Variable-rate technology reduces fertilizer costs

Tools such as automatic zone creation helps farmer be more efficient with their investments.

Fertilizer prices have been soaring ever since 2008 and it has impacted the planting decisions. Analysts don’t expect corrections to happen anytime soon.

The average urea price is $810 per metric ton, based on USDA’s Illinois Production Cost Report in October, whereas in 2020 it was $352 per metric ton. DAP (diammonium phosphate) prices were almost doubled from nearly $427 in 2020 to $814 in 2021. Potash also had an increase of almost $400 per metric ton from $375 in 2020 to $775 in 2021.

With these dramatic soaring fertilizer prices, according to the Climate Corp, farmers’ are turning towards tools like scripting to increase efficiency.

Variable-rate prescriptions have been around for several years now. They, however, have never been widely applied.

As Mathew Lau, global product manager of scripting for The Climate Corp, said seed, fertilizer, and crop protection scripts are being used by nearly 20% of The Company’s FieldView customers in U.S. The Climate’s products that help a customer with variable-rate prescriptions have been around for 5 years. During that time the company was able to identify what kept farmers from creating more prescriptions and adopting more of the variable-rate.

On top of the list was ease of use. The Climate is making an effort to make the process more automated and for that purpose, they’ve introduced Automatic zone creation.

“We’ve always heard how customers complained about how much time it took to create and manage scripts. Manual scripting tool had very little to almost no automatic capabilities and the user had to use an image or yield data and manually define what region in the field they needed to be managed.” Says Lau. “We’re trying to be able to provide farmers with a fast and easy solution after gathering their data to optimize their farm regions.”

Automatic field mapping using satellite imagery can help farmers save a lot of time. It will, also, enable them to create variable-rate prescriptions more easily and confidently.

According to them, the changes they’ve made has made the data more easily reachable and available for customers and they can make the required adjustments as well as managing their farm more conveniently.

Users can set zone counts from 1 zone to 12 which in addition to making the management of field variables easier, it also helps them use them for their prescriptions.

Each year is different with the previous one in agriculture and it has its’ own challenges. Automatic field mapping helps farmers overcome the challenges easier. It also increases their flexibility and accuracy which overall improve efficiency. Farmers can apply it to also decide what they are going to do in the next season. Hopefully, it will help farmers to adopt the technology easier.

Climate Corp. is also upgrading another one of its tools. This tool helps farmers who are creating a prescription to identify and record crop protection products in a mix.

An early version was launched in June 2020 which allowed farmers to create prescriptions with one product.

Following the overwhelming feedback from farmers, a new one was developed that now can manage and handle 8 products in a tank mix.

Farmers rarely use one product when applying herbicides. They often use two, three or more products depending on the field and the crop. The ability to tag all products in the prescription and accurately know what it is and what it is going to be used for in the field is needed by farmers.

For old and new FieldView Customers, these tools are free and available.

 

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