By: Helene Cser, Customer Success Manager and Curtis Cribben, Midwest Account Management
What if your ag retail business could help farmers make confident decisions for the upcoming growing season by running “what-if” analyses before planting even begins?
Farmers may feel unsure about making different operational changes because they don’t know how these decisions will affect both their crops and bottom line. Thankfully, ag retailers can provide insight into what their best options are and what it will cost by running what-if analysis and creating flexible operational plans.
Keep reading for a quick introduction to what-if analysis and why it matters to your customers.
What is a what-if analysis?
Ag retailers can evaluate input decisions by conducting a what-if analysis for the farmer. The process allows the ag retailer to change input data to see how various decisions, from seed and fertilizer choices to yield goals, will affect the bottom line. What-if analyses help evaluate risk and determine how these individual factors will affect the farmer’s operation.
Why should you offer this service to your customers?
You can anticipate their needs
The best way to anticipate your customers’ needs and build flexibility into operational plans is to do your groundwork before any analysis starts.
First, find out everything you can about your farmer’s current operation so you can create multiple, yet practical options.
- Check that boundaries and guidance lines are accurate
- Set monitors up properly
- Get clean and accurate data from the farmer’s operation
- Verify this information with the grower
Once you set up the groundwork, you can work with the farmer to explore what data is available, which will help you answer any questions unique to their situation and operation.
When they know you have a solid understanding of their entire operation, they will have more confidence in your ability to help them make the best decisions going forward.
You can stay flexible when changes arise
The application window for fertility and planting is short. To provide a superior product, you need to be flexible and able to adapt to changes in weather, product prices, crop plans, and operational issues such as limited time and labor.
Farmers only benefit when solid planting or fertility prescriptions are both delivered and applied. If something comes up on your customer’s farm, and you’re unable to provide new prescriptions quickly, you could miss out on delivering variable rate capability or applying test plots.
Creating “what-if” scenarios ahead of time allows you to stay flexible and adapt quickly when things change.
Evaluate future plans
A farmer may want to know whether switching from liquid to dry fertilizer would be cost-effective. If current soil data or historical farm data is available, this comparison can be made easier with a “what-if” evaluation.
Run the numbers to see how much dry product will be required to meet desired fertility levels. Account for multiple passes during the application of phosphorus and potassium products, or plan to use a blend to meet fertility needs in one application.
The Sales Tool calculates this information in seconds rather than hours and allows for flexibility when exploring several product options and their associated costs.
When weather conditions prevent fieldwork and delay the harvest, it’s useful to review various scenarios based on historical data. Farmers gain an idea of what to expect, and once the current data is available, it’s a simple plug-and-play situation from there.
With the ever-changing landscape of the agricultural industry, creating “what-if” scenarios is beneficial. They keep the farmer engaged by providing answers to the questions that arise from preliminary results. “What-if” scenarios also allow for flexibility when choosing products, determining accurate test plot design and placement, and, most importantly, helps facilitate timely product delivery.