Agtegra Cooperative’s Andrew Kappes has two pieces of advice for precision farming-focused ag service providers: Take a team-first approach, and become that grower’s trusted advisor.
Kappes, along with farmer-customer Joel Erickson and Agtegra Precision Ag Specialist Dustin Christofferson will be presenting at the first-ever PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development event, June 26-28 on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings.
“There are no handouts out here,” he advises on a snowy, early-April morning from his office in Langford, SD. “If we want them (growers) to adopt we’ve got to be able to show them why the technology is very, very valuable.”
Kappes, alongside Dustin and the precision hardware team, provide service and advice on a largely traditional corn-soybean rotation customer base. He estimates the smallest operation he calls on is around 600 acres and the largest just over 10,000, while close to 80% of his total customer base buys into its precision ag program at some level.
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“And then within that group (of 80%) I’ve got even more advanced farmers that just push, push, and push, and are just really receptive,” he clarifies. “I’d say the base fundamental that we use with all of our farmers is the former MZB platform now known as FieldReveal.”
Kappes says that the FieldReveal leverages three data layers – satellite imagery, Veris soil conductivity data (Electro Conductivity), and elevation – to create up to 12 different management zones in each field he helps a grower manage. Then, with data in hand, it’s all about matching the recommendations of the trusted advisor with the knowledge and experience of the farmer. “The base fundamental that anyone can do is develop trust between the producer and yourself,” says Kappes.
From there, Kappes and his team circle up with growers, setting up yield goals for the year (in both normal and abnormal weather conditions — his trade area is in the midst of a three year moisture deficit) with a little help from a couple other industry tools, WinField’s United’s R7 and Climate Corp.’s FieldView Pro.
So, what skill sets does he find crucial for success as a member of the AgTegra team? “You know, with all of these different monitors and technologies these days you have to be a jack-of-all-trades. You have to know how to run all different types of monitors along with the precision platforms to help generate the most ROI.
“There is a lot of stuff coming out these days,” he continues. “You have to be able to show the grower what’s worth it and what’s not. You want that trust between you and them, and there has to be a team approach.”
To learn more about how Kappes and his team have found success working hand-in-glove with growers on their precision ag technology implementation, be sure to attend the PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator, June 26-28 in Brookings, SD, on the South Dakota State University campus.