This is the show for people who leverage the latest in technology to solve agronomic problems. If you’re interested in on-farm application of precision ag technology, you’ve come to the right place. Get ready as we unpack the insights and experiences of the agronomic minds leading our industry forward.
SWAT 016: Targeted Herbicide Applications With Trav Hair of Crop Opti Services
Trav Hair is based in Horsham, Victoria and has worked in ag for 20 years. He’s part of the agronomy team at Crop Opti Services and works closely with research and development companies at their trial site bringing new products to market. As well as looking after his own agronomy clients, Trav also works with machinery companies to help growers utilize their machinery purchases to enable them to achieve better results through the technology these machines provide. Trav shares the value they’re finding in both SWAT MAPS and the SWAT CAM, and the big strides they are making with variable rate herbicide applications.
“Any person that's stepping into precision ag, if you're doing it to save money, I think you're doing it for the wrong reason. I think stepping into precision ag is a really good platform to get a better return on investment and actually make more money at the end of the day.” - Trav Hair
2:49 - Meet Trav Hair and discover where he is from and his journey into his current role at Crop Opti Services
5:43 - Explore how Australia’s agriculture practices have stayed at the forefront of precision ag practices in development and use
7:39 - Discover the origins of mapping in the area and the pitfalls in execution and understanding prior to the use of SWAT MAPS
9:24 - Learn about the practicality of installing and using SWAT MAPS technology and the many data sets produced by them
10:37 - Explore the process from acquiring data from the SWAT MAPS to making practice changes on each individual field and operation
12:17 - Understand the economics involved in employing spot spraying technology and the amount of financial benefit some producers are achieving
15:52 - Discover the barrier to adoption for different options for “See and Spray” technology including machines, technology and chemical variety
18:45 - Learn about the catalysts that best encourage producers into exploring this technology and discovering its benefits
22:10 - Explore how variable rate fertilizers may be the best way to initiate variable rate technology onto an operation that hasn’t previously used it before. Variable rate herbicides and seeding rates are likely to follow.
26:03 - Discover the advantages SWAT CAM have provided Crop Opti Services and the producers they support
29:45 - Learn about where Trav feels precision ag will go in the future and how it has and will influence the industry going forward
As always you can learn more at SWATMAPS.com
SWAT 015: Corn Population Economics with Trent Mastny and Justin Mastny of JTM Ag
Nebraska farmers, brothers, and co-owners of JTM Ag, Trent and Justin Mastny join us to talk about their search for a system that would serve their farm better. They also discuss how JTM Ag now helps other farmers in the area take their variable rate technology to the next level through SWAT MAPS. They now combine the precision of SWAT Maps with soil and tissue sampling through Agronomy 365 and BW Fusion and have had some remarkable results. They go on to share about research they’ve been doing on population economics, experiments they’re conducting on their own farm, and their early impressions of the SWAT CAM technology.
“So what we're trying to do is we're not necessarily trying to save people's seed, we're just trying to put those dollars in areas of the field where it's gonna return their money better. So in our wetter areas, our zones seven, eight, nines and tens, we are trying to push those populations. And then as Justin said, in those lighter areas, 25, 26,000 to still get that average of 29 to 30,000. That's really what we're after… We're just trying to relocate those dollars to make you more money in those areas.” - Trent and Justin Mastny
2:12 - Meet Trent and Justin Mastney and their search for a system to better serve their farm and find out how they landed on SWAT maps.
2:26 - Discover what led to the formation of JTM Ag and what precision ag options including SWAT maps they are able to offer their clients
4:14 - Explore their personal farming operation and how they have incorporated new technologies and practices into its management
5:19 - Learn about the impact of pursuing efficiency with dry fertilizer on their operation and the benefits they have observed
6:21 - Discover how the benefits and results of SWAT maps quickly overcame their initial skepticism in using the SWAT suite of tools and how they help other producers come to the same conclusions with trials of the technology
11:14 - Explore the financial ramifications in the use of precision technology and the revenue it can generate for the producer
14:14 - Learn the many different conditions and land variability the SWAT map can account for and allow the producer to adjust his practices to best support
15:28 - Discover how JTM Ag introduces SWAT maps to an operation and the fees associated with it
16:36 - Explore what Trent and Justin feel are still challenges they are facing on their operation and how they are mitigating those issues
19:28 - Explore the ongoing research, trials and experiments Trent and Justin are conducting on their land to evaluate future technologies
22:30 - Discover what SWAT Cams are and how they can be used to benefit operations
25:53 - Hear the advice Trent and Jim share with other producers exploring practices in precision agriculture
Follow Trent Mastny @TrentMastny and Justin Mastny @JMastny27. As always you can learn more at SWATMaps.com
SWAT 014: A More Detailed Approach with Anita Renwick of A1 Agronomy
A1 Agronomy owner and operator Anita Renwick joins us to discuss her independent agronomy business in Manitoba. A1 provides soil sampling programs and in-season agronomy services in the southwest corner of the province as well as parts of southeast Saskatchewan. Born and raised on a mixed cattle and grain farm in Southwest Manitoba, Anita studied agronomy at the University of Saskatchewan. She ultimately decided to start A1 Agronomy for growers interested in maximizing the yields and looking for unbiased advice. She shares the need she saw for independent agronomy in the area, how she is helping some farmers adopt precision agriculture for the first time, and what a difference this more detailed approach is making in yields and profitability.
“That's just an example of being able to add complexity to the decision making and just really bring in the detail on those specific fields, because it's not every single field that's going into this crop that's getting this treatment. It's just the fields where this is relevant and this is a potential issue and we're trying to ensure that we do everything that we can to get the yield that we think is possible out there. So yeah, just a more detailed approach.” - Anita Renwick
2:12 - Meet Anita Renweck and explore the background she had which led her to founding A1 Agronomy
4:22 - Explore the unique benefits in hiring an independent agronomist and how the SWAT Maps program can augment their offerings
5:32 - Learn about the crops Anita primarily works with and what determines which crop is best suited for the area
6:29 - Explore the introduction of precision agriculture to producers in the area who might not be using it yet and what makes it appealing to their operations
10:50 - Understand the journey to incorporating precision agriculture in an operation and how Anita navigates that with her clients through data
11:39 - Learn about the biggest challenges Anita faces along side her clients including salinity and how precision agriculture has affected its management
16:45 - Discover the success Anita has found with precision agriculture in her business
18:44 - Explore what the future holds for A1 Agronomy and the challenges Anita expects to face
20:20 - Understand the growth of A1 Agronomy overtime and the team Anita has cultivated
23:09 - Look to the future with Anita and where she expects technology and producer needs to go
Check out what Anita is up to at a1agronomy.ca or on twitter @a1agronomy
SWAT 013: Agronomy Advantage with Deb Campbell
Agronomist Deb Campbell of Agronomy Advantage joins us to talk about her work in Ontario, Canada. Deb has a great perspective as a Certified Crop Advisor who has worked directly with farmers for many years. As you’ll hear, she not only runs a thriving business, but also has been very involved on the Certified Crop Advisor Board of Directors, the Provincial Soil Action Group, AgScape, and many other entities. Deb talks about some of these responsibilities, and of course her thoughts and experiences with precision ag tools.
“We're running very quickly into a deficit of people in this industry, in this channel, from start to finish and thinking that we're gonna do that all with robotics and computers, I think is a fallacy. So trying to cultivate that next generation to spark some interest in pursuing agriculture from the perspective of CCAs, just I'm very passionate about that and trying to open doors for young people to get them started.” - Deb Campbell
1:50 - Meet Deb Campbell and learn about the Agronomy Advantage clientele and how she has integrated SWAT maps into their offerings for clients3:56 - Get to know what technological opportunities producers in her area have available and how she helps clients choose which products will work best for them5:43 - Explore her journey into precision agriculture and how she came to find and use SWAT Maps. 8:41 - Understand the pitfalls with yield data and the difficulties producers face with trusting their results10:46 - Discover Deb’s journey from employee agronomist to independent business owner managing her team14:48 - Deb shares her involvement in the Certified Crop Advisor of Ontario Organization and the mentoring program she helped to implement there18:26 - Explore the Ontario Agriculture’s Soil Health and Conversation Strategy, who was involved in its development, the goals it is pursuing and the actions it supports going forward24:45 - Discover how soil zones can also give insight into pest management
SWAT 012: Variable Rate Planting in Potatoes with Evan MacDonald
Learn more about SWAT MAPS: https://swatmaps.com/
Evan MacDonald's Twitter and LinkedIn
Senior Precision Agronomist Evan MacDonald joins us to talk about water, potatoes, and some of his research in Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada. In addition to working full time for Croptimistic Technology, Evan began pursuing his PhD with a project focusing on variable rate seed spacing in potatoes. He now has two years of data from trials showing variable rate seeding can significantly impact potato farmer profitability. His journey has been one of identifying missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to precision ag and then trying to find and validate those pieces. And that’s what ultimately led him to SWAT MAPS.
“All in all over two years in my trial sites, it was a benefit of about $170 an acre Canadian with a variable rate seeding strategy. So I think the economic return is definitely there. We can manage these areas of our field a little bit differently just by tweaking spacing. It's not like we're putting extra fertilizer down or something. All we're doing is just kind of changing the distribution of the seed across the field.” - Evan MacDonald
2:06 - Hear about Evan’s background and his journey to Croptimistic Technology including a role in the department of agriculture and drone imaging where his focus was the impact topography and soil erosion had for producers.
4:41 - Evan explains the benefits of drone technology but also the limitations of their use and how they are a tool to be used but not solely relied upon
6:35 - Gain an understanding as to how Evan researched the use of drone imagery to predict crop yield resulting in a correlation found between the topography and water distribution to better yielding areas
7:30 - Discover how Evan first found SWAT MAPS, what appealed to him about their use and how he was able to introduce them to potato crops
9:30 - Evan explains the difference in approach and value between grid sampling and SWAT MAPS and where both can be best utilized
11:05 - Explore the benefits in managing risk, reduced inputs and higher yields Evan has observed with producers that employ SWAT MAPS
13:51 - Learn more about Evan’s research into variable rate seeding and the economic impact that technique can have
17:44 - Evan discusses the soil building crops commonly used in rotation with potatoes and the additional benefits they offer
19:11 - Discover more ways research is exploring the potential of precision agriculture focusing on variable rate irrigation
24:24 - Evan shares the potential for variable rate seeding using drone technology and the benefits of satellite imagery and the improved resolution producers are experiencing there especially when used in conjunction with SWAT MAPS
SWAT 011: Technology for Weed Management with Josh Lade
Josh Lade farms along with two other families north of Saskatoon, SK where they raise wheat, canola, peas, lentils and barley. Josh grew up on Kangaroo Island in Australia, on a sheep and seed potato farm. Upon moving to Canada over 12 years ago, Josh found a keen interest in the technology side of the business. He joins us to talk about precision weed control, his experience with the SWAT CAM, and harvest weed seed management.
“That's going to be a way that I feel that we can really prove to the wider population that we need these chemicals to be sustainable in a way that we don't have to go back and till everything, but we're putting them where we need them. We're not putting them everywhere.” - Josh Lade, Saskatchewan farmer
Follow Josh on Twitter
On Today’s Episode:
2:05 - Meet Josh Lade and discover his journey from growing up in Australia to farming with variable rate technology in Canada
3:45 - Learn how Josh has integrated newer variable rate technologies on his operation and how alkaline soils motivated him to pursue it
05:38 - Explore the unexpected benefits Josh encountered while evaluating and mapping soils including different levels of sulfur and how that helped balance the additional cost of having the soil maps created
9:44 - Discover the future benefits which affects his seed rates and input expenses that Josh has been able to achieve as he continues collecting and monitoring the data generated by SWAT maps
9:39 - Learn about the SWAT CAM used by Crop Pro and how easy it is to use and the value it provides producers like Josh for kochia management
13:53 - Hear about the value in harvest weed seed control and the use of the seed terminator that helps reduce the influence of weeds in the soil seed bank
17:31 - Explore the already realized financial benefits to these technologies
21:52 - Josh discusses how technology is best introduced and evaluated for use on his operation to determine if it will be a good investment and fit
26:54 - Josh shares some parting words of advice for any producers thinking about exploring precision agriculture and how best to introduce it
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The SWAT Agronomy Podcast is brought to you by SWAT MAPS, and hosted by Tim Hammerich.