Jorgensen Land & Cattle is a fourth generation family farm that also operates 11,000 acres of no-tilled cropland and 7,000 acres of native prairie pasture. They are also the nation’s largest producer of Angus bulls that are leased and sold to cattlemen.
Based near Ideal, S.D., Bryan Jorgensen focuses on crop production and he finds the primary challenge with precision farming is less about the equipment and more about the data collected by the technology.
He uses precision equipment to copy Mother Nature’s technique. “If we can mimic how Mother Nature sustains her native prairies in our crop production systems, we can create a sustainable cropping system,” Jorgensen says.
The Jorgensens have been collecting yield data for more than 20 years, and were one of the first to use an Ag Leader monitor in the early 2000s.
“We have gone from building our own compatibility solutions to get brands of equipment to work together to figuring out how we are going to leverage all of the data we produce,” Jorgensen says.
They raise between 2,000 and 3,000 acres of corn, which is planted with a 24 row John Deere planter on a DB frame. It has been upgraded with Precision Planting’s DeltaForce downpressure system, eSet vacuum meters and AgXcel pumps to deliver a low rate of starter fertilizer in the furrow on one side of the row and a high rate of nitrogen and sulfur on the other. “With the GreenStar 2630 monitor, it’s like 24 separate planters, not just one 24-row planter,” Jorgensen says.
They use an JD 1895 40 foot Deere air seeder that also can apply a low rate of starter fertilizer and a high rate of nitrogen between seeding units. It’s used to control seeding and fertility rates for spring and winter wheat, field peas, soybeans and alfalfa and other small grain crops.
“We download work orders to the monitor from the cloud using Precision Planting’s FieldView program that is also set up to send me texts if the planter or seeder are operating outside of preset parameters,” Jorgensen says. “If there’s a problem, I know right away and can work with the equipment operator to correct the issue.”
Point of Pain: Understanding Agronomic Value
With more than two decades of yield and cropping history, Jorgensen finds analyzing data to identify agronomic trends almost impossible. There are far too many variables that equipment companies don’t understand that also affect yield, he says. This is compounded by the lack of experience within dealerships about more than the iron side of the business.
“Equipment dealers are behind the curve,” Jorgensen says. “Presently, no one company can take all that information and come up with a good prescription for that field. It’s more about soil science than it is about equipment. Dealers don’t understand that.”
Jorgensen says agronomic technology can be very expensive and many dealers are not well equipped to help farmers leverage it to maximize the value.
“Installing the equipment is one thing, but we need more cost-effective ways to manage the data,” he says. “Their proprietary systems lock you in and they aren’t as good at handling the data as I would like.”