Making an investment in analytical tools can be a financial challenge. While drones, sensors, software, and analytics have a lot to offer in terms of agronomic and operational insights, the bottom line is, how quickly can an organization expect to see a return on investment (ROI) from these tech-driven tools?

The fact of the matter is: by providing in-season, actionable insights that help farmers make real-time decisions, Sentera creates immediate value to people who advise growers, both in terms of immediate financial impact and relationship-building opportunities. Colby Woods, founder and owner of Woods Ag Services in Elkhorn, Nebraska, lists three ways in particular that he’s found his investment paying off handsomely.

 

1. Providing accurate stand count data for evaluating replanting

One way to evaluate an investment in a hardware and platform system is to consider how stand count data can affect a grower’s decisions regarding replanting. Woods can testify to a specific situation where Sentera’s technology helped a farmer consider their options—and their potential yield.

“Last year, our area experienced a lot of flooding and a hail event,” Woods said. “We flew to get stand count data, which helped us capture areas of poor stand. The farmer made the decision to replant part of a field, and the replanted corn performed 8–10 bushels per acre better than the previously planted corn, providing a return of $70–80 more per acre than if the farmer would have done nothing.”

 

2. Offering precise weed density data for managing herbicide costs

Identifying weed location through ground-truthing alone is difficult and time-consuming. Flying to map weed density offers a fast, accurate way to supplement the knowledge and create confident decision-making. Sentera technologies have proven valuable in helping advisors and crop managers, with Woods reporting that the system empowers growers to implement better-informed weed management plans, thanks to insights that pinpoint where weeds are present.

“Sentera helped us prioritize what fields needed to be sprayed and when,” Woods said. “The impact of weed pressure can cause some farmers to lose nearly eight bushels per acre, which is about a $60-per-acre profit loss. By prioritizing fields, we were able to catch weed problems before they negatively impacted yield and profits.”

 

3. Being the first person that customers call

With Sentera solutions and analytics, growers and their advisors can effectively manage inputs, predict yields, and maximize profit per acre. It’s powerful to be able to offer crucial information mid-season with clearly interpreted data that shows a grower’s best path forward, creating touchpoints that nurture long-term relationships.

For instance, Woods reports that after a catastrophic event, post-storm flights have helped his customers determine the extent of crop damage and manage the insurance claim process, plus allows an opportunity for Woods to show up for a grower in a time of need. “Farmers can share with insurance agents the data we gather using Sentera technology,” Woods said. “When insurance agents walk a field, that might not provide a full picture – but the maps FieldAgent provides make it easy to see the impact of weather events.”

There’s an end benefit to Woods’ business that clarifies the significant ROI he’s received: Sentera technologies have helped him differentiate his business and provide valuable, ongoing partnership to his customers. As Woods said, “Sentera has elevated my customers’ perception of Woods Ag Services, Channel Seed, and Climate.”