2009 sensor based nitrogen management conference
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2009 Sensor Based Nitrogen Management Conference. Jack Gerhardt GreenSeeker Representative 507.236.1144. Breaking News. Corn Producers achieve 100% Nitrogen Use Efficiency! Source: National Corn Growers Association Hypoxia in the Gulf: An Analytical White Paper June 2009

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2009 sensor based nitrogen management conference

2009 Sensor Based NitrogenManagement Conference

Jack Gerhardt

GreenSeeker Representative


breaking news
Breaking News
  • Corn Producers achieve 100% Nitrogen Use Efficiency!
  • Source: National Corn Growers Association
    • Hypoxia in the Gulf: An Analytical White Paper
    • June 2009
    • “The amount of N fertilizer applied to corn acres is equal to the amount of N in the removed grain”
  • Let’s all go home and update our resumes
  • Trimble Acquisition of NTech
  • GreenSeeker Product Developments
  • Field Observations
    • Sensor Based N Algorithms
    • Nitrogen Rich Strips
    • Sensor Adoption
    • State of Conventional N Management
  • Case Study: Dutch Creek Farms
trimble acquisition
Trimble Acquisition
  • NTech acquired in June of 2009
  • Goal: Position Trimble as The Leader in Precision Ag
    • Expands product capabilities
    • Integrate sensing technology
    • Leverage Trimble market power to accelerate GS/WS adoption
  • Consistent with recent acquisitions of:
    • Rawson Controls
    • TruCount Clutches
    • FarmWorks Software
  • Since 2004, Trimble Ag has evolved from a navigation company to a major force in Precision Ag
key trimble offerings
Key Trimble Offerings
  • FMX
    • 12.1” touch screen controller with 2 integrated GPS receivers
    • Planting/Application/Harvesting
    • Auto Steer / Implement Steering
    • Field Leveling / Water Mgt
    • Information Management
  • EZ Guide 250 and 500
    • Lightbar
    • Auto steer
    • Flat or VR application control
    • Mapping
new greenseeker developments
New GreenSeeker Developments
  • RT Commander Pro
    • 2007: Envisioned the need to consider historic information with real time rate decisions
    • RTC Pro is the first software to simultaneously access historic and real time information
    • Override, Enhance or Restrict real time algorithm- based rates based on zone delineation.
    • Applicable for:
      • VR planting populations
      • Center pivot field corners
      • Extreme soil or topographical variance
      • Any desired zone delineation (yield, Veris, etc)
greenseeker rt commander pro

GreenSeeker® RT Commander Pro

When setting up a job, RT Commander Pro includes a background prescription map option.

Completely override the algorithm in selected areas, or

Multiply the algorithm values to increase or decrease the recommended rate


GreenSeeker® Background Map

The pre determined management zones appear on the monitor as a background map.

The target rate applies outside the bounded areas, but is replaced by the over-ride prescription value (80) in the example above.

2009 greenseeker algorithms
2009 GreenSeeker Algorithms
  • Industry leader in Supported Nitrogen Algorithms (19 total, 10 crops)
    • Ag & Agri-Foods Canada-Oats, Barley, Durum, Canola (updates)
    • Missouri-cotton
    • More Pending
      • NE U.S. wheat, corn
      • SE U.S. cotton, corn
      • KSU corn
      • Global work in corn, wheat, sugar cane, rice
rt commander v1 3 9 pending
RT Commander v1.3.9 (pending)
  • Featuring multi-language software to facilitate international adoption
    • Spanish
    • German
    • Dutch
    • French
    • Access up to 26 different languages
rt150 mapping only system
RT150 Mapping Only System

Entry Level 3 Sensor Mapping Offering

Fully Upgradeable to VR Capabilities

where do we go from here
Where do we go from here?
  • Broader Controller Compatibility
    • GreenSeeker is Inclusive Technology-not exclusive. This is a barrier to adoption.
  • Sensor integration through ISO BUS development & standardization
    • Simplifies controller and user interface
  • Boom Section Control
    • “Accuracy is Addictive”
feedback from the field
Feedback from the Field
  • University/Researcher Algorithms:
    • Add credibility, but Farmer’s are skeptical
    • Viewed as a guide or compared to their N program
    • See GreenSeeker as a tool to improve “their own” nitrogen strategy via custom Rx option
    • Prefer local or regional algorithms
      • Universal Algorithm must allow for customization
    • Algorithms are often “tweaked” to achieve acceptable rates
nitrogen rich strips
Nitrogen Rich Strips
  • Stop apologizing for Nitrogen Rich Strips!
  • They should be considered a BMP with or without sensor technology
  • Virtual Reference Strips do nothing to advance NUE
    • Just because you identify a peak value does not mean it is sufficient in N, or is representative of maximum seasonal yield potential
    • Still requires many passes to find “peak” value
    • Best fit for VRS is nitrogen rescue situations
adoption rates
Adoption Rates
  • We’re changing Nitrogen practices; not making farmers better at what they are already doing
    • Side dress is too often a minority practice
    • Late stage crop N assessment is bothersome
  • Sensing requires a cultural change:
    • “Grandpa didn’t do it like this”
  • Best adoption model: No Till/Strip Till
  • Expect slow steady growth, unless:
    • New regulations drive adoption
    • Economics shift to incent adoption
    • Competition enters the market
welcome agleader topcon
Welcome AgLeader & TopCon
  • If we are going to change the NUE world, it will take many voices.
revisiting the n problem
Revisiting the N Problem
  • Overriding N Fertilizer Mentality
    • Every year has homerun yield potential.
    • Weather conditions have little influence on the nitrogen rate decision.
    • Crop Advisors don’t take the time to account for mineralization in the total N supply
    • One pass N is easy and usually works well
    • “More (N) Is Better”
  • So what do we get…
blind excess
Blind Excess

Source: Elwyn Taylor ISU Meteorologist

what can change this mentality
What can change this mentality?
  • Economics:
    • The high N prices of 2008 forced producers to collectively think about their N rates for the first time in years.
    • Farmers are trained to wait for economic incentives like EQIP before they act—this can actually delay adoption while they wait for a program & funding.
    • Since researchers acknowledge that mineralization exists, more of them could start considering it in their N rate recommendation, or we could….
    • Demonstrate that even in with today’s economics, there are large returns to capture.
case study in progress dutch creek farms
Case Study (In Progress): Dutch Creek Farms
  • Early GreenSeeker Adopter-2005
  • Views change as opportunity for short term competitive advantage
  • Recognized for outstanding environmental stewardship relating to farming practices
corn production program
Corn Production Program
  • North Central Iowa
  • 3rd year corn on corn
  • Strip Till
  • 3 Pass Nitrogen Plan
    • Fall Strip Till NPK (manure): 95 lbs
    • Early side dress v2-v4: 38 lbs
    • V10+ GreenSeeker side dress: ?
late season sensing v10 v12
Late Season Sensing v10-v12

ISU Calculator corn on corn rate: 181 lbs

Decision: Do Nothing

Farmer Practice 133 lbs N

N Rich Strip 200 lbs N

*95 lbs Fall Strip Till Manure

*38 lbs v3 UAN side dress

*95 lbs Fall Strip Manure

*105 lbs v3 UAN side dress

NDVI = .801

NDVI = .795

  • Grower practiced BMP’s with respect to N Timing, Placement and Product
  • Without the right tools (NRS & sensors), grower may have unnecessarily applied an additional 46+ lbs of N
  • Sometimes you get paid to do nothing
  • Anticipated Savings:
    • 46 lbs x $.35 x 3900 acres = $62,790
    • $4 /ac application x 3900 acres = $15,600
    • Total avoided cost: $78,390
sensor impact on nue
Sensor Impact on NUE
  • If he harvests 180 bpa corn:
    • GreenSeeker NUE = .75
    • ISU Calculator NUE = 1.0
    • NDVI estimated yield potential: 209 bpa (.636 NUE)
  • That’s 179,400 lbs of N that didn’t go down the river….and that’s just one operation.