Making his farmer-customers more efficient in managing their operations is William Nichols’ goal in collecting and processing data for roughly 500,000 acres in the Missouri Bootheel and eastern Arkansas. The GIS analyst for Greenway Equipment, a John Deere dealer, Nichols covers the company’s 27 stores from company headquarters in Weiner, Ark.
“Many of our farmers are way too busy to process their own data,” says Nichols, who graduated with a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Tennessee in 2012. “We collect, process and analyze their data to help them potentially improve efficiencies. The data allows them to see what worked and what didn’t.”
Nichols handles all his yield data processing through MapShots AgStudio software. “It’s an easy platform,” he says. “We can do multiple analyses without switching to multiple platforms. We like the user friendliness of AgStudio.”
Greenway uses MapShots for yield analysis, as well as some recordkeeping. “We’re not making agronomic decisions for the customer but we do put in the calculations so they can run them on their own,” notes Nichols. “If one of my farmers harvests a crop one day, I can sync the information, do an analysis by the following day, and give it to him for immediate use in his operation.”
AgStudio provides an easy way for Nichols to show how many acres were planted, what varieties were used, what was applied and what the yields were.
Catching Mistakes and Boosting Yields
“The software can also catch mistakes made,” adds Nichols. “For example, one of our large growers didn’t realize he never used a pallet of seed. We pointed it out and the seed company credited the amount back to him. That paid for his entire service with us that year.”
Farmers in the Greenway coverage area grow mostly corn, soybeans, cotton and rice. “We are very flat, so having historical data from yield maps really helps,” explains Nichols. “If there’s a depression in a field, we can recommend making a slight change to potentially boost yields in that certain area. For instance, they could do some grade work and fix that depression.”
With the combination of data layers available in AgStudio, Nichols can run a yield analysis to pinpoint any number of yield-limiting factors. Now that AgStudio SELECT is available, Nichols has encouraged his customers to adopt it, as well. SELECT provides mobile access to AgStudio data in the field — or wherever they are — through the use of tablet devices.
“AgStudio SELECT is new, but several of our farmers really like it,” he adds. “It’s great because you don’t have to be sitting in your office to access your data. I’ve seen AgStudio getting more streamlined as time goes on. MapShots is really keeping up with new technology.”