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Online Precision Farming Analysis

A new way to increase the value of your precision farming investment

– By becoming part of a community of shared information!

While most farmers know that weather is really “king” when it comes to how crop’s yield, many studies have shown that the use of precision farming can increase yield, particularly with the use of yield monitors.  In short, precision farming is the merging of satelite technology with your crop harvest. How? By allowing you to precisely connect your combine's location and harvest results in real time.

With this technology, and some additional software, farmers can create graphical views of their fields that identify areas of high and low yield and that therefore provides the information you need to make input  decisions that can improve economic outcome. But even with today’s technology, such analysis has its limitations – especially when it comes to making decisions.  Why? Because the analysis of only one, or even a few fields, provides too small a sample to build statistical confidence. Should I continue using the same hybrid, or not? In some cases, the analysis may result in data that is biased toward favoring a particular hybrid. 

But now there is a way to put even single-field information into a broader context. HarvestMap Systems, Inc. is bringing the power of the Internet to the arena of Precision Farming analysis. Here at HarvestMap, we intend to perform the analysis of each yield monitor file completely online.  With this approach, a whole new set of benefits can be realized.  Not only will the farmer be able to view the yield maps he’s accustomed to, but he can also receive several additional benefits, such as comparing his result against hundreds if not thousands of similar fields.

 How does it work?

The farmer simply uploads his yield Monitor file to the HarvestMap network after he receives a unique username and password. No one but that user can view the yield map of that field, but the summary of that field becomes part of the HarvestMap community, helping to create a pool of valuable information.

What are the benefits?

There really are two main ones:  one; providing users online access to a database that contains yield results from all across North America, and two; incorporating real-time information into the decision-making process – all for a specific field. The value of the “community” data coming from the yield monitor files cannot be overstated.  This information can be used to compare how well your hybrid performed against a whole range of others.  Members of the HarvestMap community can ask questions of the database and discover which hybrids performed best, say, within 100 miles of their location, or find out how their hybrid of choice ranked in performance against others – regardless of the hybrid type.  These database searches can be qualified with a set of options, such as:

q       Specify hybrid supplier, or ALL.
q       Specify soil type, or not,
q       Details about the growing season.
q       ... and more

 HarvestMap Systems also plans to perform its own “data mining” of the database and periodically publish results to the site.  This report will rank hybrids and chemicals by performance under a variety of conditions.  With its unbiased approach, HarvestMap Systems, Inc., may very well become the “Consumer Reports” of the precision farming world.

The value of the real-time analysis includes computing gross profit based upon your total yield and, the current commodity price of your choice.  Taking this further, the company’s tools allow a range of “what-if” scenarios with which the producer can elect to re-compute the yield by substituting his hybrid with other higher-yielding seeds or more efficient chemicals from the HarvestMap database.  This substitution option brings the power of  “community” data into play, vastly increasing the power of the precision farming concept.  Based on the growing historical data, a prediction can be made on your yield increase (albeit a statistical prediction).  Users can not just increase their yield, but increase their profit – that is the real objective of these tools.

Specific tools being introduced

HarvestMap Systems plans to launch these new services in first quarter 2003.  A subscriber to this core service can expect to use the following tools:

Upload your yield monitor file
  Experience our robust error correction algorithms.  Then, view your files from anywhere at anytime - all password protected. 
Community View Find the highest yielding hybrids by searching the HarvestMap database using criteria of your choice . Generate your own reports, and more.
What-if Tool Substitute a hybrid in one of your fields based on a search of the HarvestMap Community of data and see its impact on your bottom line
Reports Our experts will periodically search the HarvestMap database and rate the performance of hybrid yields. These studies will then be archived to our library.. 
Graphical Maps View your Yield, Moisture, and hybrid maps in a variety of ways. This tool provides detailed analysis of your fields down to a specific hybrid.
My Files Check trends and see how it affects any one or all of your uploaded files. Choose which commodity you wish to monitor and trend over time for each file.
Calculator By monitoring your files online aganist CBOT closing prices, you can check the value of your fields on a daily basis. Itemize both direct and indirect costs and track the net worth of your fields as commodity prices change.

HarvestMap is offering the error correction feature for two reasons.  Several studies have shown that yield monitor files can have errors - some that are inherent to the process, and some that are user related. HarvestMap addresses and corrects such errors, including:

q       Removing the outlier areas.
q       Load name to hybrid name correction
q       Yield calibration
q       Combine GPS receiver offset

 This feature obviously benefits the farmer, but it also ensures that the HarvestMap database remains accurate. For more detail about these products, click here.

 Concerns

Will farmers be willing to upload their yield monitor files to an Internet site? Can farmers be secure knowing that the details of their file will be kept private?  The privacy policy of HarvestMap is to not allow anyone to view a farme'rs specific yield data or maps – though the summary statistics will become part of the shared community of knowledge; albeit anonymously.  Joe Nelson, President and CEO of HarvestMap Systems, Says, “I believe that farmers will come to realize that the value of their yield monitor files are greatly amplified when it becomes part of a larger community.  It is to their benefit to become part of a shared knowledge pool”.                              

Who can use these services?

To become a member of the HarvestMap community, and take advantage of these new services, one needs to subscribe. The price of subscription is divided between an annual fee and a monthly fee. The monthly fee, however, will descrease subscribers upload their yield monitor files. The HarvestMap philosophy is that the fee should be lower for those who participate in this community with their own data.

This concept pushes the value of precision farming analysis to the next logical level,” Nelson says. “Granted, farming is a gamble, and largely dependent upon the weather.  But all things being equal, the use of precision farming techniques does provide an edge. By becoming a member of the HarvestMap community,” he adds, “farmers can take a quantum leap forward in the realm of precision farming analysis”.



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