MONMOUTH, Ill. — Any time farmers talk about a new product offering these days, return on investment is bound to be brought up in that conversation.
ROI has gained new prominence as a priority for producers, as crop prices have declined from the highs of a few years ago.
“That’s what growers are asking us for more and more. OK, yield increase is great, but did I make money doing it and was it a positive ROI?” said Lance Tarochione, Asgrow/DeKalb technical agronomist in western Illinois.
Tarochione speaks not just as an agronomist, but as a farmer himself, who raises corn and soybeans in western Illinois.
The Climate FieldView platform is allowing farmers to map and gather data and run their own experiments to see what fits their farm — and their bottom line — the best, from population trials to herbicide and fertilizer trials and hybrid trials.
“It’s just so easy to analyze what’s going on on your farm, and it makes it very easy to turn your farm into a research farm, if you want to, with all the different things you can compare and all the analyses you can do,” Tarochione said.
He pointed to some of the Climate FieldView trials going on this year as examples of what farmers can do with the platform.
Climate FieldView will be used by cooperating farmers, working with eight Asgrow/DeKalb technical agronomists, to record and then analyze data on large scale hybrid trials.
Planning, executing then collecting data for hybrid trials has come a long way, Tarochione said.
Farmers plant a series of hybrids in a variable field across a lot of different soil types. The hybrids are stored in field maps.
“We use the yield monitor when we harvest the grain, rather than a traditional weigh wagon,” Tarochione said.
Those maps yield hundreds, if not thousands, of data points.
“Instead of getting one data point for the whole strip through the field, you get a yield data point every two or three seconds, coming out of the yield monitor as the combine travels the length of the strip. We put these in fields that are usually a quarter to a half mile long, and instead of one yield data point, you get maybe a thousand out of that plot,” Tarochione said.
That data can include any comparisons and any data that a farmer wants to analyze.
“If they want to compare row starter or if they want to compare fungicide, if they want to compare hybrids, if they want to compare fertility programs, nitrogen rates, basically anything that you can map in some way within the system, you have the ability to compare the yields of those different treatments at the end of the year,” Tarochione said.
A big benefit of the Climate FieldView platform is it records the data and then stores it for the farmer to look at and analyze at his or her leisure. There’s no need to take extra time during harvest to remember where each trial stopped and started and to physically separate each trial.
“In the old days, the only way you could compare the yield was you had to find that spot in the field and then you had to get a weigh wagon out. It was kind of clunky and cumbersome to follow up on those good intentions at harvest, so we lost a lot of data,” Tarochione said.
Using the platform is as simple as inputting information. The platform takes care of the rest.
“It’s very simple. It’s all electronic. All you do is go harvest your field, and as long as you’ve got the different treatments mapped in your field, it’s easy to associate the yield data with the different treatments,” Tarochione said.
Best of all, all of the information is available to farmers to analyze at their leisure.
“With FieldView, as long as you are collecting that data with yield monitors at harvest, as long as you map where you put your treatments, you can do the analysis sitting in your office in January. It just makes it so much easier and simpler to learn from what you are doing on your farm,” Tarochione said.