N-Insights: A Grower-Retailer Conversation Starter

A sample report from Agronomic Technology Corp.'s N-Insight application.
A sample report from Agronomic Technology Corp.’s N-Insight application.

The folks behind popular nitrogen modeling software ADAPT-N have announced the release of yet another simulation application around nitrogen removal rates: N-Insight.

According to Agronomic Technology Corporation (ATC) CEO Steve Sibulkin, the program is being used by ag retailers to “spark the conversation” around a growers nitrogen needs by looking at the element in two way: by showing growers how much money they are potentially leaving in the field by under or over applying in certain areas; and showing quantified nitrogen loss throughout the season.

N-Insight also provides a 5-year retrospective view that utilizes real field weather, soil and field management information with reports that can be created in just about one minute. It provides a simple method of comparing field management alternatives.

“This is a situation where the output of one model – in this case ADAPT-N – becomes the input into another model,” says Sibulkin. “The tradeoff (between the two) is robustness versus simplicity. In the case of Insights we want simplicity.”

The company is offering a free trial program for the 2016 season, beginning June 27, where it will give away five free field reports per day. Retail agronomists, ag retailers and their technology providers are all the primary target, according to Sibulkin.

“We developed N-Insights to fill that ‘conversation starter’ gap that we felt existed between retailers and growers,” he explains. “This is just a very simple way for an agronomist to pick a field, have the grower answer a simple page of questions revolving around different in-field scenarios, and within one minute it generates a five-tier nitrogen recommendation.

Statistics indicate that on average 40-50% of applied nitrogen is lost, but very few growers know their actual number, did they lose 20% or 30% this year, or maybe more? Now the retail agronomists can come in and use the data to appropriately sell and recommend different products or application methods.”

And of course, anytime a new technology comes along that allows for more precisely stewarded fertilizer applications, it provides value to the retail chain in helping demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, Sibulkin claims.

“We always have to do both – in retail you have to be compelling and profitable for the growers, while staying environmentally sustainable…just adding any level of visibility, which is what we’re doing with the data and Insights, creates more financial value: very expensive fertilizer is the largest variable cost for a corn grower, but half of that is often lost, so the more of it that ends up in the crop the better, and the less of it that is lost as potent greenhouse gas or leeches into the water, the better there as well.

“We have an Enterprise Version of N-Insight that we deploy solely with our Ag Retailer and Technology Partners,” Sibulkin adds. “It adds full customization and field features, and integration into select technology platform partners. Ag Retailers love it because it equips them to have value-added conversations with prospects and growers around risk, investment and field management. And technology partners want to integrate (with) it because it creates more value for their users from existing data.”

Sibulkin says the goal for N-Insights, which will likely follow the same route as ADAPT-N in being integrated into the SST agX platform, is to be broadly used on “tens of millions” of acres.

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