Power Through Ag Uncertainty with Data-Driven Decisions

Eric Groover with iPad in a soybean field

Using data to support decisions during challenging times can help alleviate uncertainty by pinpointing inefficiencies and maximizing productivity. Photo credit: Syngenta

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If there’s ever been a time when growers are facing uncertainty, it’s now. The COVID-19 pandemic has directly impacted commodity pricing, disrupted the supply chain and exacerbated the shortage of farm labor in unprecedented ways. Yet U.S. growers have proven time and time again that they are adept at battling forces outside of their control: storms, droughts, fluctuating crop prices, and plant pathogens, just to name a few. In times like these, good decision making is more imperative than ever. Using data to support decisions during challenging times can help alleviate some of that uncertainty.

Don’t forget the big picture: It’s hard to look beyond the here and now, but growers know the importance of planning ahead, from plant to grow to harvest. Using a crop planning tool that incorporates their farms’ data helps growers evaluate what products they may want to use and if there’s a payback. They can evaluate if a certain product offers a large enough yield boost to justify its application. Some tools, like the exclusive farm management software in the AgriEdge program, can help growers play out some of those what-if scenarios, using real data to make those planning decisions.

Prepare for good, quick agronomic, and economic decisions: Growers shouldn’t neglect their long-term goals, but most operations are going to need to make drastic shifts in their short-term plans. Even with a plan, things will change. By organizing data in a way that allows them to make decisions at each point in the year, growers can drive for quicker decision making, especially when it counts.

Make every acre count: In tough times like these, growers are going to be looking at every detail of their operations, trying to determine where to make investments and where to make cuts. They should use data to identify which fields and practices are providing the best R.O.I. Potential profit measurement and monitoring at the field level can help growers zero in on specific areas of a farm where profit margins may potentially be increased.

Ask for help: A full shift to data-driven decision making can be a challenge. Tools are constantly improving, but the changes may not be intuitive. Growers should reach out to their local retailers to see what resources they have available. They can work with their agronomists and advisers to better analyze their data. Growers enrolled in the AgriEdge program have support from AgriEdge specialists who offer customized digital and agronomic assistance, and access to a full technical support team.

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