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Michigan Farmer Uses Trimble Ag Software to Fine-Tune His Farming Operation
When corn was $7, Michigan farmer Ed Groholski could do no wrong.
“Now I’m back to the times I grew up in,” says the third-generation farmer. “It’s the pennies that keep me in business – not the dollars.”
Tracking every cent that flows in and out of his business means Groholski has to employ a farm-management system that will allow him to easily and efficiently see where those pennies will matter most. Two ways he’s achieving that goal are by leveraging technology he invested in years ago and taking advantage of his Trimble representative’s technical expertise.
“When I met Ed, he had done his research on how he wanted to expand his use of technology, and I was looking for someone who had a basic understanding of what he wanted to accomplish,” says Jeff Moore, Farm Depot. “I was sometimes playing catch-up to him when it came to utilizing a product or a service to accomplish specific tasks he had in mind.”
Groholski, who grows corn, soybeans, and wheat, and feeds out 250 head of cattle each year, has been using Farm Works software since he began farming over two decades ago.
“In the early 1990s, some companies had their own spin on what farmers needed to be better managers,” he recalls. “I was part of a farmer user group who looked at several different programs. Farm Works offered a complete package I could purchase in modules for crops, livestock, accounting, etc.”
When Connected Farm came out, Groholski was one of the first to spend money on the software because he kept running into problems with data – either the USB didn’t make it back to the office or it was lost entirely. So, the gaps in information were too wide to ignore.
“You can imagine the variances I saw. Connected Farm eliminated the middleman and gave me the advantage of a much easier way to return the data back to the main frame,” he says.
“Ed was an early adopter of precision technology and has remained in the top 5% of early adopters in my customer base,” says Moore.
fixed on features
As margins tightened, Groholski dug deeper into the software to fine-tune his operation.
“For example, I was able to draw a better boundary for a management zone by noticing the speed of a tractor pulling a strip-till machine,” says Groholski. “All of a sudden, it dropped a half mile per hour. When I pulled the field up, it was going through a different soil type, which caused the change.”
By changing the legend, the software also allows him to break down yield maps and to look for variations.
“If I want to look at something like speed vs. yield because I have a different operator in the combine, Farm Works lets me do that. That operator may be doing a great job because he’s covering a lot of acres. But is he costing me in yield because he’s moving through a field too fast?” he asks.
Groholski is also able to manage from afar. “I can track a driver from my tablet or laptop and know that in three hours he will be done in a field or that in two hours he will need to refill,” he says. “I am able to multitask at that point.”
If he is using the harvest function with yield monitoring and mapping, he can see when 50% of the field is harvested and how much grain it has produced. “Based on that information, I know if I’m going to need more bin space or if I should sell some grain,” he says.
Data also provides an audit trail. “If there is a question on the amount of fertilizer or pesticide I used in an area, I can generate a report to show where and when a product was applied,” notes Groholski.
Attention to detail will sustain him through tight times. “I’m trying to grow a crop in as economically and environmentally friendly way as possible – yet, still produce a quality product for the marketplace,” he says. “Trimble Ag Software is verifying that the practices I employ are providing an economic return.”