TopSoil Tool: Sustainability Tracking & Yield Data
September 30, 2020

As we move further into fall, farmers in the midwest and around the country are excited to see the yield monitor and to evaluate how the year’s worth of work will pay off. There is a lot of variability in yields this year due to weather and soil conditions and especially in the soil’s ability to infiltrate and retain water. On our farm, we’re ranging from less than 50 bushels/acre to 300 bushels/acre, which is quite the swing for the array of diverse soils that we have on our farm. 

sustainability

An exciting new feature that we’re developing within the TopSoil Tool is our advanced yield analytics tool. With the deployment of these features this fall, a user will be able to select polygons of yield data and asses the average yield within that polygon. This is crucial for the many trials we’ve been executing over the last few years. We can now collect real-time assessments of the yield based on a wide array of field variables. What’s unique about this technology is not only the ability to handpick yield data, but also the ability to learn from the insights that correlate yield data to other parameters. For example, we could run a correlation to evaluate how yield is impacted by parameters such as phosphorus, biological activity, organic matter, or other farmer-driven variables such as crop hybrid, biological products, or other fertility management variables. 

We can layer these components to better understand how pushing on certain levers (in terms of farm management activities) will infiltrate yield as we scale. Eventually, we will bring machine learning into this so we can garner more insights for millions of acres of data allowing farmers to best understand the optimal products and practices that should be used for each acre of their farm.

The planter monitor as we planted the 60” corn. 

As we are monitoring what moves the needle on the farm, we want to be able to package this data for the sustainability space. We’re seeing a lot of companies flopping this year when it comes to reporting sustainability gains. Some of these companies have no idea how to actually collect data that is meaningful for their stakeholders, let alone meaningful for their farmers. We have to collect meaningful data to help farmers to gather insights to optimize their farm management but also to drive environmental and sustainability metrics at scale. These metrics and this data has to eventually return a monetary value for each stakeholder. Farmers can garner insights from some sustainability data that’s being gathered from their farms, but they need someone to work them in order to make that data more actionable and user-friendly for a farmer who’s busy and already managing many other moving parts on the farm. 

This data needs to be collected and managed appropriately to drive insights for the consumer and consumer-facing companies that can drive profitability for municipalities, insurance companies, government agencies, and the taxpayer at large. We are learning more about the metrics we need to be gathering from the farm through the end consumer by talking to 100 sustainability organizations this quarter. We’ve already had multiple conversations with companies such as Cargill, OCP, Bremer Bank, and Ducks Unlimited. We’d love warm leads into more supply chain companies that are focused on sustainability so we can discuss with them opportunities to tap into the TopSoil Tool and tap into data connectivity with farmers. 

Remember though, the key is that our farmers and users own their data the entire time. They will only share their data if there is value in it for them! Collecting the data is expensive and so is improving this data. Farmers should be rewarded for this effort. As Continuum Ag, we’re having 100 conversations to better understand how to improve profitability for all supply chain stakeholders. Check out our TopSoil Tool today for free and learn how the platform can help you meet your goals. Again, we’d love any warm leads into supply chain companies as we work towards improving on-farm economic resiliency and environmental sustainability. 

Water Infiltration

Where there’s water, there’s life. That is a saying more for Africa but also appropriate for here...

read more