While Amazon hasn’t come out with the agronomist version of the “Echo” just yet, growers do have a few interactive tools at their fingertips to help answer those questions from the field, thanks to Monsanto’s Genuity suite.
As Sean Evans, Technology Development Manager for Corn Traits at Monsanto, points out there is a lot of information out there for growers to sift through to find the right answer. And sometimes it may be the case that a farmer has only one point of contact — such as a field rep through a dealer — at their disposal to make inquiries.
That’s why the Monsanto technology team developed the Genuity in-season management tools — to take the grower straight to the source.
“They wanted to get more direct answers from people that were actually developing the technologies and might be considered leading experts in the area,” Evans said. “This was one way we came up with as a potential conduit for that conversation.”
Here’s a sample of what you can find from the Genuity interactive sites and app:
For general questions about trait technology, resistance management issues, and just crop agnostics, then the place to go is #TraitAnswers. This interactive site has been up and running for about a year now and since that time, the page has received more than 30,000 views and answered several hundred questions through their interactive twitter discussion.
The high information forum has taken a lot of frequently asked questions out to the field and then had a technical expert, agronomist, or breeder address that specific question and record it in a video format.
In addition, if a grower has a question that wasn’t previously addressed on the site, and would like to throw it out there through twitter, he or she can ask through @GenuityTraits using #traitanswers and someone will respond within 24- 36 hours.
“We wanted to have a place where they could ask specific questions without searching through a lot of content to get them,” Evans said.
While the Corn Calculator is not an app, the two-year-old site is just as interactive. According to Evans, the calculator allows growers to be able to play with different scenarios where they select different corn traits — where that be insect traits, herbicide tolerance traits, or stacks of all of those.
“You can do a sort of cost benefit analysis so you can decide whether or not it is the right product for an operation,” Evans said.
Corn Calculator does not look at hybrid products, but rather trait performance, so growers can compare those to other trait options on the market place.
This is a must for growing season, according to Evans. Now in its fourth season, Insect Forecast has evolved over time and added more pest risk watching as the Genuity team has accessed various networks and validated out in the fields.
“We show visually risks associated with certain insect tests — so a lot of our insects tests we would deal with — you can predict whether they are going to be a risk based on climatology data and weather patterns,” Evans said. “Take corn earworm, a highly migratory test, whether or not it ends up in the Northern corn belt could depend a lot on wind currents and storm fronts that move from the South to the North. As the season progresses, the risk for that test is shown.”
In addition, Insect Forecast feeds into various monitoring networks, tracking data publicly available to help refine the boundaries of those maps. Insect Forecast currently monitors for corn earworm, western bean cutworm, black cutworm, corn rootworm, and soybean aphid.
Growers can sign up for text alerts to help scout throughout the season. They also have access to see how those maps have changed over the season as well as check out previous years’ risks.
With this mobile device app, growers can enter information about their operation, their rotation, use of past packages utilized, observations on their own, lodging, and just general pest pressure around corn rootworm. From there, the app will give growers a risk assessment for that field and suggest different management practices.
Evans said for example if the risk came out extremely high, the immediate option might be to rotate. A second option might be to implement a pyramided corn product like SmartStax or some other dual mode of action product. Growers can record this information by field and by farm, and data can be stored from growing season to growing season.
According to Evans, since the app came out in 2014, it’s been good for product placement decisions and by utilizing it with corn calculator, growers can make some better informed decisions
With this site, growers can compare corn traits to leading competitors’ alternative platforms to make sure they are combating insect pressure and maximizing yield potential.
“With all of the different trait packages out there often times you don’t know what you are getting with what,” Evans said. “This really strips that down and compares.”
Didn’t see the tool you need this growing season? Contact the Genuity team as they are always taking grower feedback.
“A lot of other companies are providing specific information about their products only. I feel like Genuity.com, when it comes to traits, is really a nice one stop shop,” Evans said. “We are always asking for input from our growers how we can better serve them. Is it digital format? Is it print? Those are things we are constantly trying to get a handle on.”