SMS – Taking the Guessing Out of Decision Making for 20 Years
Precision farming isn’t about spending endless hours crunching numbers and analyzing data. It’s about answering questions that can make you more profitable. This is why, SMS software was created. For over 20 years, SMS has been proving itself as an easy-to-use decision-making tool to help farmers capture the most out of every acre.
Stuart Lawrence, a fourth-generation farmer from West-Central Saskatchewan, is no exception. He relies heavily on SMS to help him make informed decision on his small grains operation. With over 14 years of experience with the program he has been relying on it to make him more profitable in every field application.
Data to Maximize Inputs
“Decisions made without data are guesses,” Lawrence said. “My philosophy with farm management is to stop guessing. I’ve learned that I’ve made decisions not based on data, but on emotions – and when I make decisions based on emotion, they can be quite wrong.
For example, when you see commodity prices are down, but fertilizer prices are not – emotionally I want to cut back on fertilizer. However, I look at my data in SMS and know I need to go ahead with the best rate for my crop.”
Stuart is able to determine the ideal fertilizer rate for his operation by using SMS Advanced’s multiple layer query tool. On his operation he applies zero nitrogen in a one-acre block and varies the fertilizer rates on the rest of his field. After harvest he will then use the query tool to layer the fertilizer application over the yield map. He cuts through the data to determine how his yield was affected by zero nitrogen and what his optimal rate was. “I use the zero-nitrogen approach in my zones, so I can see what my nitrogen response is on my farm with my varieties,” Stuart said.
Another approach you could use to determine the ideal fertilizer rate is by using SMS’s equation-based analysis tool. This SMS Advanced feature allows the user to build an equation that uses yield goals and soil type to generate the optimal rate to apply fertilizer. This feature allows you to generate multiple outputs with the same analysis, cutting down the time it takes to generate all of your desired results.
Data to Optimize Seeding Speeds
With nearly 3 gigabytes of data on Stuart’s farm, which would equate to a 90-foot-tall stack of data binders, he also relies on SMS to help make decisions when it comes to planting his crop.
“I get the exact same yield when I seed canola at 4.8 mph, even though it is recommended I only go 4 mph.” When seeding windows are so crucial this is extremely important, as it allows for him to reduce planting time by 5-10%. His soil, his records, his crop allow him to determine what speed he is optimal at.
He was able to establish his optimal seeding speed to by utilizing the Comparison Analysis function in SMS to build an equation that looked through his seeding data for speed and his harvest data for yield. Then he was able to break down the yield by speed range.
“The value SMS brings to my farm is the knowledge I gains from it,” Lawrence said. “You have the data on your own farm, use SMS to determine what’s right for you.”