Servi-Tech: Preseason Planning for 2018 ROI

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
-Vince Lombardi

Those words of wisdom could easily apply to the off-season blueprint followed by Dodge City, KS-based agronomy provider Servi-Tech, a 200-plus employee outfit that annually services 50 million acres of High Plains wheat, 30 million acres of corn, and six million acres of soybeans across seven states. (Editor’s Note: Servi-Tech says the 86 million acre number is not entirely accurate; our apologies on the mix-up)

Ryan Meister, who’s been at Servi-Tech since January of 2004 after graduating from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003, is currently the outfit’s Director of Technology Development. Meister says the winter months provide Servi-Tech with a much needed respite from day-to-day grower dealings, allowing the company’s agronomists to prepare themselves for a successful spring.

“We take seriously our role of advisor to growers and want to be sure we have the best understanding of products and services which go into producing a crop,” Meister says. “We participate in internal training events, as well as events produced by industry, to learn about the latest and greatest products on the market.”

Although the winter months are certainly important from a training standpoint, Meister adds that “training is really a 12-month out of the year process” but that opportunities “really tend to ramp up” around the change of the calendar and into the new year.

Setting Up for Spring

According to Meister, agronomists at Servi-Tech generally spend the first two months of the season finalizing plans for spring planting.

“At that point most of the inputs have been purchased or spoken for,” he explains. “Now we put together a plan to make sure that all of them are applied correctly when the time comes this spring. We want to make sure all the questions about which product is to be applied in what location, are answered.”

Thinking about Servi-Tech’s huge operating territory across the High Plains, that’s a lot of data, product maps, and other information layers for the agronomists to keep straight. Meister says that’s where Servi-Tech’s proprietary mobile app comes into play.

“We record that information in the Servi-Tech mobile app, which allows the agronomist and farmer to work off the same up-to-date record,” Meister says. “If a planned herbicide recommendation needs to be edited, the grower or agronomist can make the change and the record will be instantly accurate for both parties.”

Planting prescriptions, an incredibly important piece of aceing the end-of-year yield scorecard, are also managed within the app.

“Planting prescriptions are also being developed in conjunction with planned hybrid and variety placement,” he continues. “Then the agronomist will spend time with the grower making a customized planting prescription drawing from available data, along with the agronomist’s and farmer’s knowledge of each field.”

Add-On Imagery

Like any agronomic recommendation generating operation, Servi-Tech is constantly evaluating and looking at adding different data layers to ensure its spatial representation of each grower’s field is as accurate as possible.

Its in-house satellite imagery offering has just finished up its rookie campaign, and just like the NFL’s deep class of rookie running backs from this past season, it made a measurable impact.

Ryan Meister, Director of Technology, Servi-Tech (Dodge City, KS).

“We are in our second season using imagery in conjunction with our traditional consulting services. The program is called CropView,” Meister explains. “We have teamed up with TerrAvion to provide this service to our customers, and 12 to 15 images are delivered to our customers and agronomists throughout the growing season.”

For Servi-Tech’s agronomist network, the benefits are many: more efficient field scouting, first and foremost, as well as better plant stress monitoring capabilities.
“However, he adds, it still takes a knowledgeable agronomist to use the imagery and provide solutions. The imagery (itself) is great at identifying insect, fertility, disease, weed, and moisture concerns.”

Located in one of the most intensely irrigated farming regions in the Western Hemisphere, the imagery also helps Servi-Tech provide some soft services around irrigation systems.

“It can also help us find irregular irrigation patterns in a field before finding them in the yield map at the end of the season,” Meister notes.

For 2018, Servi-Tech is offering a new soil moisture probe monitoring system, TheProfiler Plus.

“This system will allow growers to monitor soil moisture at multiple locations in the field,” he explains. “Traditionally, we have monitored a single location at a time, due to the cost of the equipment, but the new systems allow for quicker installation with lower hardware costs.”

TheProfiler Plus data will aggregate with imagery from CropView, allowing growers a quick, at-a-glance dashboard view for in-season decision making.

“We bring the CropView images and TheProfiler Plus information to one website giving our growers an easy and convenient way to view their in-season data.”

ROI First

With another down year forecasted for ag commodities in 2018, Meister feels that the seemingly never-ending stretch between fall harvest and spring planting has become even more crucial for in-season success. Think Peyton Manning’s dedication to off-season film study, how it allowed him to almost anticipate how tough defenses like New England and Baltimore were going to play him.

It’s kind of like that.

“We can’t get tunnel vision chasing after high yields, but we need to be chasing high profitability,” Meister replies when asked what he’s seeing as important for his outfit in 2018. “Revenue is only one component of profitability. We need to evaluate expenses as well.”

And, as growers increasingly start exploring their options, like purchasing inputs online through FBN Direct or the new retail-powered ecommerce platform CommoditAg, Meister says it’s important to remind growers that the professional agronomist is still the original expert.

“One of the most important roles we play for the grower is laying out all the options in regards to inputs, and help search for the products which will result in the best ROI,” he argues. “Just because a neighbor has good luck with one product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right product to use for another grower. The knowledge and available technology tools of our independent agronomists help shape a customized plan for success specific to each grower, each field, and every acre.” n

(Editor’s Note: Hope everyone enjoyed the Super Bowl!)

Leave a Reply

Business Management Stories
AmericasPrecisionAg Accelerator: Examining the Business of Precision
July 31, 2018
An attentive classroom of 50 precision agriculture managers gathered in Brookings, SD, in June for the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator, Read More
AmericasValley Agronomics: A Service-First Precision Partner
July 30, 2018
“Valley Agronomics, out in the Pacific Northwest … there’s something about those guys, they just get it …” Those words, Read More
Business ManagementIowa Agtech: ‘Building the Right Connections Between the Right People at the Right Time’
July 26, 2018
Iowa agriculture is now worth more than $15 billion according to the USDA, writes Jake Slobe on For entrepreneurs Read More
Business ManagementTaking Measure of the Precision Agriculture Program: 6 Key Observations
July 12, 2018
In the overall agriculture market, the rhetoric surrounding emerging technology over the past half-decade has been nothing short of breathless. Read More
Trending Articles
1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: Simplot’s Allan Fetters
PrecisionAg InstituteOne on One With Simplot’s Allan Fetters
August 8, 2018
Allan Fetters of PrecisionAg Institute partner Simplot Grower Solutions talks about techology trends and key learnings from the recent InfoAg Conference in this exclusive interview with PrecisionAg's Paul Schrimpf. Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
August 1, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More
AmericasIntegrity Ag Group: People Over Precision
July 30, 2018
It’s not every day that this reporter walks into the office of a precision ag dealer, sits across from the Read More
Systems ManagementWhat is Digital Farming — Really?
July 24, 2018
The agricultural community has spent several years synthesizing an operational description for digital farming. In several cases, there have also Read More
Data ManagementInfoAg News: Farmobile Launches DataEngine, Streamlines DataStore Buyer Process
July 17, 2018
Busy times these days out in Leawood, KS, for ag data startup Farmobile, as they continue to – pardon the Read More
EventsHighlights from the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture
July 9, 2018
The 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture (ICPA) presented by the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA) was held in Montreal, Read More
Latest News
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in …
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Data ManagementAre You Ready for This Year’s Digital Harvest?
August 15, 2018
As the days in the Northern Hemisphere slowly get shorter, they are getting longer in the Southern Hemisphere and everywhere Read More
Industry NewsAgJunction Expands Automatic Steering Market to Smaller…
August 14, 2018
AgJunction, the autosteering company, has introduced Wheelman, a new way for farmers to automatically and accurately steer farm equipment at Read More
Precision IrrigationFertigation as a Precision Agriculture Tool
August 14, 2018
Fertigation is a fertilizer application method in which dissolved fertilizers are delivered to the crop through the irrigation system. This Read More
Events5 Reasons You Should Attend Growing Innovations
August 13, 2018
The specialty crop market is wracked by unprecedented change: labor scarcity, water shortages, pressing demands for increased quality and transparency Read More
Data Science tablet
Data ManagementMicrosoft, Agile Networks Detail Central Ohio Broadband…
August 9, 2018
Agile Networks, a leading provider of telecommunications solutions, and Microsoft Corp. has announced a new agreement to bring broadband internet Read More
AmericasIvy Tech Opens Center of Excellence to Train Tomorrow&#…
August 9, 2018
Students interested in careers in precision agriculture equipment technology or diesel technology now have the opportunity to pursue certificates, technical Read More
1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: Simplot’s Allan Fetters
PrecisionAg InstituteOne on One With Simplot’s Allan Fetters
August 8, 2018
Allan Fetters of PrecisionAg Institute partner Simplot Grower Solutions talks about techology trends and key learnings from the recent InfoAg Conference in this exclusive interview with PrecisionAg's Paul Schrimpf. Read More
Corn field sunset
Industry NewsTrimble RTX Correction Technology Now Delivers Two Cent…
August 7, 2018
Trimble has announced that its Trimble RTX GNSS corrections technology can now achieve horizontal accuracies of better than two centimeters. Read More
Sensors/IoTSentera Gimbaled Quad Sensor Optimizes Crop Health Data…
August 7, 2018
Sentera’s Quad sensor is now available in an integrated gimbal-stabilized package for DJI Inspire and Matrice drones. Featuring four fully-customizable Read More
Data ManagementPrecision Agriculture: A Smaller Approach to Big Data
August 7, 2018
Big data is one of the most buzzed-about concepts in our industry. Rarely do we read a newsletter, attend a Read More
Industry NewsAgworld, K-coe Isom Form Strategic Partnership
August 6, 2018
Agworld and K-coe Isom have announced a strategic partnership that will see them integrating business advisory and technology to deliver Read More
Industry NewsAgEagle Acquires Agribotix
August 6, 2018
AgEagle Aerial Systems has signed an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Agribotix, a Boulder, CO-based drone-enabled Read More
Systems ManagementImplementing Digital Farming’s Five Major Needs
August 2, 2018
Building a house starts with a plan and then a foundation; it does not start with doors and windows. From Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
August 1, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More
Excellence AwardsPassion for Teaching: Purdue’s Bruce Erickson
August 1, 2018
PrecisionAg Award of Excellence recipient Bruce Erickson is driven to share his knowledge of precision technologies and techniques with students, as well as the larger agriculture community. Read More
Excellence AwardsChasing the Mystery Behind Soil Variability: Newell Kit…
August 1, 2018
Newell Kitchen of the University of Missouri, recipient of the Legacy award in the 2018 PrecisionAg Award of Excellence program, has worked for decades to employ technology in unlocking the secrets hidden in farm fields. Read More