When my wife and I welcomed our first baby late last year, a lot changed in our lives and we have been blessed with so many new experiences - which I’m sure sounds familiar to everyone out there that has kids themselves as well. While many of these experiences are completely new to me and have nothing in common with anything I had ever done previously in my private or work life, one of the processes drew some strangely familiar parallels with my role at Agworld and I thought I’d share them with you in this article.
When my wife became pregnant she went to the doctor’s office to have regular checkups, and I joined her on quite a few occasions. During these checkups, the doctor would perform an ultrasound and we’d be able to see our baby moving around and hear the heartbeat - surely one of the most wonderful moments of my life. On those occasions where I didn’t join her for the checkup however, she would come home with a little printout of this exact same ultrasound to show me. While it was the exact same image that we would have seen on the monitor during the examination, it never quite felt the same to me and somehow it seemed less ‘real’ or ‘exciting’.
I was thinking about this last week when I was chatting with an agronomist who uses Agworld for his agronomic planning, recommendations and geospatial data storage. This particular agronomist is contemplating asking more of his clients to join him on the Agworld platform so that they can all see the same information displayed digitally. When I asked him what his motivation for this step is, his answer was quite interesting: “When I just send a grower a PDF document of my plans, recommendations, yield maps or soil test results, it seems to be pretty distanced from the field to them.”
“I feel it is hard for growers to relate what they see happening in the field, to what they see written on a piece of paper. But, as soon as I sit with them and show them their fields in the Agworld app on my iPad, they get a lot more engaged. Once the information becomes interactive and you can look at different fields, select different data layers and compare scenarios, ‘just having a look’ quickly turns into a detailed analysis. What I want to achieve with my growers is to work together with them as closely as possible to achieve the best results throughout the season; having a grower actively engaged with what I do is a necessary ingredient in maximizing the grower’s bottom line.”
What happens a lot between agronomists or ag retailers and their grower clients is that yield data or soil test results only get viewed once a year by a grower when they receive the piece of paper from their advisor, and that this valuable data sits unutilized for the rest of the year. When an advisor and a grower collaborate throughout the season on the same platform that holds all their plans, recommendations, field records and geospatial data, their in-field data will see a lot more use as it becomes a lot simpler to overlay a data layer on a field and use it for new and novel analyses and investigations.
For some growers and agronomists that have never digitized their farm data, it might be hard to imagine how much more they will get out of this same data once it’s available to them on a platform that offers all sorts of analyses, comparisons, dashboards and different views. But, assuming that most of you have either children or grandchildren, I’m confident that you can relate to my feelings regarding an ultrasound on a monitor versus on a piece of paper. I can guarantee you that you’ll feel the same about your farm data once it’s digitized and, similar to welcoming your first child, you don’t know what it’s like before it happens, but you just have to trust others when they say that ‘it’s the best thing that ever happened to me!’
I better go heat another bottle and change a diaper now, but please feel free to call me on 724-249-6753 if you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss the above further.