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How to Take Action with the VO Pro in a Risk Induced Growing Season

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How to Take Action with the VO Pro in a Risk Induced Growing Season

How to Take Action with the VO Pro in a Risk Induced Growing Season

Written By: Kimberly Kneifl

One of the biggest obstacles growers are facing this season is whether or not to take risks. According to the Business Dictionary, the primary meaning of risk is the probability or threat of damageinjuryliability, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities. The definition goes on to address risk has the potential to be avoided through preemptive action.

The words threat, damage, injury, liability and loss are represented as bold-type above because failures, or the negative side of the equation is amplified during seasons of doubt. At a recent management conference, CropMetrics learned more about risk and the potential negative impacts growers face when they chose to avoid all risk.

 Failures are magnified in an uncertain market

The first agenda involving risk was to understand that failures are magnified in an uncertain market.

 Just as the damaging words jump out of the page, the thoughts of entering a season riddled with uncertainty in a tough market are also at the forefront of growers’ thoughts. We know each season has a level of risk and there are numerous concerns on the growers’ minds. In Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, winter wheat growers are looking at higher-than-normal temperatures where breaking dormancy could mean crops in the Northern Plains are susceptible to an early frost. In the Western Corn Belt, the majority of the agricultural lands are drought free, but for how long?

Historically speaking, looking at the weather and the soil moisture levels is not a good indicator for what is to come by harvest’s end. One example, the drought of 2012, began the year with adequate soil moisture only to be depleted by July. A deadly heat took its toll on the corn and soybeans in all but a few sections of Minnesota. And as we enter a season set to begin with the highest levels of soil moisture throughout the region since 2005, we cannot bank on the moisture content to remain steadfast.

Behind all the potentially negative impacts to the growers ability to profit during an economic deficiency is the second half of the definition of risk – preemptive action. Growers who make a conscious choice to work through the times of uncertainty with a proactive stance are using preemptive actions to battle the negative probabilities. Growers who maximize opportunities first and mitigate risk second were discussed at the conference as being the operations capable of working through the economic downturn while maximizing their profits.

 Maximizing opportunities first and mitigating risks second

Angela K., a Nebraska farmer, knows first hand how to maximize her operational opportunities. She uses CropMetrics Virtual Optimizer Pro, (VO Pro):

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“VO Pro does an excellent job of bringing all the factors involved in watering a crop: growth stage, environment, weather, and soil sensor data into one easy to use platform to give growers a powerful tool to plan, apply and monitor with confidence.”[/quote]

The VO Pro is the most advanced, but simplified, cloud-based portal focused strictly on precision irrigation management. Virtual Optimizer Pro combines multiple water management technologies, such as moisture probe monitoring, pivot telemetry, weather data and forecasting, crop modeling, and irrigation record keeping, into one powerful centralized location. VO Pro allows growers to reduce risk by preemptively collecting, analyzing and applying irrigation inputs where and when they are needed. For example, a grower using CropMetrics VO Pro this season has the ability to monitor and track the weather as well as the soil moisture levels in the field. Having this knowledge up front allows for a better decision-making process. It takes the guesswork out of when to irrigate and many other decisions growers are faced with throughout the season.

 Uncertainty and risks also create opportunities

The final lesson learned during the conference was that risk has the potential to create opportunities.

Living with a level of uncertainty and risk creates a healthy economy and opportunities. The agricultural markets can be just as misleading as the weather reports at the beginning of the year. Without sound data, analytics and applications, growers can become easily misguided. When the economy is in a low state, we have a tendency to place more emphasis on price points and the cost of each input. Instead, in today’s market we need to focus on how to create opportunity through increased production:

  • Value determined performance – not price
  • Land costs / production determine profitability – not input prices
  • Focus on cost/bushel (output) – not cost/acre (input)


For more information on how precision irrigation can improve operational efficiency and more importantly impact your bottom line under all market conditions, please contact your local CropMetrics PDS today.





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