WinField United: Farmer gains Nutrient, water efficiencies with new tool
Feb. 16, 2018
Wanted: Tech-hungry farmers
WinField United chose Tennessee Farmers Co-op because it is a large, progressive cooperative that serves farmers who are actively asking for new ag technology opportunities. Agronomist Trevor Smith was game to participate in the pilot and recommend a farmer he could partner with to test the Field Forecasting Tool.
“We’re looking for growers who want to stay on the cutting edge of new technology,” says Smith. “We also want growers who are comfortable with challenging what they’ve done in the past and are looking for new and better ways to manage their crops.”
Optimizing bushels per acre
One of the farmers who participated in the pilot, Addison Yarbro, farms approximately 12,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. Yarbro wanted to see how he could increase bushels by adjusting his management practices.
“Primarily, we hoped to discover ways to push our irrigated corn,” he says. “Using the Field Forecasting Tool, we discovered we were missing bushels, and wanted to increase bushels on the same number of acres.”
Monitoring moisture and nitrogen
With the Field Forecasting Tool, Yarbro could check the moisture in his corn crop without using a soil moisture probe. The tool indicated the amount of water plants expected to use each day and what they were actually using. “It surprised me how accurate the whole system was,” Yarbro says, “and we probably watered a little bit less because of that.”
Trevor Smith also persuaded him to adjust the nitrogen timing on his corn and apply it later than he normally would. He did not agree with me, but did delay his application as the Field Forecasting Tool recommended.
“We applied nitrogen after tassel — normally we’d apply it 10 days prior to tassel — and ended up using .95 units of nitrogen instead of the 1.2 units we would plan for in the past,” he says. “We gained about 60 bushels, and using less nitrogen was definitely a plus.”
The Field Forecasting Tool was recently named 2017 New Product of the Year by the readers of AgPro magazine.