While there’s a ton of agronomy information at the touch of a fingertip these days, sometimes the best method for getting through the growing season, is a boots on the ground approach or as Channel calls it a Field Checkup Series.
“When our Seedsmen are out there they are doing some scouting, but they are really evaluating how our products are performing on our customers’ fields, evaluating what the growing conditions are and how our products are responding to that, and also really taking a look at the different soil types that those farmers have and what products we can place there to perform in the upcoming year,” said Brock Helgerson, Channel Brand Marketing Lead, Monsanto.
We had the chance to catch up with Helgerson at the 2017 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois where he detailed the program and the benefits of having a Seedsman walking the fields with you.
Launched in 2009, the Field Checkup Series is a series of on-farm visits that includes personal consultations and field evaluations from Channel Seedsmen during the four major growth stages:
- Seedling – track field history, conduct stand counts, note insect issues.
- Vegetative – complete a weed evaluation, dig and compare roots, evaluate node/root mass, collect soil samples, measure plant stands, develop fungicide recommendations.
- Reproductive – evaluate pollination, check for insect damage, stalk/root dig comparisons, production plan.
- Maturity – estimate yields, develop harvest schedule, weigh side-by-sides, develop combine call list, collect feedback on harvestability, grain appearance, flowability and stalk quality, evaluate harvest compared to goals, begin next season’s planting.
The Channel Seedsman then takes all that information and documents it in an application called Seedsman 360. With a push of a button at the end of the growing season, they can create a custom crop report for their customers with a product recommendation for the upcoming season.
“It’s a real nice way to take a look back at what happened throughout this year’s growing season and then say based on my evaluations when I was in your fields throughout the summer, this is what I would recommend you plant the following year,” Helgerson said.
Helgerson said growers really appreciate the personal approach and after a few years of going through it, really value that partnership with their Channel Seedsman.
Channel also works to continually improve the Field Checkup Series experience. For example, in October, the seed brand will be launching the Seed Finder Tool where growers can enter their zip code and receive a localized product recommendation with characteristics that are put in there by their local technical agronomist.
“By adding their zip code in this functionality, it is going to allow farmers to really see how these products have performed in their local area and what their local recommendations are from that local technical agronomist,” Helgerson said.
Channel growers do not pay any service fees related to the Channel Field Check Up Series. Even growers who aren’t current Channel customers can find their local Seedsman on Channel.com and request a Field Check Up Series evaluation to learn more.
“In my opinion I think it is what farmers should expect from the person they are purchasing their seed from and that’s the experience we focus on delivering at Channel,” Helgerson said.