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Delivery of soil science to farmers using advanced simulation tools: A 10 year case study

Wildfong, D., K. Greer, D. Hicks, and E. Hammermeister. 2011. Western Nutrient Management Conference 09:173- 175

Abstract

INTRODUCTION : Technologies that aid in farm management and input application can increase profitability only if they readily show an advantage that the farmer can measure (Walton 2010). Western Ag Labs Ltd. (WAL) is a soil science laboratory which provides an educational soil service to producers of Western Canada using the PRS® Technology. The service provides their customers access to advanced simulation tools that serves as a decision support system for Crop Nutrition Planning (CNP). The PRS® technology consists of: a) Plant Root Simulator (PRS®)-probe to gain soil data; b) PRS® Nutrient Forecaster-computer software that designs the Crop Nutrition Plan; and c) A team of WAL Field Service Representatives (FSR) who act as CNP educators transferring knowledge directly to producers. A 10 year study was conducted among users of the service to quantify the following: 1. Customers' satisfaction with the knowledge transfer. 2. Rate of the PRS® Technology adoption. 3. Change in average annual dollars spent on inputs (effect on the producers' bottom line). 4. Average percentage change in yield production. 5. Customers' perceived return on investment among whole farm adopters and indicator field adopters. 6. Impact on the farmers' knowledge and empowerment levels.