About: Krystle and Cliff Tollefson farm 4,500 acres on land that’s been in their family for generations. Their crops include canola, corn, peas, soybeans and a lot of durum and spring wheat, for a diversified operation. While the Tollefsons bring on additional help during the harvest season, their full-time staff numbers just three employees, including themselves.
Location: New Town, North Dakota
Farmers Edge Technologies: Weather Stations, Harvest Manager, Online Analytics, Variable Rate Impact Maps, Satellite Imagery.
Usage Case: More accurately manage the inputs for individual crop needs for maximum yield while reducing the time and stress of doing the planning themselves.
Duration: Four years
The Tollefsons have always taken an agronomic approach to farming, sampling and testing their soil properties to determine how to grow crops effectively and profitably while conserving and protecting the environment. Cliff focuses on the overall planning and strategic management of the farm while Krystle oversees many of the harvest activities.
For years Cliff relied on a weather subscription service as well as agronomists to review crop data from prior years to predict and improve the next generation yields. Much of this effort focused on soil sampling and what the agronomists and neighbors had found to be effective in the past. While this approach was initially helpful, Cliff wanted to take operations to the next level with more precise prescriptions.
“In farming, there are so many factors we can’t control. Leveraging technology to perform preventive maintenance helps maximize the opportunity to be effective and efficient at harvest time,” stated Cliff.
Krystle was also looking for new efficiencies as part of her harvest responsibilities. In particular, Krystle wanted to streamline grain cart operations. “The last thing you want to see is a combine sitting with a full grain tank because we didn’t forecast accurately,” she stated.
Farmers Edge solutions delivered an integrated software platform that helped the Tollefson Farm become more predictive on a number of fronts.
“Farmers Edge gives us a unified view of our fields, weather, crop health and equipment activity from my phone or other mobile device,” said Krystle. While Cliff continues to work with agronomists, the data that he brings to them at the end of each season is much more precise and actionable based on Farmers Edge reporting and analytics.
The Tollefsons are able to see if they produced the crops they had planned for and model the effect of additional rain, or other weather conditions, for example, on outputs. The couple can also compare varying weather factors across their fields and take this data into account for future planning. Cliff estimates he’s cut his planning time by 25% using Farmers Edge – time he can now use more strategically in evolving his operations.
“They’ve been able to help me simplify record keeping on the seeding, usage of fertilizer and spraying to not only make more informed decisions in real-time, but also help me improve my yields by 30%, over time,” he stated.
While the Tollefsons have just started using Farmers Edge Harvest products, Krystle credits the technology with the ability to better control and monitor grain cart scale activity via her phone or iPad. Previously, Krystle was forced to make all the calculations on a spreadsheet. The app offers multiple reports that assist with capacity and load planning as well as truckload detail and APH reports for federal crop insurance documentation purposes, as appropriate.
“A prescription based on accurate information is as good as gold. By applying the best seed, and just the right amount of fertilizer and crop protection products to each field, we can reduce the quantities needed while increasing yields. These relatively small investments affect profitability for years to come.”
Krystle and Cliff Tollefson