Kunz Farms Inc.
Optimize RX and Why it is Not Just Variable Rate Technology
Tuesday, January 24 5:15pm - 5:45pm Room 7
Patrick Kunz emigrated from Switzerland with his family in 1994. Since graduating from Olds College, he has worked with his dad and brother on their 3400 acre farm. They also operate a 2500 head feedlot and have a 120 head cow herd. He is raising 3 children with his wife.
In the last two years individuals within the government and in the agricultural sector have made comments in regards to variable rate technology of “how it doesn’t pay” or “it is just the new fad” and have painted anyone associated within the precision agriculture field with the same brush. I find this very interesting since these individuals are making these statements with only working with one of the precision agricultural suppliers in Western Canada. Yes anyone can put up a shingle and say “I do variable rate technology" but what does that mean to the industry and to farmers using this technology? Optimize RX is a scientific process that received funding from the Alberta Research Council for its process. We use satellite imagery like some of our competition however that is the only similarity within that statement. We hand craft multiple year composite fertility maps with using an average of 10 years to make up that composite map. With doing this process, it takes out the year to year variability of using a single image and gives a better understanding of the variability within the field. So once that process is completed we introduce the use of generalized topography which allows us to select our areas in which we need to zone sample. We utilize a zero to six inch test with a complete analysis of over twenty five components then also use a six to twenty four inch test for our mobile nutrients like nitrogen and sulphur. Once we have all of this information this is when we sit down with the grower and create the prescription for the field with yield goals and nutrient requirements. Then the prescription is formatted for the equipment the grower has for application then loaded into his online data storage that we provide at no cost.
Another area that Optimize RX differs from the competition is in our research and development program. In working with multiple growers and organizations like Olds College, we set up replicated strip trials to compare constant rate treatments to Optimize RX treatments. This is to see and quantify the differences between the technologies. By doing the replicated strips this truly gets a clear picture of what the technology is capable of and also you take out any bias that may happen. With the ability of the equipment we can lay out a 3 to 5 replicate strip trial without delaying the growers in there seeding practices. This way you are comparing apples to apples on the data and making the collection of this data easy and simple for the growers. We are performing trials on fertility and seeding rates so that we can have a complete data set for our customers.
At the end of the day producers need to understand that all service providers are not the same and that we all have a different product offering. Understanding the strengths that we provide is one of the key factors in make a decision for your operation.
Joint presentation with Garth Donald