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2604 1st Ave S, Fort Dodge, IA 50501
2014 27 Feb

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Software designed to make sales happen
February 23, 2014
By LARRY KERSHNER, kersh@farm-news.com , Messenger News

Farm technology and the increasing need for expertise to be as efficient as possible for the farmer at the ag retailer is leading to a plethora of software programs and downloadable apps for instant data retrieval.

For instance, NEW Cooperative, in Fort Dodge, has expanded its precision ag software offerings – field data assessments provided to ag retailers to assure the exact product and mixes are available to their customers.

Called SOILMAP, the software program is added to MAPS comprehensive data mining on individual fields including grid soil sampling, input applications, machine operations and agronomy decision-making.

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Terry Panbecker, left, SOILMAP manager for NEW Cooperative in Fort Dodge, and Patrick Olmstead, SOILMAP customer service manager, consult over a farmer’s soil map on the company’s new software it licenses ag retail outlets. The software can be used as an iPad app.

SOILMAP is a separate technology division owned by NEW Cooperative which provides software solutions for ag retailers.

The difference here is the primary SOILMAP programs are for the producer and the cooperative’s agronomists’ use for determining efficient crop management throughout the growing season.

SOILMAP is collated information that is made available to retailers to help them with efficiency in servicing a farmer’s supply needs with uniform spreadsheets, whether determining flat rate, variable rate and seed applications.

The service is being offered to retailers throughout the Midwest.

“Ultimately,” said Terry Panbecker, SOILMAP manager for NEW Cooperative, “it will provide better integration and efficiencies” for the retailer.

These programs, Panbecker said, “matter to the growers.

“It’s better solutions for their fields and we’re here to do the work to assure efficiencies and to optimize one’s business.”

And the data, which is personal for each grower, is secure, Panbecker said.

“We value the business relationship,” he said. “The data is not released to just anybody. This is a state-of-the art tool for business.”

Panbecker said this product is not designed to sell more seed or chemical inputs to farmers.

“Rather it’s to manage data and provide efficiencies to make sales happen” for retailers.

He said SOILMAP works behind the scenes of the store front to keep the grower-retailer relationship working.

“It’s also designed to help the grower understand agronomy better,” Panbecker said.

Sensitive crops

Patrick Olmstead, a SOILMAP customer support manager, said the software keeps a daily connection with the state’s sensitive crops registry.

That registry is accessed through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov. The registry is found on the lower right-hand corner of the home page.

“Each night,” Olmstead said, SOILMAP ” connects to the registry to get the latest updates.

“If a grower needs to spray and is within a radius of 4 to 8 miles of a sensitive crop, the software will alert the retailer and the grower and they can take measures to avoid chemical drift, which might compromise the integrity of the registered field or apiary.

SOILMAP was displayed at January’s Iowa Power Farming Show, and February’s Agribusiness Showcase at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“As a soil-mapping company,” Olmstead said, “we’re your local shop. You don’t have to be a technician.”

Panbecker said, “We serve as a coach and adviser.”

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