Farm Q&A App provides Professionalism and Confidence for Growers
A new app backed by AGvisorPRO CEO and Co-Founder Rob Saik promises to give Farmers confidence in their decision-making by tapping into a number of specialized Ag experts. “When an operational question comes up on the farm, you can post your question to Twitter or a forum and wait for days for sometimes nasty and often unqualified replies, or try AGvisorPRO,” Says Saik, “Who do I ask? How do I find someone? How do I find the answer to that? The burden and decision fatigue these questions create is what we’re trying to alleviate for farmers.”
Saik says the new AGvisorPRO app will help farmers avoid “Too much conversation, too many people, and too much time in on-farm problem-solving.” AGvisorPRO is an iOS or Android App that connects the queries that come up on the farm to a network of curated agronomists and industry experts.
How It Works
1. Farmers download and sign up on the app (it takes fewer than 3 minutes).
2. Farmers can then click the + ask button in the bottom center of the screen and select a category for fertilizer, crop protection, cattle production, etc.
3. Farmers are prompted to spell out their questions and given a choice to provide visuals or their location. The question is then submitted anonymously.
“The AGvisorPRO algorithm takes your question and matches it to its independent and company experts who have domain expertise in this area of interest,” he says.
4. They respond to you via text chat. Farmers can check out their credentials and choose to chat (message), immediately schedule a session by examining their calendar, or hit “connect” and instantaneously be connected via audio or video.
Farmers can also follow the anonymous questions asked by other farmers in the app’s “feed” section.
A ‘Test-Drive’ Question from No-Till Farmer Magazine
Unbeknownst to the AGvisorPRO company, No-Till Farmer Magazine tried it out with an anonymous question below. A bit of a softball question, but one that gets asked frequently. The question was immediately sent to 197 registered users, and they received 4 replies in the app, 3 of them arriving overnight. Two responses came from the Dakotas, another from Australia, and the fourth was a soil scientist who offered to discuss the question personally via chat.
Here’s the question posed and the responses that were received.
What are the main things to be asking before making a change to no-till for corn and soybeans?
What problems should be anticipated and how should they be addressed in the first year?
Phosphate and zinc starters are more important with cooler soils, because P availability is relatively low in colder soils (not fully available from soil until you are 75F range). Because you would likely use more P means Zn is important…too much P inhibits Zn uptake and vice-versa, so you want to apply them together for proper balance.
With no-tillage, to accelerate mineralization usually requires more nitrogen in general to achieve the same yields as before -- initially that is. Once you are in a true no-till system for 5-7 years, you will find the opposite to be true where you can use less nitrogen to achieve the same yields. But it takes time to get there.
So, fertility-wise, to start no-till is almost a nitrogen penalty, but once you have full nutrient cycling from residue breakdown/mineralization from no soil disturbance, it will be a nitrogen credit
Weeds: Weeds will evolve too, with no fall tillage you will notice more winter annual weeds like marestail/horseweed, shepherd’s purse, green flower pepper weed, etc. Every region has different winter annuals, but they will likely be new ones you don’t normally deal with. Generally, they aren’t hard to manage; you just want to apply herbicide in the fall to manage those weeds best.
Cover Crops: These have multiple purposes; moisture management, increased biodiversity to speed up that 5-7 year “no-till” penalty when you start no till, and even for weed management. Lots of different reasons for them depending on your area and needs.
Equipment: Residue management at harvest will be important; a good straw spreader for soybean residue is important to evenly spread the chaff/straw as much as possible. Chopping corn heads make too much matted residue and cause soils to hold too much moisture and usually don’t warm up as fast. Using rollers on corn heads that leave corn stalks intact and as vertical as possible usually makes planting into that residue much easier the following season.
Lots of variables, but hopefully this gives you a few things to think about.
1. Residue Management. Make sure your planter is set up for keeping residue out of the row, especially for corn
2. Fertility Management. Specifically, N in corn - first year no-till (and honestly the first 3-ish years) requires an extra 30-ish units of N
3. Weed Control. You won't have a tillage pass for early season weed control, so your weed spectrum will change. Be prepared for more winter annual and perennial weed species early in the season