Having Precision Ag hardware or software isn't enough. Maybe this sounds weird coming from a company [AgSense] that sells hardware and software but trust us, you're going to want to read this.
Ever since Precision Ag was introduced into the irrigation segment of crop production, the advent of variable rate irrigation prescriptions, remote sensor monitoring and remote control of the irrigation equipment has led to an arms race among growers and companies to produce and implement the highest end programs to impact yield efficiency.
But none of it matters if there isn't a clear system to leverage the data you're collecting to make an impact on yield efficiency.
Think of Precision Irrigation as a 'three legged stool'
Precision Ag happens when hardware, software and agronomy work together. Done correctly, this should seamlessly provide the highest payback and trouble-free experience for the grower customer.
To achieve this harmony, there should be at least three people or groups of people involved in the Precision Irrigation process.
3. Hardware Supplier (example: local AgSense [or Valley] dealer)
If any single one of these groups are not collaborating properly, the whole program could fall apart.
Often times there are individuals that locally supply and support one "leg" of the stool but not the others. For growers, the challenge is knowing "who do I call about what?"
Each leg of the stool should understand the role the other two play
There needs to be strong personal relationships and lines of communication between each leg. For example, the agronomist maybe isn’t an expert on telemetry but understands what the equipment does, how it should work and who to call if it's not working.
Growers see the highest impact when they're committed to maintaining the process of keeping all relevant parties in communication with one another at the appropriate times.
Growers aren't alone in having to maintain this process, here are also some things that AgSense is doing to help solidify this ‘three legged stool.'
1. Online Resources - We've invested in making support material available to growers, agronomists, dealers and suppliers. You'll find many of them in our support section.
2. Boots on the ground - We currently have four locations from which to serve our customer base at a local level.
3. Joint grower meetings - We regularly attend and host joint grower meetings where each leg of the stool is available to present information and answer questions. Along with that, we also conduct local dealer and grower training sessions, often done jointly.
4. Trade Shows - We're attending national and local trade shows and events in order to give customers an opportunity to speak to our staff and each other directly.
5. We're a call away - Our support center is available to growers and industry partners. You always talk to a real person who lives and breathes precision agriculture. Our number is 605-352-8350.
How to strengthen your Precision Ag Process if you're a grower
1. Put your agronomist and hardware dealer on speed dial.
2. Make sure your agronomist and hardware dealer have each other's contact information.
3. Inform your agronomist of your goals for precision agriculture irrigation.
These three simple steps will help get the conversation started or make it more efficient.
Do a good job of tapping the knowledge of the parties involved in maintaining Precision Ag on your operation and you'll reap the benefits.