Dennis Carrell, our agronomist, directs a focused precision effort to analyze our operation and to implement practices to improve our profitability.
This ranges from intensively sampling soils for nutrient levels to analyzing yield maps. It also includes improving our workflow to ensure we have solid data acquisition processes in place.
As we have the expertise and software to intensively crunch data, we now offer selected services to others.
For additional details, please contact Dennis Carrell.
Many tools are available to enhance crop data accumulation and analysis. It is the ability to intensively manage ever smaller areas of a field.
Lamb Farms has learned that different areas of various fields may be more or less profitable. The goal is to increase the overall profitability, which literally means we need to focus on smaller areas of those fields. The challenge is to identify the limiting factor and a reasonable means to effectively overcome that challenge.
The limiting factor may be drainage, fertility, or any number of potentially limiting factors of production. Through the use of technologies, we are better able to overcome these challenges.
The ultimate goal of our precision efforts is to identify areas of fields which can be tweaked to improve the overall profitability levels. We feel the ultimate analysis concludes with a variable profit map. Similar to a yield map showing variable yields, a profit map includes enough detail to look at the variable profit or loss levels in various parts of each field.
To derive a profit map, we include input expenses which may be constant (as land charges) or variable (as fertilizer) and then we add in the yield maps. Crunching all of the data through certain software will generate a profit map such as this one. In this example, the areas with yellow color realized a profit of between $60 and $90 per acre. The areas in purple or red realized a net loss per acre.
Accurate data accumulation is critical for the foundation of further analysis and implementing improvements and adjustments in processes. Lamb Farms’ Dennis Carrell is one of the best soil samplers around!
Dennis has pulled many tens of thousands of samples in recent years. He has studied the “science” of sampling and determined the process for sampling soils is to gather the best samples possible.
Over time, the basic philosophy of identifying where to sample has changed. Years ago many sampling programs were targeted only to large areas such as the “Northwest 10 acres of a 40-acre field.” However, many people started sampling by soil types which was a tremendous improvement to recognize differences in the field. As technological capabilities evolved, many samples were pulled by a “grid” system.
In more recent times, Lamb Farms has been sampling its soil using a combination of soil types and the grid system. This allows us to exploit the strengths of both philosophies to most accurately identify areas to intensively sample to generate a great inventory of nutrients available in a field.
An example sampling map with areas of a field to sample:
Lamb Farms offers soil sampling as a service for others. People we currently sample for include other farmers, consultants and fertilizer dealers. Accurate sampling is essential and Dennis strictly adheres to a sampling routine which includes hand sampling to ensure consistency and quality.
Sampling services run the gamut from sampling only to the full service process. The full service includes laboratory analysis and data crunching up to the point that we can deliver product application files to your supplier.
For additional details please contact Dennis Carrell.
As a way to increase our farming efficiency, we have added bulk pesticide tanks in a containment facility on our farm. Doing so allows us to load our sprayer or nurse truck here. In the past, we have loaded our equipment several miles away at a local crop supplier. We have also used mini-bulk tanks. However, the convenience of having the product here is a tremendous time saver for us. The ease and accuracy of loading out these products is outstanding.
Before deciding to build the facility, we had several discussions with personnel from The Indiana State Chemist Office (ISCO), the Government Agency responsible for oversight of the industry. After consulting with them, we opted to build a facility larger than what we really needed at the time, to allow for growth and to supply nearby farmers. Our facility is built in full compliance of applicable laws and regulations as directed by the ISCO.
Our technology specialist, Dennis Carrell, holds a current commercial pesticide applicators license and Lamb Farms has its Restricted Pesticide Dealer Registration. Lamb Farms can recommend and sell Restricted Use Pesticides as we are fully licensed and insured for these activities.
Through many discussions with area farmers, we continue to hear of frustration in trying to work with existing local suppliers. As industry consolidation has occurred, services offered and the pricing philosophy has changed. Simply put, Lamb Farms is in a position to help those of you who have a desire to work with an alternative supplier.
Please contact Dennis Carrell to review how we can help you with a personal level of service.
All precision activities evolve around having a high level of geographical location accuracy. In the past, Lamb Farms’ tractors used lower quality GPS receivers with less accurate differential correction signals. These systems include Coast Guard Beacon signals, L-Band from Omnistar, and WAAS via the FAA.
A year ago, after much research, we opted to migrate towards an extremely accurate signal, RTK. This signal allows for excellent sub-inch accuracy and repeatability. After investigating systems from multiple vendors, we opted for Trimble systems. As the RTK pioneer, Trimble has a high market share of units already in place. What’s more, their customer support is excellent which ensures optimal implementation in the field.
The RTK system includes a GPS receiver that obtains information from the US government satellites which are circling the earth. The base stations have been surveyed in to determine their exact latitude and longitude.
The bases are constantly comparing the calculated position gleaned from satellite data and the fixed known location. They then generate a differential correction signal which is transmitted via a radio transmitter. The signal is used by receivers in our tractors to attain the most accurate position fixing possible.
We look at accurate positioning as the most important basis for other precision activities. Using the RTK accuracy, we can autosteer equipment with sub-inch accuracy. We have incorporated Trimble Nav-Controllers in equipment which steers the equipment itself. This frees the operator to allow better monitoring for optimal machine performance.
Given the accuracy, we have successfully used auto swathing via the Seed Command and Insight controllers. The RTK is truly a launching point to incorporate additional precision aspects.
Recognizing this signal could benefit other farmers as well. We are offering a subscription service to anyone who is capable of receiving the signal. The cost is less than that from certain other high-accuracy providers such as Omnistar.
For additional details please contact Dennis Carrell.
We’ve learned that there’s no “do all” software. Of the different mapping and record-keeping software packages from which you can choose, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Because of that, Lamb Farms runs several different packages to achieve optimal results.
The ability to effectively run different software allows us to best use and manage the data we collect. We know that as more and more requirements come at us, the capability to accurately maintain records will become more critical.
That’s why we’re offering a service to assist you with record-keeping of field operations. Our current customers are relieved to know their records are being accumulated and maintained by experienced staff at Lamb Farms. That peace of mind frees them to better use their valuable time to manage their operations instead of becoming bogged down learning and running different types of software.
For details about this service, please contact Dennis Carrell.