Collecting data and keeping records has long been a helpful farmer’s tool. With ag technology advancements in recent decades, this has been taken to a whole new level: with digital tools, software, and new sophisticated approaches being developed for ag data collection every year.
Modern growers now embrace precise data on their operations and the many ways it can benefit their bottom line. But how exactly does farm data do this? Is it worth the time and investment? While growers may look at farm data collection as just another labor or overhead cost, here’s why farm data matters – and how it can boost seed success along with other technologies, including seed coatings.
What outcomes does farm data bring?
Data helps you learn the composition and cost of every aspect of your operation, making sure every penny of overhead is a penny well spent— and that it goes the farthest mile. In the days before enhancement of farm data tracking and technology, row crop growers made blanket approaches to production, rather than dialed-in ones based on information gathered from soil composition, water usage, fertilizer application rates, and more.
Now, farm data helps growers know how much (and what) to use, and where, in order to save time, money, resources, and to ramp up production and profits. When it comes to farm data, here are the most popular outcomes data aims to improve for growers— along with how that works, and how seed coatings can support these outcomes, too.
Optimizing input use.
Data collection (such as soil testing on large operations) can drastically reduce how much inputs are used— and slash down operation costs dramatically. If growers have a sense of soil and nutrient composition on every portion of their acreage, data can inform them where inputs are needed, and where they are not: a huge innovation compared to only applying fertilizers, sprays, and other inputs uniformly over every acre of farm fields.
Paired with seed coating technology, farm data can inform growers where seed coating investments could enhance seedling success on certain acres, and where they may not be needed. Many coatings are designed to balance or restore nutrients losses that can be detected through farm data: including soil health rejuvenation with inoculant seed coatings, or direct mineral nutrient coatings, nitrogen-containing coatings.
Optimizing irrigation use.
Collection of soil samples and topographic farm data can also help cut down on water usage and costs, much in the same spirit as cutting down input costs. With climate fluctuations and drought becoming increasingly more common, farm data— coupled with other technologies— can help growers become more resilient while boosting yield successes and saving money.
With the right data in their hands, producers can renovate or overhaul irrigation systems to bring water to acreage that really needs it—and away from acreage that doesn’t. In addition to shaving down costs, this can help farmers in drought-stricken areas follow strict water usage guidelines. In areas where more focused irrigation is needed, growers can also invest in drought-resilient seed coatings that protect hydration and enhance seedling germination. Or, the inverse: seed coatings that protect against waterlogging or disease.
Optimizing fuel costs and saving equipment use.
Some types of farm data can save on very pricey agricultural expenses these days, such as fuel and equipment use. When data helps inform growers where less inputs are needed (such as fertilizers or pesticides), this can save tractor, combine, or other equipment runs over extensive acreage that might not need these inputs in the first place— according to the data collected.
The less farmers use their equipment, too, the less maintenance and repairs they will need in the long run. This saves operators both time and money. It’s estimated that the average farmer loses over $3000 every year due to the costs of repairing and maintaining equipment alone along with the lost time that could go towards higher profits.
Enhancing seedling rigor, improving yields, and boosting profits.
The ultimate goal of row crop farmers is to grow the most prolific, uniform, and high-quality crops possible for the greatest profit potential. Doing so is like following a recipe every year: only ingredient amounts and other factors can change at the drop of a hat with weather changes, market fluctuations and more.
With the help of farm data however, producers have greater control over everything that goes into the recipe, along with greater control of the outcome— right alongside the saving of money and costs. This gives growers a greater sense of stability, resilience, and adaptation during unpredictable times, along with deeper insight into the most minute cost-benefits of their operations and how to improve them.
Seed coating technologies are also designed to improve enterprises in this same way— and pack a stronger punch when used alongside the impressions and insights handed farmers with the help of farm data. Get in touch with the Summit Seed Coatings team today to learn more.