Agronomy software manages information during growing season

CropMatrix, an agronomy platform previously available in Australia and the United States, is now available to western Canadian farmers who deal with Richardson Pioneer.

The new, state-of-the-art software is designed to enhance service to farm customers, said Heather Durie, agronomy manager for Richardson Pioneer.

She said Pioneer’s version of CropMatrix is specific to crops and conditions on the Prairies.

“The framework or the skeleton is similar for all users around the globe,” she said.

“The CropMatrix version we are using is tailored for our agronomic environment and is familiar to our crop mix.”

Durie said Richardson Pioneer picked this software because it met its needs.

“Being a retailer, we saw that so many of the existing software programs were grower specific. We’re well accustomed to planning with our customers and making recommendations in the field with our customers, but we needed a system to go beyond that. We couldn’t do that until now,” she said.

“We needed to organize that agronomic information for internal purposes so we could share it with colleagues on staff, but also we needed a system that’s more transparent with each customer as we scout and make recommendations for each field.

“Whether one of our reps was making notes in a notebook or on an Excel document, it just wasn’t efficient. CropMatrix allows us to have a two-way interaction as we’re planning with our growers. It’s more user friendly in the field.”

The new platform offers what Pioneer calls a “full-systems” approach to agronomic planning.

Its news release says it will enable reps to work with customers throughout the growing season in developing detailed farm plans.

The information that’s collected and assessed will enhance growers’ ability to make more informed decisions all year round.

CropMatrix also allows for the interpretation of satellite imagery and the potential to work in precision farming in the future.

“Some people assume we’re tackling this just from a precision ag standpoint, but for us, the immediate goal is to service the core of our business today, which is planning and scouting and recommendations. We’re not doing the site-specific fertility recommendations you think of when you think of precision ag.

“CropMatrix has the ability to use imagery coming to it, to store point data, to create variable rate recommendations. It has all those options. But as a company, we haven’t yet decided our approach to all that. We aren’t active in that space today, but we understand that in the future we’ll need to position ourselves to grow into it.

“Right now, this is simply a year-round tool agronomists can use for planning. The insight and value still comes from our employees in the field. It allows them to more easily present all the options to our growers.”

A side benefit of the program is that it will allow Pioneer to streamline management of field trials across the Prairies and get information out to customers quickly and efficiently.

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