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Analyze Harvest Data to Push Performance Year After Year

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Nov. 15, 2023) – Data scientist is one of the many hats today’s farmers wear. Analyzing layers of data – and especially harvest data – shows what went well, what didn’t, and how hybrids and varieties fared. Ultimately, it equips farmers to make even better decisions for seasons to come.

“If you’re not analyzing harvest data, you’re leaving money on the table,” says AgriGold Agronomist Chris Ouzts. “There’s always room for improvement.”

Are you planting the best seed for your ground?
To start, Ouzts says farmers should make sure they:

  1. Know their soil.
  2. Look at each input as a layer that might be improved.

“It’s important to find products that best fit your management system and the soil,” Ouzts says. “Going through yield maps and other harvest data can help you gauge whether you’re planting the best hybrid or variety for that acre. It can also help you determine whether you’re seeding at an ideal population.”

If a farmer is having problems with a certain area of the field, Ouzts encourages soil testing. “That field might be deficient in some nutrient or have a drainage issue that’s holding back yields,” he says. “If a hybrid or variety didn’t perform in one location but it did across the road, that signals something might be going on below ground.”

Farmers should also make sure the disease package of their hybrid or variety matches the challenges they face. Stem canker, frogeye and southern blight are all threats for the southern farmers Ouzts serves.

Importance of tissue sampling
While harvest data reflects the summation of the growing season, tissue sampling gives farmers actionable data throughout the growing season. Both are important.

“A tissue sample can reveal deficiencies long before farmers can see symptoms,” Ouzts explains.

That heads-up is critical. “By the time symptoms are visible, yield damage has already occurred,” he says. “When farmers use tissue sampling, they have a chance to troubleshoot before issues like a macronutrient deficiency (i.e., nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur) or a micronutrient deficiency (i.e., zinc, boron, manganese, iron, copper) take a bite out of yields.”

Using data collected during the season along with the layers of harvest data tells a more complete story farmers can use as they make decisions for coming seasons.  

Why work with an agronomist?
Working with an agronomist to analyze harvest data can also give farmers a more encompassing take. “We have the advantage of being able to look at multiple years of product performance across many environments and soil types,” Ouzts explains.

“For example, I have historical data showing A645-16, a strong performer across environments, doesn’t like cool, wet conditions early in the season. Farmers relying on their own experience may not realize that.”

Field GX families can streamline harvest data analysis
An understanding of AgriGold’s Field GX family groupings can help streamline farmer analysis of harvest data. These genetic family groupings are based in part on the hybrids’ agronomic characteristics. Familiarity with those family characteristics can help farmers make inferences about why certain products thrived or struggled.

“As an example, a Field GX Family H would handle a year where we get a lot of heat units early better than some of our later grain-filling families,” Ouzts says. “Later grain fillers like Field GX F and Field GX G hybrids respond to a later shot of nitrogen.”

There’s no telling how any given growing season will go, which is why Ouzts says it’s important farmers plant several genetic families. “Planting a mix of early and later grain fillers and a range of maturities can help spread risk.”

For more perspective and support as you analyze the layers of harvest data and prepare for the season ahead, reach out to your local AgriGold agronomist.  

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