In the four years that Craig Houin has been with Sunrise Cooperative in north-central Ohio, the company’s use of precision agriculture has changed by leaps and bounds. A big part of that change has been transitioning from MapShots EasiSuite to the MapShots AgStudio platform.
“I grew up on a small farm but I’m a techie,” says Houin, now Data Management Lead for the cooperative, which covers counties from Cleveland to Toledo down to Marian and Zanesville. “So all the new tools and technologies are very exciting to me. About 90 percent of our work is done in AgStudio PRO now.”
Houin leads the Sunrise team in handling data for roughly 300 corn-soybean-wheat growers. They use AgStudio to process yield maps and manage variable rate technologies for seed, fertilizer and lime recommendations, as well as handle tillage and harvest data.
In particular, Houin likes the functionality of AgStudio. “Even with the recent modifications which really changed the face of AgStudio, the platform is still very intuitive,” he says. “I also like the speed of operation. Bouncing between growers doesn’t take as long as it used to.”
In addition, AgStudio’s cutting and analysis tools make a seamless operation out of running a treatment analysis. “With the different cutting tools, we’ve been able to overlay the yield data over management layers,” explains Houin, who has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Purdue University. “We can move it out of AgStudio, make our modifications and then move it right back in. It really helps our efficiencies to get the right product on the field and have the right formulas in there.”
Having the import feature, AgDirector, as an external operation frees up Sunrise’s field team to keep working even while the yield data is uploading. “That really paid off last fall during harvest when everything needed to be done in a period of weeks,” he adds. “Bringing it in from the backside — outside the program — further increased efficiency for us.
“At the end of the year, we look at our growers’ harvest records and see how the management programs they put into place have affected their yields,” adds Houin. “The goal is to help our growers improve efficiencies in their current operations. But the program is still young — we piloted it last year and hope to roll it out company-wide soon.”
Houin began working with GeoVantage through AgStudio this year and found it very helpful, as well. As MapShots works with more and more precision ag providers, it becomes an even more valuable tool, he says.
“AgStudio is a very good program particularly in regard to speed and efficiencies,” says Houin. “The modifications they’ve come out with in the last few years have done nothing but enhance the performance of the program. We are eagerly anticipating what MapShots comes up with next. It all helps us help our growers!”
Craig Houin – Data Management Lead – Sunrise Cooperative – Fremont, Ohio