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

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Technology Stories
Western Canada Wheat field
DataFarmers Edge Partners With New Holland Dealer
September 28, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Mazergroup, North America’s largest Read More
A Satshot NDVIR analysis running on an iPad.
BusinessSatshot’s Landscout IOS Now API Linked With John Deere Operations Center
September 28, 2016
Satshot’s Landscout IOS mobile software is now connected with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere’s API services. Landscout Read More
Ag Drone
BusinessDroneDeploy Launches Turbo Uploader
September 27, 2016
DroneDeploy today announced a new solution that addresses drone data portability challenges in remote areas that have Internet bandwidth constraints. Read More
FUSE Farm Graphic
DataAGCO Is Founding Member Of The DKE Data-Hub Initiative
September 26, 2016
AGCO Corp., a world-leading manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has announced its participation as a founding member of the DKE Read More
Trending Articles
Ian Yule, ISPA
ResearchLeading Ag Technology Researcher Appointed ISPA President
September 26, 2016
Massey University’s Professor Ian Yule, one of the world’s leading agri-tech researchers, has been voted president of the International Society Read More
Business2016 Farm Science Review: Talkin’ New Products, Education and Big Data
September 21, 2016
The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has become an annual rite of fall for Buckeye State growers, retailers and Read More
Mitchell Technical Institute students with drone
IntegratorsMTI Precision Ag Students Use Drone Technology
September 19, 2016
After weeks of sitting in the classroom, several Mitchell Technical Institute students were able to spend a few hours outside Read More
Robotics AGCO Fendt Guide Connect
Market ImpactReport: Ag Robots And Drones May Be A $10 Billion Market By 2022
September 7, 2016
Robots and drones have begun to quietly transform many aspects of agriculture. In fact, the IDTechEx Research report on Agricultural Read More
SDWG Bret Weisenburger
BusinessMZB Technologies, Climate FieldView Announce Data Integration for 2017 Season
September 6, 2016
MZB Technologies announces a data connectivity agreement with The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., providing increased precision agriculture Read More
Deere R4023 cab
BusinessReport: Smart Agriculture Market Worth $19 Billion By 2021
September 6, 2016
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Smart Agriculture Market – With Forecast (2016-2021)” report to their offering. Read More
Latest News
BusinessFarm Bureau Insurance Services, Granular Announce Partn…
September 29, 2016
American Farm Bureau Insurance Services (AFBIS Inc.), a Managing General Agent (MGA) for Approved Insurance Providers (AIP’s), has partnered with Read More
Sentera Rise Above
BusinessRise Above Selected To Resell Sentera Solutions Through…
September 28, 2016
Sentera, LLC, a global provider of remote sensing hardware and data management solutions signs a reseller agreement with Rise Above Read More
Western Canada Wheat field
DataFarmers Edge Partners With New Holland Dealer
September 28, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Mazergroup, North America’s largest Read More
A Satshot NDVIR analysis running on an iPad.
BusinessSatshot’s Landscout IOS Now API Linked With John …
September 28, 2016
Satshot’s Landscout IOS mobile software is now connected with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere’s API services. Landscout Read More
Ag Drone
BusinessDroneDeploy Launches Turbo Uploader
September 27, 2016
DroneDeploy today announced a new solution that addresses drone data portability challenges in remote areas that have Internet bandwidth constraints. Read More
FUSE Farm Graphic
DataAGCO Is Founding Member Of The DKE Data-Hub Initiative
September 26, 2016
AGCO Corp., a world-leading manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has announced its participation as a founding member of the DKE Read More
Ian Yule, ISPA
ResearchLeading Ag Technology Researcher Appointed ISPA Preside…
September 26, 2016
Massey University’s Professor Ian Yule, one of the world’s leading agri-tech researchers, has been voted president of the International Society Read More
BusinessADAPT Conversion Toolkit Making In Roads With Equipment…
September 22, 2016
A leading group of equipment manufacturers will soon release products that greatly enhance a grower’s ability to manage data across Read More
Business2016 Farm Science Review: Talkin’ New Products, Educati…
September 21, 2016
The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has become an annual rite of fall for Buckeye State growers, retailers and Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge Awarded $6.1M Investment From Sustainable …
September 21, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has announced that it will receive $6,107,563 Read More
BusinessGMO Aphids to Battle Weeds? It’s Not as Far Fetch…
September 21, 2016
No, I am not talking about optimizing aphids for a global agricultural armageddon. That would be silly. I’m talking about Read More
Young Corn Field
Best PracticesNitrogen: The Key to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
September 20, 2016
Precision ag can play a key role in reducing agriculture’s impact on greenhouse gases by limiting the nitrogen rate. Read More
W. Wade Robey, Raven
Industry NewsRaven Adds New Director Of Engineering
September 19, 2016
W. Wade Robey, Ph.D., joined Raven Applied Technology in August 2016 as Director of Engineering. In this role, he leads Read More
Mitchell Technical Institute students with drone
IntegratorsMTI Precision Ag Students Use Drone Technology
September 19, 2016
After weeks of sitting in the classroom, several Mitchell Technical Institute students were able to spend a few hours outside Read More
BusinessOPINION: Climate Corp. is the Jewel in Bayer’s Monsanto…
September 15, 2016
PERSPECTIVE: Over the next few days and weeks in the ag media space the major players will examine this latest Read More
Sugarcane India
Market ImpactPlantations International Brings Precision Farming Tech…
September 14, 2016
Hong Kong-based plantation and farm management company Plantations International has announced it is moving its contact centre from the Indian Read More
Corn close up
Start-UpsLewis & Clark Ventures Raises $20 Million For Agric…
September 13, 2016
Lewis & Clark Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on Series A and B stage investments, has announced $20 million Read More
BusinessSentera Joins Forces With Another Drone Distributor
September 13, 2016
Sentera has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Dynamic UAV Solutions North America, LLC, a new distributor in the commercial Read More