process is really driven by things the customer says he really would like to have,” he emphasizes. Upgrades are simple enough, done via the Web — or other ways if a customer does not use the Internet.

In another cost-saving measure, Precision Partners helps buyers use the precision equipment they may already have on hand. “About 90% of our acres are spread through a floater or applicator that’s already variable-rate or is one step from being variable-rate,” he explains. His company is a back-up source of precision hardware, if needed.

It’s all about making variable-rate fertilization as accessible and easy-to-use as possible.

Leave a Reply

Systems Management Stories
Drones-belong-in-the-hands-of-growers
Industry NewsPrecisionAg.com’s 17 Most Read Stories in 2017
December 13, 2017
Roughly speaking, we’re a little over two weeks away from blowing out the candles on 2017. It’s been a bizarre Read More
Field
Decision Support SoftwareCeres Imaging Details New Pest, Disease Detection Product for Midwest
December 12, 2017
Ceres Imaging, which provides science-backed aerial images to growers, will offer Midwestern corn and soybean farmers an early warning system Read More
Data ManagementAgritechnica 2017: Executives Discuss Europe Ag Tech Adoption
December 6, 2017
While North American growers slog through yet another season of depressed farm incomes and commodity markets, across the pond it’s Read More
Bitcoin-for-Agriculture-Source-TheJavaCoincom
Data ManagementWill Bitcoin Work in Agriculture?
December 5, 2017
If you checked the Internet lately, you’ve probably seen the words, Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. I won’t describe them in Read More
Trending Articles
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
Africa/Middle EastPERSPECTIVE: Is Bayer’s Highly Anticipated xarvio App the Next Uber for Ag?
November 22, 2017
As many of our CropLife IRON readers might know, every summer at MAGIE we award the most popular product featured Read More
Used Combine
Service ProvidersFinding New Precision Ag Opportunities in Older Equipment
November 15, 2017
Whether to buy new or used equipment has been and continues to be an important topic for growers. When it Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Spray Drift
Business ManagementProtecting Your Business with Ag Data: What Dicamba Can Teach Us (Guest Column)
November 9, 2017
All over the country, in ag communities large and small, farmers are reporting crop damage, neighbors are fighting, lawsuits and Read More
Latest News
Sentera drone
Business ManagementAgTech Conference of the South Coming to Alpharetta, GA
December 13, 2017
Tech Alpharetta, with the support of the city of Alpharetta, has announced the AgTech Conference of the South to be Read More
corn weather
Industry NewsMyriad Mobile Acquires Nebraska Ag Tech Outfit iNet Sol…
December 13, 2017
Myriad Mobile (Myriad), a full-service mobile and web application development company, today announced it has acquired Omaha-based ag technology company Read More
Drones-belong-in-the-hands-of-growers
Industry NewsPrecisionAg.com’s 17 Most Read Stories in 2017
December 13, 2017
Roughly speaking, we’re a little over two weeks away from blowing out the candles on 2017. It’s been a bizarre Read More
Farmer Advisor
Service Providers2018 Plan: Engaging the Next Generation of Ag Service P…
December 12, 2017
Here at Meister Media Worldwide (MMW) HQ we’re deep in the throes of content planning for 2018. Our rookie season Read More
Field
Decision Support SoftwareCeres Imaging Details New Pest, Disease Detection Produ…
December 12, 2017
Ceres Imaging, which provides science-backed aerial images to growers, will offer Midwestern corn and soybean farmers an early warning system Read More
Claas RTK Field base
Industry NewsCLAAS Taps Syncron for Cloud-Based Spare Parts Manageme…
December 11, 2017
Syncron, a provider of cloud-based after-sales service solutions, today announced CLAAS, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, has selected Syncron Inventory – Retail Read More
Farmer and computer
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture Writers Wanted To Join Our Team i…
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
american-robotics-Scout-Drone
DronesAmerican Robotics Unveils Fully Autonomous Drone System…
December 7, 2017
American Robotics, an industrial drone developer specializing in agricultural automation, has unveiled its flagship product Scout. It is a self-charging, Read More
Industry NewsJohn Deere Upgrades Generation 4 Display Capabilities
December 6, 2017
John Deere has introduced its latest advanced guidance and machine data sharing technology with the addition of three new AutoTrac Read More
Grower-Field-iPad-Connectivity-Photo-Credit-VLab
Business ManagementOpinion: Agtech Boom Is Yet To Come
December 6, 2017
Many agronomists, farmers, and VC groups monitoring the agtech world are proclaiming the startup boom is over. Investments are down, Read More
Data ManagementAgritechnica 2017: Executives Discuss Europe Ag Tech Ad…
December 6, 2017
While North American growers slog through yet another season of depressed farm incomes and commodity markets, across the pond it’s Read More
Bitcoin-for-Agriculture-Source-TheJavaCoincom
Data ManagementWill Bitcoin Work in Agriculture?
December 5, 2017
If you checked the Internet lately, you’ve probably seen the words, Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. I won’t describe them in Read More
Vineyard weeding Robot-Naio-Technologies
Robotics/Labor SaversRobots Are Coming for Your Crop Protection (and Other I…
December 5, 2017
The market for agricultural robotics market is small but burgeoning, and their impact is likely to be quite a bit Read More
John-Deere-Connect-Mobile
Service Providers10 New Mobile Apps for Precision Agriculture
December 5, 2017
Ag professionals continue to reap the rewards of new smartphone apps. And perhaps no segment of farming is benefitting more Read More
On-Farm-Trials-Brazil
AmericasOn-Farm Trials in Brazil: The Way to Improve Agronomic …
December 4, 2017
The idea of using on-farm trials to gather data about the performance of any crop input has been in place 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
Longford-Silt-Foam-map
Data ManagementUnderstanding Precision Farming and Soil Morphology
December 4, 2017
The USDA Soil Conservation Service, now Natural Resources Conservation Service, has been charged with creating the country’s soil survey. This Read More
Spensa platform
Industry NewsSpensa Adds TerrAvion Aerial Imagery
December 4, 2017
Spensa Technologies announces today its partnership with TerrAvion, a California-based start-up that provides aerial imagery for agriculture. As customers of Spensa Read More