According to Jon Zuk of WinField United, the grower of tomorrow is asking for in-season management. One tool is tissue testing. And WinField United’s nationwide program collected more than 45,000 tissue tests in 2019, which generated 600,000 points of data.
The agronomic insights can be translated into business opportunities to help growers become better in-season managers.
For retailers, Zuk says the tissue sampling program can help them with inventory strategies.
“If you have a customer who 80% are zinc deficient, you can get an adequate level of product on hand for them, and if the farmer pre-pays you can plan to take tissue samples and only apply to the acres needed, but you’re ready,” he says.
He says layering tissue samples into a retailer’s precision ag program has made the decision easier—at least in one respect.
“Operationally, retailers can leverage zone management in their precision ag program, and use the R7 Field Monitoring Tool to keep an eye on which fields have issues that may need to be addressed,” he says. “From there, crop modeling technology like the R7 Field Forecasting Tool can help retailers recommend the ideal rate of application and timing. The hard part is making the application.”
There are improvements to the program in 2020, such as new email summaries that show a benchmark and quicker view of results.
“Our goal is to help retailers show priority for which fields need the most attention so they can better position the conversation with the grower,” he says.
As trusted advisors, Zuk believes retailers have a strong position to help growers develop crop plans that will lead to success.
“I’ll say that the biggest ROI comes from managing the acre with a systems approach and a plan,” he says. “Despite whatever the weather threw at farmers in 2019, the ones with the most success were the ones who were able to stick to their plan and manage through it.”