Ask the Expert

Expert advice on innovation in precision agriculture

July 1, 2018

Ask the expert: 
A primer on precision agriculture

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I keep hearing about “precision agriculture”…what do I need to know?

“Precision agriculture” has become a bit of a catch-phrase to some, but Nutrien Ag Solutions sees it as the evolution of its commitment to provide growers with the very best in technology and innovation to support their continued success. What began with GPS and auto-steer has quickly evolved into a host of technology.

Nutrien Ag Solutions understands that growers are the original innovators, coming up with new ways of getting the job done since the days of horse and plough. Nutrien Ag Solutions sees its job as providing the right tools at the right time, so the grower doesn’t have to go looking for them. While some might associate precision agriculture with the newest technologies such as drones and satellite mapping, Nutrien Ag Solutions sees it as a total farm operation concept based on the pillars of data, technology, superior agriculture products, and all backed by expert local advice.

The Nutrien Ag Solutions “total operation” precision agriculture service is based on capturing, analyzing and responding to multiple sources of data — from soil testing to crop scouting to yield mapping to more than a decade worth of weather patterns. The geo-referenced soil sampling and NutriScription services offered by Nutrien Ag Solutions are backed by historical performance data to identify the portions of fields that perform best.

By working toward the best crop response in specific areas, the grower puts input dollars where they will yield the best results. There are two ways to approach nutrient application. In one, Nutrien Ag Solutions uses the same rate of fertilizer as the grower currently applies to produce greater yield potential. In the other, Nutrien Ag Solutions utilizes a variable rate prescription and saves money on the cost of that input by using less fertilizer to achieve the same yield potential. Either way, being more precise with balanced fertilizer blends and placement is dollar for dollar the smartest thing growers can do.

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