Minimize input angst
The USDA 2012 Farm Sector Income Forecast projects total production expenses will rise $12.5 billion (3.9%) to $333.8 billion. While not as large as the increase in 2011, it's still an increase. This forecast is the second consecutive increase of over $10 billion. In six of the last eight years, increase in expenses has been in the double digits.
Fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, and oil expenses are forecast at $56 billion in 2012, putting them $655 million (1.2%) higher than in 2011. While this increase may be small compared to the $10.5 billion (23.4%) rise in 2011, it's still added input costs that producers have to budget for.
Agricultural economists at Purdue University forecast a rise of 12% to 16% in total variable costs for producing corn, soybeans, and wheat.
As input costs continue to rise, it's important to be on the lookout for tools that can aid in purchasing decisions.
With the recent acquisition of the SGIS business and software product from AGCO Corporation, Topcon Precision Agriculture is drawing on the SGIS Agronomy software heritage (which for over 20 years was sold almost exclusively in the ag retailer market) to develop its latest product — SGISfarm — to help better manage rising input costs.
This new system utilizes field data collected from soil testing, GIS mapping, and yield monitors to help make better crop input decisions. It features a simple, reliable process for creating variable-rate crop input maps by focusing on basic but proven recommendation methods. These methods are then prepackaged as templates, thus, eliminating the need for users to learn the complex process of writing equations.
“SGISfarm was developed to allow Topcon to offer full farm solutions and to complete the value proposition of its many hardware products, including all of its consoles or controllers, such as the X20, GX-45, and new X30,” says Joe Tevis, Topcon Precision Agriculture director of agronomic products and services. “This specialized farm data management software specifically targets precision farming for the owner-operator.”
With its exclusive process, SGISfarm can “reliably create variable-rate application maps for all Topcon consoles,” Tevis says. “Used with the new Topcon X30 console, it will seamlessly manage as-applied data, which can be used in printed reports and in future fertility recommendations.”
Tevis says SGISfarm offers tight integration with a number of machines from AGCO, which is a Topcon strategic partner.
“With the high cost of seed, it is an excellent tool for use with variable-rate seeding, turning data of choice into VRC seeding maps for AGCO White planters, as well as those planters equipped with Dickey-john controls,” he says.
The system is able to create variable-rate maps for virtually all of the common controllers used for application and seeding control. It is also compatible with the monitors of other combine brands.
“In addition to supporting these monitors, it can easily merge data when multiple combines are used in the same field. SGISfarm also adds value to Topcon CropSpec sensors by providing tools to visualize field data and to modify a proposed application,” says Tevis.