Kalcevic Farms used to capture all input records on paper and then enter these into a spreadsheet at a later stage, which didn’t provide any options for tracking sprayer analytics or improved decision making during the season. Kalcevic Farms also received yield maps from its harvest machinery every year, but were unable to utilize them in an integrated analysis process.
After meeting with Agworld in 2018, Kalcevic Farms decided to implement the Agworld platform in their farming operation with West Operations Manager Travis Sanderson in charge of all data collection and digital technology. At the same time, Kalcevic Farms also started using Precision Cropping Technologies (PCT), which is integrated with Agworld, to analyze yield maps and create precision prescription files.
By having all spray operators enter their jobs into Agworld, Travis now has a real-time overview of what is happening on the farm and how each operation is influencing the financial situation of a particular field and its potential ROI. Because of this visibility, Travis is able to make better decisions on the fly throughout the season, leading to an improved ROI. Through Agworld’s integration with PCT, Travis is also able to analyze zones within a field and how they are impacted based on differing farming practices, leading to improved decision making as well.
Kalcevic Farms started back in 1898 and has been located in Bennett, Colorado since 1952. With the 5th generation of Kalcevics currently involved, the operation boasts 60,000 acres of land which stretches from
Denver east for 125 miles. Around 40,000 acres are planted each year to wheat, corn, millet, milo, sunflowers and forage crops.
With the sheer size of Kalcevic Farms presenting challenges in day-to-day management, adopting a digital platform to help with the flow of farm information made a lot of sense. West Operations Manager, and digital technology adoption lead, Travis Sanderson was initially just looking at utilizing yield maps that would come in from harvest crews: “These yield maps were coming in but we weren’t actually using them at all, which felt like a wasted opportunity. After a chat with our CEO, Kent Kalcevic, I got tasked with figuring out how we could make these yield maps, and other farm data, work for us as a business.”
Travis, a North Dakota State alumni who worked in the university’s wheat breeding program prior to moving to Colorado, has a natural interest in fine tuning the inputs used to grow crops in the most efficient way: “It’s hard to develop a set plan for our crops before the start of the season, as so many factors change all the time. This means that we’re constantly making decisions on-the-fly throughout the season, and having accurate data available to do so is an imperative for profitability.”
Digitizing spray operations
Prior to adopting Agworld, Kalcevic Farms’ spray operators would create paper records of all their spray operations, which would then retrospectively get entered into a spreadsheet. Travis: “Although this system satisfied the most rudimentary record keeping requirements, it didn’t help us at all with any information or metrics that can help shape our in-season decision making process. So, when Kent Kalcevic tasked me with leading our digital technology adoption, I knew that this was one of the first problems we needed to address.”
“When I found out about Agworld and the Agworld - PCT integration I realized that, between Agworld and PCT, we could fix our input record keeping system and start to make use of our yield maps. Fast forward to 2020 and all spray operators at Kalcevic Farms utilize Agworld, with them
entering an ‘actual’ in Agworld as soon as a field application is finished. Because of this, we’re getting some very detailed sprayer analytics and I have access to real-time financials for each field.”
Travis continues: “We now also have our yield maps available in PCT creating precision prescriptions, which we didn’t do previously. Being able to visualize zones within a field and how they are impacted by differing farming practices is also very useful to us; it’s another piece in the profitability puzzle and it helps us make better decisions.”
“Having Agworld in-place on our farm also helps with getting new colleagues up-to-speed a lot quicker in our operation. Everyone with access to Agworld is able to see our field history, capabilities of fields and specific zones etc., which is great for rapidly getting an understanding of a large operation such as ours.”
Utilizing data to improve results
Having access to real-time application information, and the financial metrics tied to these applications, at any time during the season has been very helpful to the team at Kalcevic Farms. Travis: “With having all this field-level information available through Agworld, I am able to make accurate input decisions on the fly because I know to the penny what a chemical will cost per acre. This kind of visibility and improved decision making, is making our operation more profitable, no doubt about it.”
“Agworld and PCT are data repositories for us, where we can store as much information as possible and then work out how we can use that information in our own advantage. Yield maps from custom crews, spray applications, field observations, etc. - everything gets stored as much as possible. The fact that Agworld is not charged per acre, but per company instead, makes it very attractive for us to use; the costs are very low whereas the upside is only limited by how much and how well we utilize the software.”
When talking about the future of digital technology at Kalcevic Farms, Travis has a couple ideas of what they’re aiming for: “We’re hoping to get a lot more accurate ROI for seed, fertilizer and chemicals in every situation that is thrown our way. Having that background knowledge, that real ROI, on how much nitrogen should be applied in a specific area, that will be our next big focus.”
Travis concludes with: “For Kalcevic Farms, growing crops is not about maximizing the amount of bushels that we harvest, but rather the ROI we achieve on each acre we farm, and Agworld helps us achieve that. Only by gaining visibility through a system like Agworld, can we see true cost and true ROI and uncover ways to improve this. Moving forward, we’ll keep progressing and dialing-in our systems; our operation will become more datadriven every year.”
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Achieving efficiencies by collaborating on the same platform
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