As an Agtech professional and joining Agworld a little over 2 years ago, I am humbled by how much there still is to learn. However, I do find that on many different levels I'm able to draw an increasing number of parallels between my own life and those of the growers I work with. For those of you who don't know me that well: my wife and I both train as professional athletes. I specialize in the decathlon and my wife, Marybeth, is a sprinter - she recently won a bronze medal at the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia!
The biggest comparison that I like to draw between being an athlete and being a farmer is our focus on metrics. Where both growers and athletes used to be able to just 'do your best and get the job done', now in most scenarios, this is not good enough. Timely and actionable insights are so important. Where I focus on the metrics surrounding my performance and health, growers look at their financial, nutritional and logistical metrics in great detail.
The key with every metric is to have real-time insights; if you only have access to these metrics every couple of months, it is difficult to make adjustments. However, real-time visibility will show you where you stand right now and will guide you toward what you have to do to improve. Understanding your current position allows you to make a game plan to perform better - whether it pertains to your own body or producing a crop.
I use a WHOOP wearable to monitor important stats to tell me whether I need to push harder in a certain way or not. This is not dissimilar to a grower looking at their nutrient dashboard in Agworld, checking out NDVI imagery, and pairing that with their financial information to make a decision on whether to push the crop hard or back off a bit.
Being successful and profitable at growing crops is looking more and more like professional sport in my opinion. Small things seem to matter more every year - just like they do during my training leading up to an important track meet. Our coach will know exactly what we need to do to take the next step in our athletic career, because they can see our exact performance and health stats, which tell them how we are performing and how we can improve.
When I speak to agronomists and growers they tell me that, instead of just looking at a crop and guessing what the next step should be, they want background information. Answers to important questions such as: when was the crop planted, what are the soil characteristics, which nutritional inputs have been used and what is the current status of the crop, all lead to better-informed crop management decisions.
Athletic records still get broken regularly, as do the yield records across crop segments - although this depends on seasonal conditions of course. While the differences might seem small sometimes, it pays to be ahead of the pack - and I'm convinced that a data-driven approach makes a big difference to anyone involved. For those of us competing in sports, I can recommend you wear a WHOOP or similar device. For those of us that work in agriculture, I can recommend you use a farm information management system like Agworld.
If you like to learn more about how Agworld helps growers and their advisors make better decisions, or if you can help me find a good indoor pole vaulting location in the Denver area to practice at, I look forward to hearing from you!