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Sentera > Articles > Keep the Gears Turning: Grower Engagement During Off-Season
sustainable agriculture
Keep the Gears Turning: Grower Engagement During Off-Season
| October 21, 2022 |

With the trees changing and the days getting shorter and colder, harvest 2022 is underway – and for many, it has wrapped up already. This time of year provides the first tangible look into overall performance – freshly harvested crops provide a new look into what was produced this year. Growers are finally seeing the product of their hard work this year, and this might seem like the end-all, be-all, but in agriculture, we all know there is no real off-season.   

There is constant evaluation, reflection, and planning rotating through growers’ minds. This is where you come in – as an agronomic advisor, it is essential to provide the solutions that growers seek. Whether this is insights, technologies, services, and more that can play a role in optimizing yield and minimizing problem areas.    

So, what can you do to assist growers throughout post harvest?  

  • Consider how you can address any potential issues your growers are likely to face, both within and outside of your control   
  • Anticipate what products, services, and insights your customers will be interested in  
  • Predict what questions they will ask, what their next season will entail, and what they might need  

 

Considering the Issues Growers Face  

Thinking from a grower’s perspective enables the ability to consider what problems growers face and provide insight into potential solutions. Allows the true assessment of how to help during and post-harvest. Maintaining a successful and strong relationship with your grower comes down to more than just responding to their problems once they have already occurred. It comes down to assisting throughout, providing the tools and insights they need, and helping them prepare for potential issues.   

The agriculture industry faces a wide assortment of issues each year – some anticipated and some unpredictable. This past year alone has been riddled with a variety of conflicts, from labor shortages and supply chain issues to weather and mother nature. And this won’t just affect this year, the economic problems fall into an unknown category – there is no expiration date for these problems growers face. This creates a feeling of uncertainty and makes everyone question what the next years will look like. 

Getting a birds-eye view offers big-picture thinking, but honing in on specific details allows you to engage with growers and identify potential problems that can be detrimental to performance. Technological advancements have played a significant role in strengthening the ability to do so. Using drones to capture images means nothing without expert insight and context; identifying and explaining problem areas to growers impacts adjustment. 

 

Anticipating How Technology Can Help 

Technology serves a variety of functions in the agriculture industry – one of its most significant being fueling decision-making. It also can assist in overcoming the challenges that growers face throughout the year. Not only do they serve to solve problems, but technology can also provide insights into preventing them from occurring and worsening. 

As the agricultural industry continues to evolve through the fourth industrial evolution, technology becomes more imperative to the everyday work within the industry.  

Technology, for instance, allows proper assessment and aids growers by preparing for problems before they occur and to react when issues arise. Within this realm, drone technology and supportive software provide early detection and analytics that fuel decisions and optimize productivity. 

Using a drone can capture high-resolution aerial imagery, such as multispectral indices, which can give an indication of crop health and performance to predict and protect yield throughout the season.  

Beyond that, the indices can be translated into detailed analytics for Stand Count, to understand emergence and inform replant decisions; or even Tassel Count, to predict end-of-season yield and influence treatment decisions. Using a software platform like FieldAgent can provide visualizations for these data sets, providing the opportunity to view, report, and analyze what’s happening within the field to inform critical business decisions.  

From analyzing field performance to identifying technologies to optimize next year’s productivity – the insights gathered from the year before can play a crucial role in the success of the years to come. This fuels predictions in crop performance, productivity, necessary resources, etc. and can help make those big decisions. 

 

Predicting the Next Growing Season 

Just as fast as this season ended, the next growing season will begin – so it is never too early to begin preparing for its start. After reflecting on this last year, it is important to encourage growers to take what they learned and apply that knowledge to predict the next. What worked best? What needs change? How do this year’s findings help me this next growing season?  

Ag technology plays a role in giving a more in-depth look into performance based on the imagery and data collected through the years – driving next year’s predictions. Using a software platform like FieldAgent can offer tools to help elevate the experience you provide your growers. Web reports serve as a leave-behind that highlights specific data-driven insights needed to anticipate future needs and help push goal development. These reports give perspective on not only field performance but also other factors, like weather, that played a role in this year’s harvest results. By intaking all the data from these reports, you’re geared with the knowledge to help make important adjustments for the future. 

By using technology to evaluate last season and build predictions and goals for the next year, growers can make critical decisions faster and more confidently. With already limited resources and higher costs, planning can assist in mapping out what is needed before resources become too scarce to obtain. The supply chain issues are predicted to continue into 2023, creating potential conflict for getting the resources needed in such a high-demand time.   

By starting the reflection and analysis process early, growers can get the insights needed to prepare for the next growing season. You can assist in this process by thinking of what they need and why they need it. This allows making those early critical decisions to save the grower time and money while ensuring they get the resources needed for a successful 2023 season.     

 

Learn more about staying engaged with growers through each stage of the grower season by downloading Sentera’s ’23 Grower Engagement Guide.   

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