Source: Continuum Ag, LLC
As we are now getting into the heat of harvest season, data is on everyone’s mind — yield data, moisture, acres harvested, total bushels produced and crop pricing. These are some of the many different data points we have to keep track of as farmers, but how do we make sense of it all? How do we break it down to what’s important? Well, what’s really important is whether we are being profitable. Are we improving the economic resiliency of our farms? Can we continue to support our families and grow our operations for generations to come?
For most farmers, harvest data means yield. I enjoy looking at the yield monitor as I am harvesting as well, seeing over 300 bushels per acre is a ton of fun. However, it’s not just the bushels that matter, it’s what it takes to raise those bushels. Am I being profitable on every acre? Where am I making money and in which parts of my field am I losing money? We must make sure we’re being mindful and place importance within every acre and sub acre.
As we’re evaluating our harvest data, remember that it all boils down to how you’re treating the individual components of the farm. Don’t treat every farm with a “one size fits all” approach and remember that each individual component of the farm is important. We need to be managing for profit, resiliency and positive growth as we continue to manage our operation.
What’s Next for Harvest Data?
As we look to the future, harvest data is going to be extremely important. The food supply chain is going to be fully connected with transparent data linkages, from farm to fork! Data is going to tell a story. Good data is going to drive premiums for your farm and drive demand in the marketplace. That information includes: yield data, management information, sustainability metrics, environmental metrics and soil health statistics.
The complete combination of data will be utilized to find unique, value added opportunities in the marketplace rather than mixing all production systems and crops into bulk commodities.
It’s the data and the story that’s going to help create value in the marketplace and improve the profitability of operations. Increased types of data, especially crop quality such as protein, oil, starch and nutrient density, will help us to move away from looking at only yield.
There are sensors and tests available that are already starting to collect this information. We are starting to experiment with some of these grain quality tests. Nothing is widely utilized or standardized at this point but most likely will be soon. We’re interested in other types of data as well: carbon impacts, impact on water quality, water holding capacity data, as well as crop data relating to meat and ethanol production.
High definition aerial imagery can be a great data layer to tell the year’s whole story
Beyond the Yield Data
We’re excited because as we gather more data and Continuum Ag continues to expand its data analytics systems, we’re going to be able to help you reverse engineer towards these goals. Whether that be yield, profitability, positive environmental outcomes, or nutrient-density, via data analytics and machine learning, we can help you to drive success on your farm at a higher percentage of success. These tools are being built right now, and we’re extremely excited to start piloting some of our analytics systems to your farms.
Overall, we know that harvest data is extremely important. Yes, it’s a fun time of the year, but it’s also a time of the year to be safe and careful! It’s fun to look at the yield monitor and it’s fun to bring in a bountiful harvest, but remember the data that goes into producing your corn, soybeans, or other crops should all be focused on profitability.
The consumer is going to soon see everything that we’re doing on our farms. So, continue to collect not only harvest data, but other information to prepare yourself for a transparent supply chain. A more connected consumer brings opportunities to segregate your grain and differentiate yourself from the bulk commodity system where we have been stuck for so long.
Contact Continuum Ag if you have questions about getting the most from your yield monitor or about what can be done today to prepare for a future where crop quality data also begins to matter more and more.