Spring Planning: Precision Ag

Trying something new requires a little bit of spring planning.  To get the most out of precision ag investments this year, there are a few planning steps that you can do now before you can be out in the fields.  

This past year, we tried a few new things, and we are getting a lot of questions about what we've learned.  We definitely believe that ideas get better when you share them - and you only get one season a year to try something new.  We did a quick video about how we got started in precision agriculture and what we tried last year.  We'll also share this week a few things we learned, and some ideas of new things we'll be trying this year.

This video is about How data helped increase production: Canola '17

Options for Precision Ag

As we continue to promote the opportunity that precision agriculture lends to farming we have received several questions about which companies provide 3 key capabilities:

  1. A color neutral view of the field

  2. Precision agriculture tracking capabilities

  3. Satellite imagery capabilities

Over the next several weeks I will take a deeper dive into each of the below providers:

 

If you have a provider you use on your farm that is not in the above list we’d love to hear about it.  Our goal is to try to be as inclusive as possible, and give some insight and options.  

If you use one of the above solutions we’d love to hear from you too.  There is nothing more powerful than a conversation with someone who has “been there, done that”.

Comment below or send us an e-mail at karen@farmfemmes.com or teresa@farmfemmes.com

 

Record yields?

It’s always fun to learn something new, especially when it shows you good news!  This year, that meant looking at the farm data differently, and what a great year to choose.  While last year Deer Creek Farms had 100% hail damage, this year we are able to see what a great harvest looks like!

This is the farms first year using myJohnDeere and the JD Operations Center, but the data has been being collected since 2013 for seeding.  Yes, that means for 4 years, I was slacking off on helping to get this working!

But hopefully this makes up for it!  This year, my Dad handed me the data stick and said “go figure it out” after a brief visit to Green Valley Equipment in Morden, Manitoba.  With a 3 hour investment his field data is now uploaded and available for analysis.  He was particularly excited to look at his yield maps and how specific they were.  

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There is still plenty left to learn and explore, but for a 3 hour time investment seeing the extent of the information available and the impact it can have to farming operations it was time well spent!

If you would like to learn how to make Operations Center work on your farm message me, or e-mail me at karen@farmfemmes.com.  If there is enough interest we’ll look into doing a few clinics around the topic to help you get started!

Where is the Wheat?

If the wheat production forecast in the  September USDA-NASS Crop Production report holds through the US harvest which is nearly complete the wheat harvest this year will be the lowest in 44 years.  That is -15.5% when comparing to the 2016 US harvest.

It’s not a story of acres which remain unchanged at 38.1M acres, the yield is down to an average 38.3 bushels per acre which is 9 bushels per acre lower than 2016.  Using the closing data for 9/13 for spring wheat and some simple math of $6.40/bushel that’s $57.60/acre less this year than last.

So what’s that mean for profitability?  

Variable input costs - what does $57.60 mean?

~100% of your chemical cost could have been covered

50% of your land rent could have been covered

75% of your fertilizer bill could have been covered

I put together a quick Google Sheets spreadsheet to illustrate the profitability and breakeven point using the following data:

Price Per Bushel: $6.40

Fixed Per Acre Cost (Rent, Machinery etc.): $130

Variable Per Acre Cost (Seed, Fertilizer, Chemical): $125

Based on these inputs, profitability sits at the 41 bushel per acre point.  

If you’d like to use this simple calculator to do some “what if” scenarios using your own price per bushel, fixed and variable costs you can access it here.  We had fun inputting price per bushel of currently contracted wheat and taking a look at increased fixed cost per acre (new combine) to check out profitability.

If you have any questions using the calculator, comment below or e-mail me at karen@farmfemmes.com.