As many farmers prepare for the heat of harvest, several dealers spent the summer providing customers with opportunities to track crop growth on a smaller scale.

Test plots have been beneficial for seed retailers, looking to showcase a particular variety. But farm equipment dealers have begun to take advantage of the opportunity, as a way to test market new technology and machinery. 

Redline Equipment, a 12-location Case IH dealership developed a 5-acre test plot adjacent to its Gas City, Ind., store this spring. Working in collaboration with the dealership’s marketing team, precision farming manager Arik Witker helped do a cost-benefit analysis on the project.

The most significant investment of time came from Redline’s customer engagement initiative. Throughout the growing season, precision farming specialists, 2 precision ag interns and a marketing communications intern were responsible for researching the plot and the creation of weekly media content. 

The project culminated with a customer field day in late July, which drew about 80 customers from 60 different farming operations. With an emphasis on the transparency of their test plots, Witker says there has been a lasting value in the project. 

"We did confirm or close some deals. That was kind of the tipping point. We did have a couple offers that we made exclusive to the people who attended. The lasting effect, I would say, was the surveys that we passed out at the end of the event, the feedback, and the thirst for more knowledge, what they wanted to see next year. So we asked for direct input for what they might want us to highlight next year because we'll look forward and do it again.”

You can hear more from Arik Witker who will be speaking on Redline’s precision recruiting and retention practices at the 2019 Precision Farming Dealer Summit on Jan. 7-8 in Indianapolis.