New app helps farmers predict corn yields throughout growing process

LAFAYETTE and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Farmers can better predict corn yields throughout the year using a site-specific Web application developed and commercialized by Advanced Ag Solutions LLC, an affiliate of the Purdue Research Park.

Daryl Starr, founder of Advanced Ag Solutions, said Optimizer 2.0 provides farmers with data through a daily text message and a Web login portal. Messages include the projected corn yield and the most limiting factor for their farm.

"Projections are made based on variety of seed, soil type, weather data and other limiting factors," he said. "If the limiting factor is water, farmers know they need to irrigate their fields. If it's nitrogen, they know they need to apply nitrogen to their fields."

Farmers sign up for Optimizer 2.0 by going to http://www.optmzr.co or texting their ZIP code to 765-560-4130. Once they submit their information, they will immediately receive a confirmation text message.

Starr said there are two levels of subscriptions available.

"Farmers who sign up for the free service receive an alert about their county's standard practices, which includes average soil type, seed variety and rates, and planting date. They also receive a link to a mobile website that displays the information," he said. "Paying subscribers receive customized information about their fields and a website login to view daily updated information and a visual representation of the information overlaid on a Google map."

Optimizer 2.0 pulls in data from several sources and organizes them in a database.

"We receive soil data, data about farmers' fields, seed data from different varieties, weather and other factors that affect crop yield. All these factors go into making crop yield predictions," Starr said. "We also receive information from farmers and actual weather conditions that replace the historic data. Optimizer 2.0 recalculates and adjusts the predicted yield so the daily text message is as accurate as possible when it is delivered."

Although Optimizer 2.0 focuses solely on corn production, Starr said information about other crops may soon be available.

"We have a soybean model on the shelf, but we first want the industry to grasp the impact a site-specific crop model can have," he said. "Our accuracy is high, but more importantly, timely decisions can be made more easily now."

A video produced by Advanced Ag Solutions that shows how to subscribe to Optimizer can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/darylbstarr

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