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Putting Agronomy Technology to Work


Useful Tools Help Nurture Crops for Improved Productivity

Since around 8000 B.C. when Stone Age humankind started shifting from the hunter-gatherer way of life and becoming more dependent on cultivated crops, production methods and tools have constantly been refined to help produce more food, more efficiently.

Today, technologies classified as Precision Agriculture are the latest evolution in the quest to produce more food, more efficiently. In spring 2016, Southern States® Cooperative launched three new programs, each designed to meet the individual needs of our customers. Whether, you are just getting started or have been using agronomy technology for years, Southern States has a plan, the tools and the expertise to help you make improvements to your cropping operation.

Farmer and specialist consulting in a field

Discovery Program Begins Work to Answer: Why?

In every field there are productive areas and other areas that just don’t produce as well. Southern States’ Discovery program begins with yield maps or satellite imagery of the previous crop in order to identify the good, the bad and the ugly areas of the field. Three soil samples will be taken from representative points within a 50-acre area to measure soil nutrient levels. The soil sample locations also are mapped for future use.

As the crop grows, your Southern States agronomy professional completes in-field observations to identify differences in soil type, compaction, water holding capacity, etc., that may be impacting yield. At the same time, in-season tissue samples are taken at points corresponding to the initial soil samples. By understanding the nutrients provided to the crop and the nutrients within the plants, we can begin determining why there may be deficiencies.

During this in-season visit, your Southern States representative also verifies crop health and looks for other factors such as weeds, insect pressure or disease that may be limiting crop productivity in specific areas of the field. You’ll then receive recommendations for in-season solutions such as foliar feeding and application of herbicides, insecticides or fungicides to improve crop health and performance.

Evaluation Program Benchmarks Agronomic Efforts

Southern States’ Evaluation program is a longer-term, more refined approach that establishes a baseline for your crop management program, systematically monitors and evaluates crop progress throughout the season, then offers recommendations for season-long nurturing of your crop to help it reach its fullest potential.

This two- or three-year program starts with two-and-a-half-acre soil samples in year one. Years two and three rely upon ‘production’ sampling. This includes soil sampling followed by in-season tissue sampling and visual evaluation of three specific points within 50-acre zones to spot-check nutrient levels, evaluate nutrient levels within the plants and ensure fertility recommendations are accomplishing the goals that have been set.

To keep the crop healthy and growing strong, the Evaluation program also includes in-season satellite imagery from two different time periods. This provides useful views of crop health, further pinpointing areas for in-field scouting and appropriate management solutions.

Be sure to reach out to your Southern States agronomy professional for more information on putting agronomy technology to work in your operation this season.

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