Where do I start with Precision Nutrient Management?

In the current climate, it’s more important than ever to use all the tools in the toolbox to cut costs. There’s no better place to start than with more targeted management of your inputs, such as fertiliser. Whether you’re applying manually and need to figure out how to begin using Precision Ag to lower your costs or you’re a seasoned technology user looking to make some further improvements, it can be tough to know where to start. 

Shane, one of our Trimble Hardware Specialists, ran us through the process of applying Precision Nutrient Management (PNM) to your farm operation. Here’s what he had to say. 

What’s the leading issue you’re hearing out there right now that leads people to look at PNM? 

Right now, it’s all about saving costs and making an impact on the bottom line. The rising cost of fertiliser is making PNM a no-brainer for most farmers and growers as our nutrients just get more expensive.  

Where do I start if I’m thinking about using technology to lower input costs? 

It all depends. If you’re starting from scratch, we’ll see what equipment, machinery, and data you have already. We walk our customers through the process with a phone call or site visit to see what’s there and what they’ll need to meet their goals.  

An essential piece of equipment will be a Display, generally a GFX-750, and a Receiver such as the NAV-900 to get the functionality you need. An ISOBUS connection, such as in the Field IQ system will mean your equipment can talk to any tractor, so you’ll be able to use what you have already. This will allow you to start collecting data using the right Trimble Ag Software, which your local rep will talk you through too. 

A lot of customers like to add autosteer into the mix to avoid overlap, which uses excess nutrients, to save costs as well. But again, it depends how much functionality you’re looking for. 

If you’re already collecting data with Precision Ag technology, we’ll be looking into what you’re currently using, what data you’ve collected, and where the areas of improvement are. When we’ve decided what you need to meet your requirements, we’ll give you some figures for different options. 

What happens once I’ve got the hardware I need?

Once we’ve agreed on what you’d like to go ahead with, we’ll get a Vantage NZ rep out to your farm to install the products and give you some training to show you how to use them. First, it’s about getting you started collecting the data and getting used to using the technology. Once you run with that for a few weeks, we often have another site visit to check in, see how things are going, and answer any questions.  

At this point, customers usually feel pretty comfortable using their technology so it’s a good time to give you more training to take things to the next level. 

How do I make the most of my hardware to better manage nutrient application?

Once you’re up and running, we can apply the right PNM strategy to save costs on inputs and make life easier.

Your ISOBUS connection will have your equipment talking to your Trimble hardware and software, automatically populating all your information onto the Trimble Display screen. This means you don’t have to have multiple screens for everything in the cab! 

Autosteer will have the tractor automatically follow the GPS to make sure you’re applying nutrients precisely and avoid overapplication (and overpaying for nutrients). 

By unlocking variable rate application, you’ll see a map that changes colour that shows exactly where nutrients are needed and not needed. Once unlocked, the technology will automatically apply nutrients in each paddock based on your map – meaning you’re only applying where it’s needed – reducing the amount of product you’re using and your risk of product leaching. We work with all nutrient management companies to enable variable rate application nationwide.

Vantage NZ can help with making variable rate application maps using a large range of data layers, including satellite imagery, grid or zonal soil sampling, and if required UAV imagery. 

Really, we customise each PNM solution to the customer and their goals, so it’s all about having a chat with us to figure out what best suits your business from the outset.

Find out more about PNM here or get in touch with your local rep at Vantage NZ.

Manage your nutrient application with precision

What’s the biggest issue we’re hearing in the agricultural industry at the moment? The truth is it’s three-fold: 

  • Costs on inputs are rising – particularly on sprays, fertilizer, and seed
  • Nitrogen caps – our customers are adjusting their practice to meet caps on nutrient inputs to meet regulation
  • Productivity – improving ROI by ensuring the best yield of plant and pasture growth

Key to meeting all three of these challenges is precision nutrient management (PNM). To manage your nutrients efficiently – reduce input costs, meet environmental regulation, and increase yield – you first need some good data. 

Getting your soil nutrients measured is an important step helping you to utilise PNM strategies. A soil test will tell you where your soil has high and low nutrient load, allowing you to use variable rate application to apply your nutrients only where they’re needed. This improves your environmental footprint while ensuring your farm is reaching its maximum potential. 

High nutrient load

The areas of your paddocks that have high nutrient load already have enough nutrients to support upcoming crop or pasture growth. That means there’s no, or at least significantly reduced, need to spread fertiliser! Using a blanket rate application, you’d be spreading unneeded fertiliser, wasting money and risking a higher chance of over-application and leaching. Although it’s not required for your Farm Environmental Plan, minimising nutrient input helps your case in showing your commitment to meeting environmental regulations.

Low nutrient load

Areas of low nutrient load in your paddocks don’t have the required nutrients to support crop and pasture growth. This is a missed opportunity, as these areas aren’t reaching their full yield potential! When applying blanket rate fertiliser, these areas may not get enough nutrients – meaning they could be producing more toward your bottom line. 

Precision Nutrient Management

Employing a PNM strategy allows you to reduce nutrient application in areas with high nutrient load and increase application in areas with low nutrient load. With this precision ag data, you can ensure that each area of the paddock is getting the nutrients it needs to ensure maximum yield. This keeps you as environmentally friendly as possible while maximising your ROI. 

Most of our clients who utilise PNM pay for their soil tests in their lime savings alone – every other nutrient saving is an added bonus to your bottom line. 

On top of that, it’s helpful to have precision data to add to your FEP, showing your compliance with environmental regulation. 

Take the guesswork out of farm nutrient management and stop blanket rate application. Talk to the team at Vantage NZ today about Precision Nutrient Management.

Soil – the key to balancing profit & environmental regulation

Soil affects everything in agriculture – from seed to irrigation, fertiliser and herbicide use, to the ultimate goal of food and fibre growth. One thing we know about soil is that it’s variable – it changes from one point of your property to the next. That means knowing your soil’s unique properties across the farm is key to effectively managing your inputs and maximising profitability.  

Continue reading

Three steps for a successful harvest season

With harvest just around the corner, it’s important to have one eye on the future planning your success. In an arable farming system, this is a key time of year to maximise capturing every last grain that contributes to yield and annual performance. It’s what you strive all year for, one decision after another – to grow the best crops and maximise your performance and profitability. A crucial component of good planning is capturing your yield data so that you can track and optimise your farm’s performance. As always, there’s plenty going on in farming and with Christmas and New Year tied up with the time most arable farmers start, it’s easy to feel rushed and drop some of the important aspects of harvest setup and success.

 

Here are three key steps to ensure harvest success and maximise your yield data.

 

  1. Before harvest – make sure your combine is serviced, your displays/screens are working (and tested), your wiring looms are installed in your combine (if you’re planning on swapping GPS from one machine to another) and that last season’s yield data on your data card, memory stick or display is downloaded and saved (preferably with a backup) safely for future use. This is also an important time to set up your display with the correct paddock and crop names so that when it comes time to pull that header into the paddock, it’s good to go.
  2. During harvest – when you pull into the first paddock on day one, try to take your time. Make sure everything is set up and working correctly (GPS, moisture meters, flow meters) and that you perform some yield calibrations to get the data recorded as accurately as possible. There’s no need to get too hung up on this if final paddock weights will be available for post-processing yield data, but it’s important to make sure you will end up with accurate data to give you good insights on your yield performance. After the first paddock, we also suggest downloading and checking that the data is recording and mapping correctly.
  3. After harvest – Engage with your precision ag consultants to get the data processed as fast as possible. This ensures you maximise your decision-making time and can use your data to guide decisions for the upcoming season – eg variable rate nutrient replacement and/or variable rate seeding. This data is gold and the more years of yield data put together, the more you identify opportunities to tweak your management practices to optimise profitability across all areas of your paddock or farm.

 

Vantage New Zealand are your local precision ag experts, with reps located throughout New Zealand. To find out more about how we can help you maximise your yield data, call 0800 482 682 or visit https://www.vantage-nz.com/yielddata

 

Season and multi-season discounts available when you book before 31st December, 2021.

How are you using your data?

Now is the ideal time for growers in our arable sector to be thinking about their yield data. But, we get it, things come up! One of the key challenges faced by our customers is finding the time to capture and use their data as things get busy leading up to harvest.  

Let’s take a dive into some of the challenges our customers face this time of year and the small steps you can take now to make the most of your harvest this season.

Doing the doing

Many of our customers find themselves caught up in the myriad of tasks there are to do on-farm and don’t find the time to plan things out. All of a sudden, another season has come and gone, business as usual! We’re too busy doing the doing out in the field to get all the tech and planning sorted ahead of time.

Overwhelm

Precision Ag technology gives us a bunch of data to work with that can be overwhelming! Even if we capture the data correctly (which we encourage you to do – good data is key!), there’s so much to look at that it’s hard to know where to start and exactly what to pull out of it.

Finding value

That’s where the nitty-gritty comes in. Knowing exactly what data to look at and how that can turn into real value for your business is key to improving your profitability. Data is gold and the truth is, the better your data the more value you have to gain from it. But you have to know where to look.

Take the first step

Improving your business, and your bottom line, is all about taking the first step. Many farmers have already paid for the tech and just need to learn how to utilise it to get more value and improve profits! We recommend all farmers take the first step by utilising their technology this season to accurately record the first year of data on-farm. Once this is captured, you can begin to harness that information to extract value, improve efficiency, and reap greater profits from your farming practices.

Information is key.

To find out more about pre-harvest training and how to make the most of your yield mapping data, get in touch!

Trimble RTX Beam Transition

Attention

There is Trimble RTX satellite beam transition happening in New Zealand, which will require you to change your frequency and baud rate on your GNSS receiver before September 30, 2021. 

This affects all GNSS receivers using CenterPoint RTX, FieldPoint RTX, RangePoint RTX, ViewPoint RTX and xFill correction services.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this change, however it allows us to continue to make enhancements to our RTX correction services. The new satellite beam, RTXPA, will be available on August 2nd, 2021 with 8 weeks of dual operational period. This means the new satellite beam will run 8 weeks in parallel with the current RTXAP satellite beam.

We encourage you to change your settings as soon as the new satellite is available using the instructions you can find at

What is changing? 
Trimble RTX is being moved to a new satellite beam, RTXPA. You will no longer receive correction data from the current RTXAP satellite (1539.8325 Mhz, 600 baud) after September 30, 2021. Please change the frequency and baud rate on your GNSS receivers to use the new RTXPA satellite (1545.2725MHz, 1200baud) as soon as possible after the second of August.

When is it happening?
The new RTXPA satellite beam will be available starting on August 2nd, 2021. The old RTXAP satellite will stop broadcasting correction data on September 30, 2021.

How will I continue to receive GNSS corrections after this change?

You need to manually input the frequency and baud rate for the RTXPA satellite beam:
● Within the Trimble RTX settings on your GNSS receiver, change the RTX satellite by manually entering the frequency and baud rate for the RTXPA satellite, shown in the table below.
● Instructions are available at trimble.com/sat Satellite Beam Frequency (MHz) Baud Rate (bps) RTXPA 1545.2725 1200

For more information:
Get in touch with any of our Vantage NZ Trimble Hardware Specialists

Russell Van de Laak: 021 874 622
Wade Riley: 021 874 602
Cam Burmeister: 027 261 0708
Shane Blampied: 027 380 5332
Daniel Magill: 027 547 4747

Or you can go directly to the Trimble Customer Care team who is standing by to help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

New Zealand:
Phone +64 3 354 9195
Toll Free 0800 888 864
Email nz_corrections@trimble.com 

2021 Zimmatic Trail Blazer Sustainable Irrigation Awards

The 2021 Zimmatic Trailblazer Sustainable Irrigation Awards is now on and entries are open!
 
The Awards celebrate excellence and recognises New Zealand farmers demonstrating leadership in water management and environmental stewardship. The judges are looking for steps taken to ensure sustainable water use on farm and an obvious passion for protecting one of our most precious natural resources. They had an overwhelming response from farmers last year in terms of entry numbers. This year, they would like to invite you to lend your support and help us build on this success.
 
Please help us spread the word through your own networks and encourage farmers in your area to enter themselves or nominate someone else that they think is deserving. You may even have friends or neighbours who are worthy of being nominated. If so, please put their name forward! This year’s competition is open to New Zealand farmers who irrigate more than 25ha.

The online entry and nomination process is simple, just visit the Awards website irrigationtrailblazer.com and click the red links on the home page to access the appropriate form. You can find out what impressed our judges last year in our two part leading submission summary; click here for Part 1 and Part 2. We hope this provides you with some insight into why the leading entrants from the 2020 awards caught the judging panels eye!

 

Soil Moisture Probe Site Servicing

Soil Moisture Probe Site Service

 

Servicing your soil moisture probe sites gives your telemetry the best chance at performing well – and is a service we offer! As seen below, these are common problems our technicians come across in the field; pugging, chewed cables, and blocked rain gauges. Whether you use your data to guide your decisions on farm or you simply rely on your data for auditing and compliance purposes, these issues won’t be helping your case.

Our soil moisture site service includes a rain gauge calibration, because over time being exposed to the elements, things can change. If you feel that your rain gauge data is out of line, we are more than happy to calibrate it for you. We also check over the quality of data your probe is creating to ensure that it is settled and as accurate as possible. Whilst on site, an assessment of the surroundings is taken to see whether moving the probe would be beneficial, that solar panels are facing north, no pugging has occurred, and that rain gauges aren’t blocked. An annual soil moisture report is then crafted up by one of the technicians for you to keep and reflect over for the coming months. Any further advice required will be also given.