Farmers use VRT to increase the efficiency and profitability of farming. In order to achieve this goal the first and most important step is to select the right VRT provider for your farm. Unfortunately there are a number of sub-standard VRT services that are incapable of increasing efficiency and profitability. There are three major problems that farmers run into when selecting a VRT provider. First, the provider has made extreme claims of increased profits and yields without proof. Second, the provider is unable to deliver results consistently year after year. The third problem is that the VRT provider has taken short-cuts in their service which ultimately costs the farmer in the end. The objective of this white paper is to highlight the criteria that farmers should use to assess potential VRT providers in order to select the provider that will deliver.
1.) Service and Support
It is important to understand the provider’s capability to address equipment needs and challenges. In order for VRT to work on your farm the provider should have integrated support with major equipment dealerships and in-house expertise of all equipment brands.
2.) Retention Rate
One of the most important elements of a successful VRT provider is their customer retention rate. There is a small, elite group of VRT providers who are willing to share this information with their customers. Knowing your provider’s success in retaining customers proves their ability to build strong relationships and deliver results. This information regarding a provider’s retention rate is essential in ensuring you will get what you have been promised.
3.) Net Profit Benefit
Essentially, a farmer is going to adopt VRT because it is going to make the farm more profitable. In order be more profitable, VRT should result in increased yield, increased input efficiency, reduced combine hours and improved quality. These are measurable returns that your provider should be able to prove through actual case results of their current customer base. It is important to see not just their top estimate of what they hope to deliver but rather actual records of growers who made more money using VRT.
4.) Management Zones
Understanding every aspect of how a prescription map is created is not necessary but making sure the process starts with an accurate foundation is. Each growing year is different and to choose one year of imagery to accurately represent the upcoming year is impossible. In order to develop a scientifically valid prescription, it is important that a composite map built from multi-year imagery is used to represent how your field has performed historically and the actual fertility potential in the coming year.
5.) Soil Sampling and Lab Analysis
Soil sampling is critical in understanding what is happening in your field. Every year the delicate balancing act of more than 25 micro and macro nutrients changes and this affects the soil’s ability to efficiently grow new crops.
6.) Agronomic Recommendations
Having a certified fertility agronomist who understands the science of your soil as well as your farm’s logistics and financial needs is the difference between efficient use of fertilizer and a waste of time. Soil Agronomy is a specialised skill set that requires an intricate understanding of how all the micro and macro nutrients work to grow your crop. Be very cautious of anyone providing you with a lab generated recommendation.
7.) Whole Solution
It is important to understand how your VRT provider integrates with other services, equipment, apps and software. VRT is one aspect of your farm and to be able to tie in that agronomic information with the rest of your farm will help you make informed and profitable decisions on the whole.
8.) Return on Investment
Return on investment is more important than price when choosing your VRT provider. VRT should make you money. Make sure you get proof that your VRT service will pay with a Return on Investment trial for your farm.
Investigating the above criteria when considering potential VRT providers should help you select the provider that will deliver. If all these criteria are present, you can be sure that you have chosen a quality VRT provider that can help you increase profits and save you time.