THE GROWERS FARM
Zero topsoil. Spectacular growth.
At Growers Research & Development Farm in Guilford County, NC, the soil looks like asphalt. In some places, it actually is asphalt.
Our land was stripped of 900,000,000 yards (approximately 18 feet) of topsoil by the Department of Transportation for a construction project—an asphalt road runs through the middle of it.
Yet Growers manages to grow a healthy, uniform field of soybeans on a foundation of clay, bedrock, and gravel.
In fact, our soybeans are no less than twice as productive as any of our neighbors’ soybeans. We outperform our peers through our data-driven approach.
Because Growers knows that the biggest drivers of cost savings and yield improvements are data-driven management decisions and a well-devised farm game plan.
THE GROWERS ADVANTAGE
Growers uses advanced technologies to create custom variable-rate fertility prescriptions, planting prescriptions, in-season health monitoring and advanced crop management and profitability solutions to maximize every aspect of the farming business.
Mark and Kevin Roberts are co-owners of Roberts Farms, a large fourth-generation family farm in Lumberton, NC that produces corn, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, cotton, and rapeseed. They’ve worked on the farm since they were 5 years old.
With input costs rising, the Roberts’ first priority was to reduce the amount of inputs (fertilizer, seed and chemicals). Additionally, the Roberts wanted to take full advantage of their variable rate farm equipment and better understand how their technology could explain and be used to correct yield variability on their farms.
The Roberts wanted to work with an independent, unbiased agronomist — someone who did not work for a fertilizer company and had no incentive to sell input products.
Growers started by mapping and analyzing the Roberts Farms’ soil texture and fertility to correct for everything from nutrient deficiencies to pH levels. Growers created custom soil fertility prescriptions to allow the Roberts to variably apply fertilizer with pinpoint accuracy. Instead of spreading 275 pounds of fertilizer on the entire farm, the Roberts applied 150 pounds in one location and 300 pounds in another. Additionally, variable rate lime application prescriptions corrected the pH issues, which maximized yield and reduced yield variability.
The Roberts’ farm now spends significantly less on inputs and yields higher quality crops. Crop uniformity and quality has improved due to optimized pH levels.
more soybeans than average in Robeson County
THE GROWERS ADVANTAGE
The farm beat the 5-year county yield average for corn by 80%+ in the first year of service. There were no material differences in the soil, weather patterns, or irrigation—just Growers’ data-driven farming approach.
more wheat than average in Robeson County
Jamie Carrick of Sunnybrook Farms in Albemarle, NC produces corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton. He plans to hand his interest in the farms down to his 15-year-old son.
Carrick grew up farming, but at that time, soil health was just a guessing game. Carrick had soil sampled, estimated yield, mapped fields and collected other data on his own but realized that simply having this data did not directly translate into an effective fertility or planting program. Additionally, Carrick had invested in variable rate equipment that he wanted to fully utilize. His farms had great soils in most areas, but he needed a partner with an expertise in equipment and technology to help explain and manage yield variability.
Growers helped Carrick do an in-depth analysis of the many varieties of soil on his farm. We identified the high and low growth fields and game planned around them. Not surprisingly, certain spots only needed 50% less fertilizer than others. Because Carrick invested in a fertilizer spreader with a variable rate monitor, he was able to automate the process of spreading custom amounts of fertilizer where needed. Growers also helped him set up a variable rate planter so he could adjust the number of seeds he plants according to the growth potential of the soil.
Carrick saves significant money on fertilizer and seed because he no longer pays for more inputs than he needs. His soil health is improving, and his crop uniformity, too. Within the first year, Carrick made back his equipment investment (and then some), and he continues to farm more efficiently.
more corn than average in Stanly County, NC
more soybeans than average in Stanly County, NC
CIRCLE S RANCH
Travis Starnes is a fourth generation farmer and co-owner of large Circle S Ranch farm in Monroe, NC, which grows corn, wheat and soybeans. He’s been running a combine since he was 7.
Starnes wanted to make better agronomic decisions: both to save money on his fertilizer and improve his soil’s fertility. Prior to Growers, Starnes soil sampled on his own. As times changed, the complexity of the soil data and his operation’s size necessitated an ag partner. He needed a partner who could help him better create, implement, manage and refine his farm’s soil fertility program.
Growers began its proprietary soil diagnostics program for Starnes. Using our cutting-edge analytical tools to discover phosphorus, sulphur, and other nutrient levels in the soil, and our library of field data sets and processing tools, we crafted and implemented a soil fertility plan. We correlated input data and fertility data with historical yields that drove significant cost reductions on Starnes’ fields.
Starnes now receives a simple, easy-to-read book with his soil test results, fertilizer recommendations, and additional insights into things like soil pH and other crop health issues quickly and easily.
Best of all, it’s now easy for Starnes and Growers to make management decisions necessary to correct any deficiencies ahead of next years crop. In addition to saving precious time, Starnes has been able to significantly reduce his input expenses due to having an unbiased partner with a proven process.
more wheat than average in Union County
more soybeans than average in Union County
Tom Laprath is a third-generation owner of mid-sized Laprath Farms in Dallas, South Dakota, which grows corn, wheat and soybeans. Tom grew up dreaming of finishing what his father started, and now he’s doing just that.
Laprath faced what many farmers traditionally face, a plateau in crop yields. Every year, no matter the approach, he hit his yield ceiling. His uniform fertility and planting applications seemed to do fine, but he needed and aspired for more.
Growers first implemented its soil fertility solution. After evaluating his farm’s soil fertility, removing the guesswork from his soil health, we created custom fertility prescriptions designed to improve yields and reduce input expenses. We managed pH and other soil variables proven to maximize performance.
Laprath decided he wanted to maximize his profit by taking advantage of the full Growers’ suite of services. Growers helped him upgrade his equipment. We added a variable rate fertilizer spreader and a variable rate planter with GPS technology to automatically distribute custom amounts of fertilizer and seed across his fields.
In a drought-prone area of South Dakota, Laprath now consistently beats his yield goals — often exceeding 200 bushel corn on non-irrigated ground. He’s raising better crops on reduced expenses, and the farm is achieving its financial goals. Laprath spends less on fertilizer, saves precious man-hours, and gets more out of his equipment.
He said that even his young sons have seen the benefits: “They’re interested in a lot of the things Growers is doing. I think it’s spurring an interest in my older son to get into agronomy.”
more corn than average in Tripp County
more soybeans than average in Tripp County
WS MATTHEWS FARMS
David Matthews is the co-owner of mid-size WS Matthews Farms in Turkey, NC, which produces corn, wheat, soybeans and peanuts. The former vice president of train operations at CSX, Matthews came back to his fourth-generation farm after his father passed away. “Farming’s in your blood,” he says. “Either you have it or you don’t.”
Matthews wanted to get the most out of his operation, and needed the right partner to help him implement variable rate fertility, planting, and other advanced solutions at WS Matthews Farms. Matthews had all the right equipment and gumption required, but needed the expertise to develop an integrated precision farming game plan.
Growers helped Matthews develop a soil sampling and mapping program to get the most out of his soil fertility and reduce his input expenses. We also set up and calibrated his equipment to implement our custom variable-rate fertility and planting programs, which improved his yields across the board and allowed Matthews to get the most out of his advanced equipment.
Matthews was able to increase his yields by 10% immediately, and at the same time decreased his fertilizer expenses by 50%. Matthews no longer wastes money on fertilizer he doesn’t need. “Not only is that good for my pocketbook, but it’s good for the environment,” says David Matthews. Matthews started off only using Growers’ fertility solution, but by the second year Growers was providing its full suite-of-services because according to Matthews, “Growers was the best investment I made last year.”