Being an ag retailer is a little like being a fortune teller. A client comes to you, shows us his farm, and asks what he should do to guarantee success in his endeavors. You’ll study his “palm,” give him some suggestions and predictions, and the client goes back home feeling confident in his future.
Of course, unlike fortune tellers, ag retailers have a trick up their sleeve: cold, hard data. When you give suggestions and predictions, you’re not just making guesses – you’re using data analysis to give your growers valuable insights they can use to see a difference in their land!
Ag retailers collect A LOT of data about a grower’s farm, from soil sample results to regional sales numbers and everything in between. All this data is useful, but which information is most valuable to your clients – specifically those who want to boost their crop production? Here are some of the best data ag retailers can share with their growers.
Before you can see where your client’s crops are going, you have to understand where they’ve been. This is why many ag retailers start their season by reviewing the data from the previous season! Examining last year’s yields, soil analysis, and sales numbers can help you shape an effective crop management plan for the year.
Firstly, you and your grower should look over last year’s numbers related to crop production and soil quality. Did the grower hit his or her yield target? Are there any “weak spots” in the data where you see room to improve? This kind of “post mortem” analysis can give you a clear foundation on which to build your new farm plan.
But of course, you know that there is much more to creating an effective farm plan than soil analysis and yield numbers (although those things are certainly important). As an ag retailer, you are privy to all kinds of information about industry trends, seed prices and availability, and other elements that can affect your grower’s bottom line. It is essential to share this data as well, so your grower can make informed decisions that will benefit them when it’s time to sell their crops.
Once your grower has a general idea of their plan for the coming harvest season (how to treat their soil, which seed they want to buy, etc.), it’s time to get down to the brass tacks: cost. Buying things like seed and fertilizer can be expensive, but they are vital to running a successful farm operation.
Ag retailers are responsible for helping their clients increase productivity – which in turn increases their bottom line. To do this well, retailers should share any data on pricing, including payment options growers can use to purchase resources. This data can genuinely make all the differences for a small grower, as it will allow them to get the input they need without breaking their budget.
While there is common knowledge about the best time of year to plant various crops, it’s no secret that planting timelines are subject to forces outside control. However, ag retailers can use data from weather forecasts, for example, to help their growers find the perfect time to plant their seeds.
Pay attention to unexpected weather patterns like storms or cold snaps and help your farmers plan a planting schedule that works around them. Something as simple as checking your local weather channel can prevent an entire crop from being wiped out – and prevent a client from being very unhappy with you!
It’s also important to revisit the data you gathered during the preplanting soil tests at this time. That data will tell your growers what nutrients they need to add to their soil and how much fertilizer they need in various areas across their field. Remember, things like over-fertilizing or over-watering can be detrimental to a crop, so the more data points you can gather across a grower’s land, the better your advice will be.
Crop Evaluation and Treatment
You can’t stop collecting data once planting is complete if you want to have a long-term relationship with your growers. Continue to collect data on how well their various crops grow throughout the season, both through visual inspection and (if you have access to it) data entered on digital farming platforms and apps.
This data will be invaluable for future farm planning. Keeping track of which plants thrived, which plants struggled, and the different techniques your growers used to treat their crops gives you lots of variables to play with if you want to boost production in the future.
Harvest and Postharvest
Finally, ag retailers need to keep abreast of industry trends that emerge each harvest and postharvest time. Which crops are in high demand? Is an unexpected scarcity driving up the cost of some fertilizers? Most importantly, how will these trends affect the growers that work with you?
Gather as much data as you can about the world of agriculture during this time. From rising seed prices to farm consolidations, all information can help shape the choices your grower makes in the coming planting season. With the right data, you can help your farmers stay ahead of the trends and boost production on high-demand crops before the rest of the industry.
Like the curious customer who seeks out a fortune teller, your growers seek out ag retailers because they want assurance for the future. The agriculture industry can be a real challenge, but ag retailers provide suggestions that can help a grower find the best path forward.
As an ag retailer, you obviously care about your clients and their farming operations. How can you help ensure their success? By giving them the data they need to make informed decisions that benefit their business.
And now, you can store all that data on one helpful platform! Visit Growers.RALLY™ today to see how we can help you share more valuable data with your clients