Dow AgroSciences announced recently it will launch a precision agronomy program designed to blend data with the power of human analysis and insight. The new program, enabled by integrated solutions from John Deere, will combine personal service, an enhanced user experience and data-driven agronomy to help farmers maximize their return on investment per acre. The outcome will be focused on specialized seed placement and knowledge. Dow AgroSciences will provide the service as a complimentary part of its seed offering.
“Farm smarter — that’s what this will allow me to do,” says Paula Karlock, a grower from Momence, Illinois. “This is the first program that will deliver on the promise of precision agriculture. I can see this quickly becoming an essential and value-added management tool for my farm.”
Key to Dow AgroSciences’ program is the deliberate integration of an agronomist. The grower can receive farm data analysis from an agronomist in near real time. Growers work with the agronomist to place the seed, assess crop progress, scout, monitor environmental conditions and review yield results by hybrid, soil type and population. The program is enabled by the integrated solutions of embedded systems, telematics and the John Deere Operations Center, an industry-leading portal that provides online tools to visualize, collaborate and direct farm information.
“We consider the grower, not the data, the focal point of this program,” says Brian Barker, general manager, U.S. Seeds, Dow AgroSciences. “Our program utilizes data, agronomic services and customer needs to provide customized recommendations. It’s a collaborative approach between farmers and seed experts for optimum product placement and management. This is not another self-service app.”
The program is specialized, and it features precision product placement and detailed hybrid recommendations. It is intended to complement the comprehensive precision ag tools that seed dealers offer to growers today.
“We are very pleased to help support Dow AgroSciences and its seed production and placement program through the John Deere Operations Center,” says Pat Pinkston, vice president, Information Solutions, John Deere. “This is another great example of how we’re collaborating with other companies across the ag industry to help producers manage equipment, field and agronomic operations.”
“The intersection of data, agronomic insight and field execution can truly lead to efficiency and profitability,” Barker adds. “We’re advancing the value of precision ag through the practical application of agronomic and product knowledge.”
New program helps growers lower input costs, optimize resources
Dow AgroSciences completed a successful 2015 pilot with growers in Illinois and Iowa. The company will officially launch the program this year on farms across the Corn Belt.
“The value of this program is in further learning and knowledge of your land,” says Karlock, who piloted the program on her Illinois farm during the 2015 growing season. “Working with my agronomist and seeing the data from right here on my farm, in my soil, rather than from side-by-sides in a plot, allowed me to put resources in the right places to get the biggest return on my investments.”
Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist Melissa Bell worked with Karlock and others in the pilot. “This system connects me to farmers and farmers to me, and both of us to their fields,” Bell says. “We managed together throughout the season, starting with positioning seed where it was intended. We gained valuable insights about how hybrids performed across micro and macro environments.”
Bell helped Karlock manage throughout the season. “This year, we had 14.5 inches of rain in less than three weeks. Just incredible amounts of rain,” she says. “With the Dow AgroSciences services and insight, we could monitor growth and development based on the weather and make management adjustments to each field, if needed. Come harvest time, we knew what to expect.”
Karlock is using what she learned last year as she gears up for 2016. “I decided what seed to buy and where to place it based on what I learned from the program,” she says. “I feel confident about my decisions.”
Service will be complimentary part of seed offering
In a 2015 survey of farm retailers conducted by Purdue University, farm income pressure was identified as a top barrier to grower use of precision ag technology.1 By offering this complimentary service to Dow AgroSciences seed brand customers, the company hopes to help growers maximize their output and reduce their risk without taking a bite out of profits. Participating Dow AgroSciences seed companies include Mycogen Seeds, Brodbeck Seeds, Pfister Seeds, Prairie Brand Seed and Dairyland Seed. Growers must have access to the John Deere Operations Center to participate.