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The first N-sensor season in self-study
Felix Gümbel from the Landwirtschaftsbetrieb Gerd Gümbel manages 130 ha in Grebenstein, northern Hesse. To improve his nitrogen fertilization, he bought a used Yara N-Sensor® ALS-RNS 2003 in late spring. The winter training and education had all been done and another solution was needed. "Try and error" is often a popular remedy, but it costs valuable time and mistakes in fertilization can quickly become very expensive.
His technical advisor, Timo Roehl, recommended the Agricon Academy to him as a quick solution. This contains step-by-step instructions on all precision farming topics. Mr. Gümbel went through the N fertilization courses in no time and was ready to go for the season.
The first thing to be done was the 2nd N application in winter rapeseed. With the help of the N-monitoring he worked to the 2nd N-administration in the grain further ahead in the season. All under the guidance of the Academy. For him, the special thing is not having to read a thick manual. Time is always the scarcest commodity on the farm. With the step-by-step instructions, the many pictures, screenshots and short videos, it was easy to learn how to use the system correctly. The topics that were most important to him, such as the initial use of the sensor, could also be covered in greater depth via the detailed training documents. He is already planning to start using the system for basic fertilization and crop protection. The initial hurdle of having to familiarize himself with the topics has disappeared thanks to the work in the Academy.
We wanted to know even more and met with the technical advisor on site for an interview.
Maria Specht: Mr. Roehl, what is the Agricon Academy?
Timo Roehl: The Academy is a knowledge collection with three major areas. First of all, you will find all the agronomic rules and algorithms of the systems -from basic fertilization, to N fertilization, to crop protection; secondly, the agronomic background for the site-specific applications; and thirdly, detailed instructions for all the processes that take place in a crop production season, their organization, data handling and technical implementation. For example: How is an autumn scan carried out, or even how do you create error-free scatter maps?
Maria Specht: So it's like an instruction manual for using precision farming?
Timo Roehl: Yes, you could call it that. Our concern is that every user gets fast and extensive access to the practice-relevant precision farming knowledge. It is a kind of help for self-help. Normally, I look after newcomers to the methods in the first year according to a fixed consulting and training concept. After that, the users master the respective procedure on their own. But every now and then, people forget something or have additional questions. Or, as in the case of Mr. Gümbel, sometimes the timeline just doesn't fit. We built the Academy to meet this immense need for knowledge. Because mistakes in crop production quickly cost a lot of money.
Maria Specht: I understand that. But aren't you giving away all your know-how by doing so?
Timo Roehl: Sure, but what's wrong with that? Our goal is for farm managers to be able to work in a self-determined manner and independently of a consulting organization. I want our customers to make their own logical decisions with the digital information from soil, plant and weather. After all, good crop production and precision farming are not a secret science. Rather, it is the implementation of integrated crop management using modern technology. In essence, precision farming is nothing more than answering a crop management question on day X and on a sub-area Y.
Maria Specht: That all sounds very nice. But if the consultant reveals all the specialized knowledge, then he devalues his business model, so to speak: consulting fees in exchange for consulting knowledge.
Timo Roehl: (laughs) Yes, that's the difference between Agricon and others. But joking aside. What we have compiled here is the best available knowledge from the last 50 years of crop production knowledge in Central Europe. Added to this is our own experience and that of our customers over the last 24 years. The knowledge is freely available to all. The compilation of knowledge and know-how, their processing and the maintenance of the platform must of course be remunerated.
Maria Specht: And this is done how?
Timo Roehl: Our Academy always comes together with our precision farming data management system the agriPORT. Our customers sign a contract with us. This includes: checking the technology, updates on the terminals in the field, access to the agriPORT and, of course, the Academy. Every year there are improvements and new functions, so you should always use the latest version. In addition, there is the constant learning and training of the farm managers, but also of the drivers. For the direct exchange of experience, there are also annual training sessions for the drivers and working groups for the operations managers. It is always exciting to openly discuss the many experiences and ideas. We learn from each other.
Maria Specht: Thank you very much, Mr. Roehl, for your answers.
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