Using Data For Better Decision Making
9 May 2330 min 57 sec

Modern production Agriculture has moved into the data realm. Your combine collects data, your sprayer and planter might be collecting data. Hire an agronomic consultant and they’ll go about compiling data. Basically, every juncture of farming is now a data point. But how do you use these reams of data to improve your yields and efficiency without becoming overwhelmed with so much information. Temple Rhodes explains how he collects then applies data for better decision making. 

Presented by AgXplore

00:00 You know, we're in the era of data your combine gathers data your phone gathers data, sometimes unwillingly against you everything you do is 00:09 gathering data. We're in an absolutely technologically evolved World from where we're in production agriculture just 00:16 a few years ago. In fact, we're kind of leading the Packers a lot of industries that are we're not as advanced as we are but you've 00:22 got all this data and it's all about collecting data, but what do you do with it then to make decisions to make you money welcome 00:28 to extreme eggs cutting the curve more than just a podcast. It's the place for insights and information. You can apply immediately to your farming operation for increased 00:38 success this episode of cutting the curve is brought to you by AG Explorer with Innovative products that improve fertilizer efficiency protect yield potential 00:47 and reduce stress. I explore helps Growers maximize field potential find out how AG explore can help you get more out of your crop at Ag And 00:57 now here's your host. Amy and Mason Hey there, thanks for joining us for another episode of extreme Edge cutting the curve. We're talking today about using data for decision making Temple 01:08 roads extreme AG guy from the Eastern Shore Maryland is going to talk about how uses data to make better decisions and 01:17 then ultimately make bigger yields and more money. So Temple I threw you notes and I said have you changed things 01:24 this year from data gathered last year? And then how did you gather that data? And the thing is we always talk 01:30 about. All right knowing this stuff is cool. You know knowledge is power. Well totally power if you use it. So 01:36 you let's talk about the data you in particular have and then how you're using it. So like what data have you already used from last year for 01:47 a better this year? Well, there's two different sides of this data collection on Damien. So you can use this data to save 01:57 money too. So, you know, you want to talk about all the trials that we do, um just being able to 02:03 you know, what we put everything through the climate app, you know, and all the all the Planners sprayers all that and then we log all 02:12 that and then we take it all to yield. So one thing that we do with our data is, you know, when when we're putting all these trials in and it 02:22 could be a grower standard practice. Sometimes we're finding stuff that we don't really need so we can 02:28 pull back out of it. You know, when you collect this, you're always looking for that positive thing, right? So there's two sides of that we can look at the positive side 02:37 or we can look at the negative side. Sometimes we're taking stuff out and then putting something different in so there's there's one 02:44 thing that we're gonna do but you know you and I have had multiple discussion about tissue samples very um, and we don't want to talk about Chads, you know tissue sample, you 02:54 know, we'll be arguing all day Chad flies on the handle Chad flies off the handle and we did a recording we were to tell the listener if you didn't see it, he's with Molly and Stephanie from 03:03 I grew liquid. It was last year standing next to his full size corn crop and Was all over the place tissue sampling you should do it tissue sampling 03:12 is worthless to you. And then he gets them all worked up. And the reality is he did say at the final end of the deal. He says 03:18 if you go out and make a big change right now based on a tissue sample. You just pulled 11 days ago. That's probably the wrong thing to do. It's more of 03:28 a trend you're looking for to use that decision-making knowledge next year. That's how you're talking about. You you're probably 03:34 now looking at we we've had a historic problem with this field or with this that's exactly right. 03:43 So, you know talking about what we always talk about, you know, there. There's guys that have problems with foliers that they've used and they never see a 03:52 return on their investment. So how I look at my tissue samples is it's just a data bank, right? So I'm 03:59 pulling layers use tissue samples to help me this year and I pull them in different stages. Right? So one is my early emergence, 04:08 right? So when it comes out of ground cut the whole plan out. I did that last year and whatever is in majority of 04:18 my samples that I see is always been a problem. Then I can fix it in my infraro problem next year or in my tuba two. So let's say that I'm always low 04:28 in boron. You know, I can't put boron in you know, as Chad says in the ditch, you know, I can't put it in a ditch because you can't put boar on in there. 04:38 So maybe I can add that in to my tuba to so I can fix that problem there and then I take another sample at V2 and then I 04:47 can fix it in my tuba two next year or in my herbicide treatment, you know, when I make that first Passover top with herbicide, you know, so 04:57 I can you can plug and play all this to actually make you money and it can make you money by hitting you we can 05:07 make you money by taking something out. That didn't necessarily work. Let's go with a big one there. You said that twice now, so it's obviously on 05:13 your mind. You said one way about using data is to remove something. Let's face it. There's a lot of costs. 05:21 I don't know. It's it's Springer 2023 not counting cash rate or return to land value. You're still talking about what $800 to put out an acre corn on those that 05:30 sound like yeah, it's probably seven twenty five to seven fifty this year. It's down some. Okay, you're still in your cost is 05:37 still high. That's a 725 750 bucks. And so if you find with data and with actually analysis of the information like hey, you 05:46 know what we've done we've probably overused this product. Whatever should be probably probably the big things are in pnk which we always just fleeing to more of that out 05:55 there if you find out you know, what because I actually broke down this information. I found out that we were spending 17 06:01 dollars too much or whatever that thing should be you start talking about real money. And so you've mentioned that twice give me 06:08 an example of something you I'm gonna give you an example. So we always front load all of our phosphorus, right? So we did a 06:18 we did some studies last year Chad and I did where we moved some phosphorus towards the the reproductive stage, but we all all Farmers, you 06:28 know, for the most part we've front load all of our phosphorus. So we're finding out now that we can pull back on that a little bit use a phosphorus 06:37 efficiency agent up there and then kind of front load that on to the back side, you know, we'll pull it out the front put it in the further to the back and we're 06:47 getting the benefit out of that and we're actually reducing some of the rates that we're using so it's not just 06:53 that it's also like I've made mistakes by looking at my data and I've been using pgr and I'm finding out 07:02 that sometimes you know, it's just too much, you know, I'm trying to trigger it at the wrong time, or maybe I just sent it 07:11 just Little too far so I'm pulling back from some of those things and kind of coming back to a little more reality the answer me this so you talked about one and 07:21 Analysis of data told you that you were putting too much front-loaded phosphorus in but then you by 07:27 doing that you cut back your rate, but then you did some later in the season was the net reduction or was 07:33 it just a reduction at each application. So in other words, you didn't really save money on phosphorus. You just got more bang for the Buckle phosphorus 07:43 or did you actually reduce usage of phosphorus? Which a couple different things so yes, I reduce the phosphorus load because when we put on phosphorus as a 07:52 true NPK we account for that in our nutrient management program, but if I'm putting on a big load of phosphorus in the end and I'm 08:01 saving a little bit of money and I'm sticking it in the end and I'm putting it on as a foliar that does not count against me. 08:09 So it's kind of a it's it helps on both sides for me. And then I was saving a little bit of money moving a little bit of it taking a little 08:19 bit of pity out of up front which saved me a fair amount used more of it in the end and then got a better result from it. So money hidden 08:28 in the data higher yields, and I've reduced the amount of money that I put out. All right, let's talk about what you you some numbers you current or 08:38 data information. You got that you said holy crap. I think I'm deficient. Okay, and I need to be I need to be sinning. And by the way dear listener, he is the sin that 08:50 he is one of the send it twins. He and Chad Henderson if they're ever like I'm more like send it Junior because he sends he sends 08:58 he send a senior. He send us. Yeah, you're sending Junior because Chad Henderson never looked at this situation and said, oh let's 09:05 not do that. He always thinks go for the send to twins. We're going to have a little action figures I think or bobbleheads because right now guys, we have two kittens. 09:15 Lane miles has two kittens that he called the send at twins that are down in Arkansas. By the 09:21 way. I saw that and it got me a little scared becoming emotionally attached to kittens on a farm is historically 09:28 for me was usually a bad move because there's a lot of moving parts near that aren't Nursery feline friendly. 09:36 All right. When did you using data? When did you decide that you were deficient of something or you needed do something more and it turned out it was a big bang for your buck. 09:48 So one of the things that that we always Bank on, you know, I had this question the other day, um, one of 09:55 the things that we found out in years past that we can always count on a couple things in my region. It's usually going to be cool when I 10:05 first comes out of the ground, it's usually going to be fairly wet. We're usually going to be phosphorus deficient. We're 10:11 going to be manganese deficient and we're gonna be manganese deficient. Well, those three items there phosphorus feeds 10:18 energy magnes and magnesium both kind of help with photosynthesis. So those are all the things that I'm gonna be lacking in weather-wise, and 10:28 I know it's gonna show up in my plan. So I see those things into the plant in Furrow and that has dramatically helped me 10:38 in the end. If you did you have data that told you your plans for magnesium and Mangan these deficient. What was you 10:47 those two phosphorous five you you found out just tradition and then as Chad's thing is we didn't make some wholesale change 10:56 and then say I'm gonna go ahead and get out the sprayer and mix up a bunch of macronutrients and go over the top right now, you said 11:06 So here's here's what here's what drew me to this years ago. So, um, we always went through and we would 11:12 go through these periods and we would take tissue samples. And yeah, and we would chase that ghost but it never made a difference it always yes, it always green back 11:21 up but it would always green back up because it son like came out we got some heat and you would go around and you'd ask your Regional retail or you're 11:31 gonna miss an area and the first thing he would tell you I'd be like man look at my corn. It's terrible what looks yellow like what's going on? I'm freaking out and they 11:40 all say same thing we need soon and we need heat and you're gonna be fine. Well, that's true, but that doesn't do anything but 11:49 Anger me. I'm because you can't change the weather tonight because you can't change. You can't you can't change the weather and 11:56 I know that that's the answer but I don't want my plants to look like that. So we need to be proactive. So, you know that you've already lost healed this year. So take 12:06 that sample get figured out what it is and that is what is inherent through your area then fix it and you're in for a treatment. So I did and I've 12:16 never had that lag as bad as what I used to have now. Sometimes it's still there, but it's definitely way better than it ever was before it is 12:25 a really good return on your investment to do that too much data. This is something I've heard before and I can kind of understand it. Yeah, like you're combine spitting out 12:34 information your sprayer spitting on information go to the USDA and they've got information every soil consultant agronomic consultant 12:41 you have out there gives you information Temple. Let's face it. You're smart, dude, but sometimes it gets overwhelming. How do you keep them 12:47 getting overwhelmed with information? There's people out there that you can lean on and you you have to be willing to get outside of your basically get 12:58 out of your own way. Listen Damien. We all know we can't do it. All right, you know, I'm not saying that we need to have an in-house guy but we need to have somebody that 13:08 we can lean on that we can kind of push some of this data to and say hey I need some help with this or I need some help with that something to 13:15 help you dissect some problems, you know, um, you know, wouldn't you just talked about, you know, being able to have some efficiency agents in there with fertilizer. Um, 13:25 here's one that I didn't catch until the end of the season last year and it was just kind of I I kind of stumbled upon it from a 13:35 guy that kind of helps me out a little bit and he saw it in my in my in my data. He was like man, we need to go take a look at this data on these specific spots. 13:45 We ate it at side dress, you know, you ask me about something that's become. I grow or standard practice. So on one 13:55 trial that we did last year. We used some efficiency assistance efficiency agents on our side dress and we dramatically made 14:05 a big difference. In the yield because we drove some products and we drove some fertilizer with it was 14:13 NP or k into the plant. During reproduction when we made that last y-drop pass so that to me was a huge huge deal. 14:24 So it was enough bushels that I a hundred percent. You're gonna do that on all my Acres. The the adjustment again was 14:34 because I got distracted over here. Look at my notes the adjustment you made that you and it's saving you money 14:41 again. Tell me the exact thing you're doing the practice you're changing. So the practice I'm changing this year. Were it came out 14:47 of a field trial last year now when I say it was a field trial. It was like a hundred acres versus a hundred acres. It was 14:53 a Fertilizer efficiency agent, okay, and we hated it to our fertilizer. Right during side dress which you know, we call a side 15:03 dress here, but it's doing your wide drop period and we drove more fertility into that plan and we are uptake 15:10 into that plan when we took our tissue samples. Well somewhere between 18 and 23 percent higher levels of fertility in the 15:20 plant at the when we got to VT, right? So that's a big deal. That's a big deal. So answer me this about the overwhelming part of it because I get 15:29 it, you know, let's talk about you know, Analysis paralysis and all that paralysis analysis, whatever they call it. The main thing is 15:41 some people are as tough as you and me and they get more easily shook up and rattled. You and me we're on stage. You know, 15:51 we have a big mouth. Right? We have big mouths of people commonly want to take swings at us. We don't get raped by we'll get rattled by people want to take a swing ass. Let's see, you're a 16:00 little bit more easily rattled and you're like, I'm afraid to gather anymore information because I'm already rattled as it is. So I 16:06 guess the thought for them is no it's better to have the information than to not have it. Even if you don't use all of it, at least you know, what the hell's going 16:15 on is that probably the way to look at it because I mean there's a lot of there's a lot of 16:19 information sources right now about your field that we didn't have just a decade ago. 16:24 Yeah, you know, you know at our age Damian, it does become overwhelming really really fast and I think the US guys that are you know, 16:34 because of the technology that are farming because the technology and it's so much it's easier for the younger 16:40 generation to absorb some of that. So I'm starting to lean more on the younger generation to help me out with that as much as I possibly can because it does become overwhelming 16:50 and I don't get rattled by it. But sometimes I miss something, you know, so the younger generation they know how to decipher that and how 16:59 to get through it a lot quicker than what you and I do so lean on that. Yeah, like like I don't really 17:05 understand how to do this thing with this app on my phone and it to a 25 year old or maybe even if 15 year old. 17:12 Okay, so, it's me this some of the information that you hand off because how I would look at it is I would probably and I'm guessing this your approach. Maybe you've 17:21 got a Consulting agronomist. And you say all right, here's all the day that you have tell me how to interpret it. Is it more asking for the interpret or is it may 17:31 just say practices? No, just tell me what to do. Which one do you do? 17:35 It's it's not really more of practices. It's not really about hey help me interpret this. It's more of there's so much data in 17:44 there. It can just get lost in that app. Right and maybe we can't navigate it as well as the younger generation. Can you know how many times you have 17:54 you been on one of your apps that you can't navigate through it and they push a button somewhere else. You're like, where did you find that I 18:00 know so I I find myself lost sometimes you know on that end. All right answer me this I in my nose you I said combine monitor. I'm 18:10 binds used to be, you know, Gleaners of the of the crop now, they're also Gleaners of information. Let's face it. What do you interpret? What 18:20 do you take from the information? And how do you use it for decision making do you you know, okay. One thing we're doing I know is like Kelly talks about 18:29 variable rate seating and variable rate nitrogen, and it's based on Are your yields are and your maps to use that data to change 18:38 inputs next year? I use all of it. So one thing to keep in mind all this data is only as good as 18:47 the person that put it in. So it's very very important that if it's put in right in the beginning and it's in your planner monitor your sprayer mine 18:57 or whatever. It might be if that's put in right the combine just does its job and it will give you a printout at the end. Once you can get 19:06 to that point when it deciphers the yield it will give you a printout of summary of each one of the things that you want to do and it's really really 19:15 easy. So as far as the combine data, you know, whether it was a fertilizer trial a PG or trial of a variety trial whatever 19:25 it might be when I get done that form. My summary prints it right out for me. So the combine part is very very easy. 19:34 It's the rest of it is is harder because it has to be Done Right the combine just spits it out when it's done and that makes it easy. What about a decision? 19:48 You're to keep me a couple any other decisions you're making in crop year 2023 that is specifically 19:54 just from data and information gathering that you've just gotten the last year or two. Is there anything that this year when you're out there going through 20:03 planting when you're now maybe making your decisions about first treatment or even Harvest? Is there anything you say? Yep, one 20:10 thing that we're decided to do differently in 23 is this because of that? 20:15 Well, you know you asked me about changes that we've made, you know, we made some mechanical changes 20:21 as well Damian, you know. There's ways to make singulation better from the beginning and I think that our Focus, 20:31 you know, here has been singulating not just corn, you know, we talk about that one piece of corn that one plant, you know that it's a 20:41 little bit spindly or whatever and that thing is really just weed and it's sucking away from me. What's no different in soybeans. That's how 20:48 we've increased. Our soybean yields is to singulate everything. So we upgraded this year and we put parallel arms from integrated AG 20:58 or or planners and they have bearings in them. So that ride on that Machinery on that planner row. It rides 21:08 really really smooth because it as it goes up and down it's riding on a very versus the way used to 21:14 be it was metal to metal bushings. So you've got vibrating. You've got a little bit of jiggling carrying on and each time that it Jiggles 21:23 a little bit you Have the opportunity for that seed to bounce as it goes down that seed tube and that's when you can get off on your simulation. 21:31 So so basically better for you that so it's really does it. Also then vary your depth all the sudden now, I mean can vary your depth so as that 21:40 seed is coming down the tube if it gets bouncing around instead of just coming down to two and sliding down the tube and going right in the ground if it 21:49 gets bouncing and beating around in there from vibration, it can affect your depth as well. So we've improved all 21:56 of that. We've been pleased to see Deputy improve singulation corn and beans both and you know, we'll talk 22:03 about beans for just a second when you can't singulate soybeans. If you have two plans that you is a double 22:12 and then you have a little Skip and then you have plants that are singulated right correctly all in the row within the 22:18 same foot. Well, what you have is three different types of plants, you've got the ones that are doubles or a thin 22:24 line being and they're going to be at a different stage in their life. The one that there's a skip next to it is going to be a bushy 22:30 bean and then the other ones that are space correctly that is a mid bushy being so when you look at those situations and we're asking you here at 22:40 extreme Agate hate pay attention to your stages and look for these trigger points. Well, to be honest with you, there's three 22:46 different trigger points in the same field. That's what you don't want. Yeah. So all of those things are 22:52 mechanical that you can improve some of the things from the beginning to the end and that it all starts there. All right, so an information analysis 23:02 you did last year. It was really about looking at the plants and and simulation spacing, etc. Etc. And you 23:08 said you know what the problem is not the seed problems. Not the fertility. I've got the data that says that that's the good part. Sometimes 23:15 it's not just the data you didn't have you know, the data said that the fertility is fine. The seed was fine everything else 23:21 about fine. Maybe the planter is Is the problem and I can make a few amendments to my back of my planter so that the sea goes in and now it doesn't have an 23:32 excuse. So I was almost like using all the information to to sort of then point to the problem might be 23:38 the planner. Yeah, so I'll give you a for instance your number first guy, right? So the results of making that 23:46 move from last year to this year. Here's one thing you got to remember. So I've talked about the vibration. Well, there's a calculation in your planner that tells you 23:56 what that is. It's what they call good. Right? So my good ride on my planner row improve by five to seven percent over what it always has been before 24:06 my singulation has proved improves by a half a percent. That's a big deal. My plant stands have improved by three to five percent and I'm hoping for a yield 24:19 of 2% higher based on those numbers. So and I think that that's a conservative number of 2% just by all those things so 24:29 If I can improve 200 bushel corn. By two percent that's four bushel. It pays for itself all day long. 24:37 So all these things work very well and everything just systematic approach. Everything works in unison. Well, actually the last question because I really think we've done 24:46 this a good thing here about how you're using your data for decision making you talk about too much data. Where's there? Not enough data. Where is 24:52 the next thing that you want more information? Because you think you could make better decisions. Where are you lacking the information that 25:02 you would like to have to make better decisions? Truthfully, there's so much information. I just need help in this interpreting it using it. Yeah, like there's 25:14 no there's no word. I don't know. I don't know that there's so much technology out there and there's so much data sometimes, 25:22 you know, we will my father uses this a good friend of mine uses this all the time, you know, simple isn't always better but simple as 25:32 always simpler and sometimes we need a simple some of this up so we can better utilize it. I don't know that we need more data. I think 25:42 that we need to do a better job of what we have. All right, so you don't think that we're missing anything big right now? 25:51 Not right now that wasn't in the future. I don't watch this you're gonna watch this playback in five years and score remind you allegedly there was someone like in the 18th this 26:00 letter to the patent agency and said everything that's ever gonna be invented as invented. We don't need you anymore. And that's kind of like the joke right there. I don't need any more data. 26:09 We have everything we'll ever need and five years from here say good God. We didn't know what we didn't know. 26:15 I think once we do a better job, I probably got about 50 other ideas that are coming down the pike that we 26:21 could utilize but right now I think we just need to do a better job dissecting what we have last big one. We kind of called this using data 26:31 for decision making don't you think and we're not being critical because it can be overwhelming a lot of people have data and then don't make a change because we 26:41 are certainly in AG in Industry that there's lots of changes going on. But we like to cling to kind of what we always did, you know, there's a lot of people still doing stuff, 26:50 you know, there's a guy Kelly's got a neighbor up there that still fall plowed and all this field wash down the wash down the river 26:57 and yeah seems to me that that's still not me. He's not using any data or making any changes you think that maybe we've got more of 27:06 us not a data collection problem. It's a willingness to make change problem. Well, I mean sure I mean, it's really hard. You gotta 27:14 remember. We're in a very very tradition bound environment here. I mean, this is the careers that we that we chose. You know, I'm probably 27:22 doing with my father did my father's doing with his father did so on and so forth. We don't want to make changes 27:28 all we really want to do for the most part in ag industry is blaming the seed company or believe the chemistry weather no for not for or 27:37 whether for not had letting me grow more yield when it's really we're in our own way. And like I said before I've you know, we've talked about a million times. 27:48 There's money hidden this data. We just got to get to it. I think that maybe the recommendation would be because it 27:54 can be overwhelming and there's a lot of moving Parts when you farm you've got where a lot of hats and there's a lot of 28:00 things going on. To maybe not make such drastic changes that you can't sleep at night, but to take the day to take maybe two points of data like you talked about just a couple 28:12 simple things. Like you took some tissue sampling and made a big decision and you took a planter and and a way 28:18 the seed was going around you made you did like three big changes three minor mid-range changes Based on 28:24 data versus 50 changes. Yeah, and I think I think at some point I think we better get behind the fact 28:33 that we need to collect as much data as we can because at some point there's going to be some regulation and they're not 28:40 going to let us do certain things unless we do a better job of collecting the data and showing what we do that there's 28:47 a return there and it's really about not over using anything. Yeah, yeah, that's the big one probably in this Farm Bill 28:55 Temple. There's going to be more green and environmental angles on it. And so if 29:01 you have the data to prove that you've not been letting your field wash down the river or whatever. You're probably better off is kind of what you're talking about quantities and 29:11 what not. That's right. And obviously you're on the front edge of it in the Chesapeake Bay, which we've talked about a number of times. 29:17 Here's in Centerville, Maryland. His name is Temple Road. He's got a field day coming up on August 22nd. If you want 29:23 to put that on your calendar, if you're anywhere in that Eastern Shore, you're in that Pennsylvania, Virginia area. You want to go check it out. I'm gonna 29:29 be there. And also we'll remind you this you can share this with anybody can benefit from it. We've got some of the top producers that are doing Forward Thinking stuff. They're not afraid to 29:38 make mistakes. They're doing everything they can to produce bigger yields with less resources and they're sharing all their information with you. It's called Extreme AG 29:45 extreme agnot farm and you know this because you're listening right now, but does everybody you know, that could benefit from it know this 29:51 share this around please so that or people can see and hear what we're saying. We're on Acres TV. We're on our own platform at Acres Acres TV, 30:00 and we're on our own platform or stream agnot Farm if you want to go to the next level 750 dollars a year. We'll buy you a membership 750 30:06 bucks a year that's peanuts for the amount of information. You're going to get you're gonna have exclusive monthly webinars that only paying members can attend. You also get direct access to people like 30:17 so you can go to him and say hey I've got this problem. So anyway, if you're wanting to take your farming game to 30:23 the next level consider becoming a paying member until next time, he's Temple Road down day and Mason, this is extremaster. 30:29 Thanks for listening to another edition of cutting the curb for more insights and information that you can apply to your farming operation. Visit 30:35 Are your crops stressed out AG explore has you covered with a full line of products designed to reduce crop stress and improve yields check 30:45 out and start protecting your yields and topics.

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