2009 Sensor Based NitrogenManagement 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 • “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
Agenda • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 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 • 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) • Featuring multi-language software to facilitate international adoption • Spanish • German • Dutch • French • Access up to 26 different languages
RT150 Mapping Only System Entry Level 3 Sensor Mapping Offering Fully Upgradeable to VR Capabilities
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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • If we are going to change the NUE world, it will take many voices.
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 Source: Elwyn Taylor ISU Meteorologist
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 • 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 • 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 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
Lessons • 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 • 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.