Measuring and monitoring field and financial performance

A new agronomy decision support system has been launched by UK-based agronomy Hutchinsons to help growers monitor the best – and worst – profit-making areas of their fields. Tillage Technology finds out more about this exciting new technology, Omnia Precision Software

Multi-layer technology has been developed to bring together information from yield-potential maps with financial information. This will lead to more meaningful agronomic answers to questions farmers make concerning key agronomic decisions.

Oliver Wood, precision technology manager at Hutchinsons, said: “This system will show trends for field performance, so you can see a range of things to assess areas which give consistent performance, both good and bad, and those which are inconsistent.” The system comes with default costs which can be edited for each particular farm. 

Additional layers, such as variable drilling rates can be added in and sensors on sprayer booms from the Plant Vision system can be used to track crop development. 

“This cost-of-production mapping means growers can clearly see £/ tonne of what they are producing and this will help them make more informed decisions of what to grow where.” 

Farmacy agronomist Jim Woodward uses field performance mapping to identify which areas of a field are performing consistently, and those which show wide variation from year to year, crop to crop. He believes that the ability of the grower to set the levels of performance for each field is key. 

Mr Woodward said: “This is a great way of targeting decisionmaking on a field by field basis for a particular farm. We can then investigate and address any issues. 

“Field performance mapping also allows my clients to compare field performance across different crops, providing an overall farm picture out of a few years’ data.” The next key question to ask is how much is this crop costing him to grow; the ability to produce a map showing which areas of a field make or lose money is the holy grail of precision farming, he believes. This can now be assessed because Omnia produces cost of production maps for each field. Fixed and variable inputs can be added based on industry standards, and alongside yield performance data a map is produced which identifies profit and loss-making areas across a field in terms of £/tonne for that particular crop. 

Where growers are unsure about how to use Omnia and the potential benefits to their business, it is possible to run free demonstration versions by simply providing a log-in code for the trial system, provided by Hutchinsons.

“Once you start using the system, the full potential of what it can do is revealed,” explains Jim, who has several clients trialling the system. “Nitrate Vulnerable zone risk maps, watercourses, gross margins and game covers can all be added to the maps. Stocks for seed, fertiliser and manure can be managed. 

“When you then add in the ability to produce variable rate plans and financial performance, it is clear that Omnia is a very complete and valuable asset to any farming business.”