Agriculture and Information: Data to propel your business

Modern agribusiness is increasingly being driven by information.

We can see what the markets are doing, how much rain a field got yesterday, what the GDD accumulation is to date, what the yield might be on that field and even what it might do if we put another 30 pounds of nitrogen on. That’s just what we can see lying in bed and before we even need to get dressed!

In the not too distant past, I was helping a grower put out a soybean plot and asked him what population he was planting. He quickly answered that he had the drill set at 180,000 seeds per acre. Since it was my responsibility to document them,  I said “OK” and asked if he cared if we stopped to check the planting rate and depth. He thought that was a good idea and stopped the tractor. As we walked around the drill, he just stopped and leaned against it shaking his head, “I guess I might have it set a bit high”. I couldn’t help myself, the only thing I could come up with was, “Well, I suppose it could be worse. You could have 480,000 seeds per acre IN THE GROUND!”.

I had a couple of things going in my favor that day.

  1. Since I wasn’t driving, I had faster access to information than my grower. I could quickly see that we had many beans laying on top of the ground and got the tractor stopped within a few yards. He probably wouldn’t have noticed it until he eventually turned around.
  2. The grower had a great sense of humor.

Usually, my grower’s 20-year-old drill did a pretty good job when he was planting. It had its limitations. The need for more and more accurate information has driven the adoption of new technology in agriculture. Modern planters give farmers instant access to unprecedented amounts of information and allow them to fine tune their operation on the fly.  UAV’s carrying near infrared reflectance cameras give farmers the ability to create a detailed vegetation map of their field.  On-demand they see diseased areas of a field days or weeks before it would be visible to the naked eye.

Like my grower’s 20-year-old drill, many ag software solutions usually do a pretty good job for their customers. As agribusiness continues to grow and evolve, the access to information and process efficiency requirements continue to grow as well.

  • Do more of your reports come from your software solution or a spreadsheet?
  • Can you quickly sort through hundreds or thousands of items using multiple filters to create a custom report?
  • Can you look at your inventory and see an up to the minute reliable count by location?
  • Is it easy to see which inventory is in stock and what is already committed?
  • If a customer calls, can you access one screen and quickly see what they have on DP for soybeans or how many bushels they have contracted for corn?
  • Can you quickly move from looking at their delivered basis contracts to entering a new sales order for them?
  • Can your grower push a button on his smartphone app telling you they have arrived at your location and automatically create a pre-filled scale ticket for your scale operators?
  • Can you email your grower a contract and have them e-sign it through your company portal?
  • Do you save required or critical documents in your software solution or is your back room bursting with filing cabinets because you keep physical copies of everything?

We’ve combined 30+ years of technological advancements with real world Ag experience. We help our customers quickly utilize the massive amounts of data available and make sure that every i21 customer can look at the list above and answer yes. Can you? If not, give us a call and let us help you say yes!

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