Offset fertilizer costs with variable rate technology

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Soaring fertilizer costs, at their highest level since 2008, are impacting planting decisions in 2022. Analysts predict a correction is unlikely in the near term.

According to the USDA Illinois Cost of Production Report in October, the average price of urea was $ 810 per metric tonne, up from $ 352 per metric tonne in 2020. Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) prices ) were $ 814 per metric tonne, nearly double what they were in 2020. to $ 427 per metric tonne.

The report also noted that the price of 28% liquid nitrogen saw a significant jump in 2021, averaging $ 475 per metric tonne from $ 222 the previous year. Potash prices were $ 775 per metric tonne, an increase of nearly $ 400 per metric tonne from the previous year.

“With such dramatic increases in fertilizer prices, we are starting to see growers turning to or interested in tools like scripts that allow them to be more efficient and profitable with their inputs,” said Matthew Lau. , Global Head of Script Products for The Climate Corp.

Variable rate prescriptions have been around for several years, but the technology is still not widely used.

“About 20% of our current FieldView customers in the United States use seed, fertilizer and crop protection scripts,” says Lau. “Our products that help variable rate farmers have been on the market for about five years. During this time, we were able to identify pain points preventing farmers from creating more prescriptions and adopting more variable rate activities.

Ease of use is at the top of the list. With the introduction of automatic zone creation, Climate is striving to further automate the process.

“Producers have always told us how long it takes to create and manage prescriptions. Previously, the manual script tool had little or no automatic capabilities, and the user had to extract an image or output layer as a background layer and manually draw the parts of the field. that he would like to start managing, “he says.” We are trying to get to a point where we are able to take the producer data that has been collected and provide them with a quick and easy solution to optimize the areas of sub-field in its operation. ”

Automatic creation of land areas using satellite images from any reconnaissance map saves the farmer time. This tool also makes it easier and more confident for farmers to write variable rate fertilizer prescriptions to optimize their fertilizer investment and meet performance goals.

“The changes we’ve made give users the ability to easily see between all of their detection layers and see the variability in their field using those layers, and then make adjustments,” says Lau.

Users can define a number of zones from two to 12 zones in a field, which allows them to easily manage the variability of the field and tailor it to the activity for which they are scripting.

“Automatic zoning gives producers a much higher level of flexibility and precision in optimizing inputs. It also allows producers to test different layers and different hypotheses and compare them to determine which they think will be the best choice to move on to next season, ”he says. “We know that every year is different and that every year brings its share of challenges. We’re excited to be able to provide this functionality, so growers can handle these challenges more effectively. Hopefully this will make it easier for farmers to adopt the technology.

Climate Corp. Also rolling out an update to its tank mix product selection tool, which allows farmers to easily identify and register crop protection products in a tank mix when creating a prescription.

“In June 2020, we launched our first iteration, giving farmers the ability to create a crop protection prescription with a single product,” Lau said.

Based on overwhelming feedback from growers, the latest version of the tool can now handle up to eight crop protection products in a single tank mix.

“When applying herbicides, growers rarely apply a single product,” he says. “They often have two, three, four or more, depending on the region and the culture. The producers wanted to be able to more accurately label all the products they had in the prescription, so that they knew exactly what the recommendation is and what it is going to be used for in the field.

Both tools are provided at no additional cost to new and existing FieldView customers.


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