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
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
Data ManagementData as Currency in Ag: We Aren’t There Yet
May 25, 2017
A hot topic in the precision ag revolution is the idea ag data will become a form of currency. Many Read More
Hagie sprayer
GuidanceWhat’s New and What’s Next from Hagie Manufacturing
May 16, 2017
Many were surprised by John Deere’s announcement last spring that it had acquired majority ownership of Hagie Manufacturing Co., a Read More
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
Ag Tech GlobalVenture Capital News: Aerial Imagery Outfit Garners $5 Mil in Series A
May 11, 2017
Ceres Imaging, an aerial spectral imagery and analytics company serving the agricultural sector, today announced it has raised a $5 Read More
Trending Articles
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision Ag Means For Growers
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More
Mung beans Australia
Ag Tech GlobalPrecision Ag in a Tough Season in Australia
May 8, 2017
This year’s summer crop season has been a tough one for most growers in Australia. Prolonged periods of high temperatures Read More
GPS, Guidance
Business ManagementPromoting Precision Agricultural Innovation in a Risk Averse Marketplace
April 24, 2017
As precision agriculture consultants we constantly are being asked our opinions on where to invest, and how to strategically invest Read More
Data ManagementInnovation Series Highlights: The Weather Company’s Rob Berglund on Cognitive Computing
April 19, 2017
Rob Berglund, global director of sales, energy and agriculture at The Weather Company, discusses IBM’s Watson and applications for advanced analytics that will fundamentally change Read More
Corn close up
Data ManagementFarmers Business Network Releases State of the Industry Style Report
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, a special research report on the state of Read More
Latest News
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
Data ManagementData as Currency in Ag: We Aren’t There Yet
May 25, 2017
A hot topic in the precision ag revolution is the idea ag data will become a form of currency. Many Read More
Ag Tech GlobalSci-Fi in Ag: The Waging War of Plant-Internet Bots
May 25, 2017
Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Hort TechThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Nematodes in cotton
Ag Tech GlobalUsing Precision Agriculture to Manage Nematodes in Braz…
May 22, 2017
As promised in my first article, this month I am writing about some technical aspects related to the use of Read More
Farmers on Tablet Photo Credit All About Food
Professionals6 Keys of Successful Precision Agriculture Tools
May 17, 2017
As precision agriculture professionals we are frequently approached by companies that wish to partner with our organization in order to Read More
Hagie sprayer
GuidanceWhat’s New and What’s Next from Hagie Manufacturing
May 16, 2017
Many were surprised by John Deere’s announcement last spring that it had acquired majority ownership of Hagie Manufacturing Co., a Read More
Hortau Irrigation Management Software
Ag Tech GlobalHortau Commemorates 15 Years in Ag Tech
May 15, 2017
Today, Hortau celebrates its 15-year anniversary as one of the pioneers in the AgTech space, according to a press release Read More
Kip Tom
Ag Tech GlobalAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
Ag Tech Global2017 International Tomato Congress Features Ag Tech Ses…
May 11, 2017
The International Tomato Congress has taken place in Mexico since 2006. In 2017 it will celebrate its twelfth year as Read More
Ag Tech GlobalVenture Capital News: Aerial Imagery Outfit Garners $5 …
May 11, 2017
Ceres Imaging, an aerial spectral imagery and analytics company serving the agricultural sector, today announced it has raised a $5 Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision Ag Mea…
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More
DronesSentera Phoenix Drone Nears Coveted 1,000 Acre Coverage…
May 11, 2017
Sentera introduces its Phoenix fixed-wing drone product line, with variants to support the precision agriculture, mapping, and public safety industries, Read More
Data ManagementClimate Adds Irrigation Data Analytics via HydroBio Acq…
May 9, 2017
Today, The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., announced the acquisition of HydroBio, an agriculture software company based in Read More
GuidanceTersus adds RTK-Based AutoSteer System to GNSS Offering…
May 8, 2017
Tersus GNSS Inc., a Chinese GNSS RTK manufacturing company, released its brand new AutoSteer solution recently. The AG960 AutoSteer System Read More
DronesAgEagle takes on the Big Boys with RX48 Fixed Wing Dron…
May 8, 2017
AgEagle Aerial Systems of Neodesha, KS, today announced a fixed wing drone for the use in precision agriculture that far Read More
Mung beans Australia
Ag Tech GlobalPrecision Ag in a Tough Season in Australia
May 8, 2017
This year’s summer crop season has been a tough one for most growers in Australia. Prolonged periods of high temperatures Read More
SDWG Bret Weisenburger
Decision Support SoftwareMZB Launching New Grid Tool, Updated Mapping Center
May 3, 2017
MZB Technologies has added an additional tool to its precision system. Known for its patented zone-based precision technology, MZB will Read More