BOONE, Iowa — Seed Advisor will help farmers match the best corn hybrid for each field in their operation.

“Seed Advisor is really the first of its kind in the industry where we’re using data and digital information in combination with local expertise to make a recommendation for what to plant,” said Sam Eathington, chief science officer, The Climate Corporation.

The new seed selection tool will provide not only hybrid recommendations for each field but also optimal seeding rate recommendations.

“This fall we’re focusing on Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois for a limited offering,” said Chad Bilby, global launch lead, The Climate Corporation. “The product will be offered through 50 dealers to 200 farmers through the FieldView Innovators Program for five seed brands, DeKalb, Channel, Kruger Seeds, Gold Country Seed and Stone Seed.”

The Climate Corporation has invested significant time and money in the process to develop the new tool for farmers.

“We have nine years of hybrid performance we can use to construct the model,” said Tonya Ehlmann, placement science lead. The Climate Corporation. “And we have compared our model on over 4 million grower acres and our win rate is near 80 percent.”

Climate has tested the new Seed Advisor with growers over the past two years.

“In 2017, we offered recommendations to a grower in Illinois on about 20,000 acres and our recommendation had over a 6 bushel per acre advantage,” Ehlmann reported at a presentation during the Farm Progress Show. “In 2018, we expanded our relationship to 17 growers on 100,000 acres of corn.”

“We have a lot of data information from FieldView that allows us to understand different practices and behaviors going on at farms,” Bilby said.

“We’ve seen about 45 percent of the farmers are running split plant trials by putting half of the planter in one hybrid and the other half in a different hybrid to look at the comparison,” Bilby noted. “We have yield data on over 2,000 hybrids, about two-thirds of them are comparing one brand to a different seed brand and there is an 8-bushel on average difference.”

Grain yield is a function of many different things including genetics, seed treatments, farming practices, crop rotation and plant density, Eathington said. “And also the environment, weather, soil health and microbes, so there’s a lot of interactions,” he added.

“We’re trying to sort that out and if you can sort that out then you start predicting what could happen in the field,” the chief science officer stated. “That’s what helps you unlock the opportunity to make different decisions.”

Weather has about one-third of the impact on yield, Eathington reported. “We all know weather trumps everything,” he said. “If you don’t get water it’s not going to grow and if you get too much water, the crops die.”

However, about 70 percent of the yield is a result of decisions made by farmers such as what to plant, how to fertilize the crop, what farming practices to use and if it should be protected with fungicides, Eathington said. “If we start finding three bushels here and five bushels there and do that at multiple points throughout the season, that adds up to a different way to think about how to manage.”

Climate is on track to hit 50 million acres involved with FieldView this year. “As the information continues to grow our scientists have the ability to use that to test the models and figure out how to make them better,” Eathington noted.

“We’re doing a lot on trying to help growers with the disease situation in the field, understanding the risk profile, predicting the pathogens that might be there and looking at the return on investment for spraying fungicides,” the chief science officer explained.

“Even to having a hand-held tool that’s running on a cell phone where you turn on the camera, put it on the leaf and it tells you what pathogen is there,” Eathington said. “It is a simple confirmation in the field to know you have the right fungus or pathogen you want to treat.”

The Climate Corporation also is working with sensors on equipment such as planters and combines. “These machines can be doing dozens of things in the field like collecting imagery or collecting data from the soil to help us understand what’s going on in the field to make better decisions,” Eathington said.

For more about The Climate Corporation and products available for farmers, go to: www.climate.com.

Martha Blum can be reached at 815-223-2558, ext. 117, or marthablum@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Blum.

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