Ethan Stahl, Precision Ag Specialist, CHS Elburn Co-op.
When his farmer customers come into the cooperative, Ethan Stahl and the team can develop a precision farming plan for them in five minutes. How do they do it? Through the use of MapShots AgStudio® software.
“Typically, customers come in and we sit down with their sales rep to take a look at their fields,” says Stahl, a precision ag specialist with Elburn Cooperative in Sycamore, Ill. “We have all of their information on the AgStudio software, and we can go through everything on the spot. Right then and there we can give them a plan.”
Stahl started working for Elburn as a college intern in 2013, right around the time the cooperative adopted AgStudio software for its precision ag program. He learned to use the software platform along with the rest of the Elburn team. After gaining his degree in agri-business from Illinois State University in 2014, he came on-board full-time.
Elburn Co-op covers a five-county region in northern Illinois and most of its customers follow a two-year rotation of corn and soybeans. Recently, the business merged with CHS Cooperative and its name changed to CHS Elburn,but the group plans to continue working with AgStudio software data for precision farming needs.
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“All of our soil tests come in electronically from our third-party partner lab,” notes Stahl. “A week later, we get the lab results and turn them into a recommendation, allowing our growers to spread their fertilizer within a week of the soil test. It’s a service our customers love! And it’s a value-added program we can offer to them through the AgStudio software.”
Elburn hasn’t yet gotten into Variable Rate Seeding, but Stahl considers that the next step in helping his customers. The group is starting to building scripts within the AgStudio software to create management zones in preparation for variable rate seeding.
“AgStudio software is very easy to use,” adds Stahl. “The layout is simple and the support is great! Most of the support people know who you are and help you on a personal level. If they don’t know an answer, they’ll find out and get right back to you.”
In addition, Stahl says the help functions on the MapShots AgStudio software website explain the software very well. “You don’t have to search for a half-hour for the answer — it’s usually right there,” he adds. “And the videos are great — I’ve watched them and often refer colleagues to them.”
Recording historical data on the AgStudio software is useful because Stahl can show customers how precision agriculture can make a difference in their bottom lines.
“If we need to change something in a customer’s management practices, we can show him how and why,” he notes. “Precision ag software is improving on a daily basis. From where I started two years ago to where it is now is amazing.”