The back office isn’t the only place Royster-Clark is innovating through technology; in the fields, the company is implementing a variety of other emerging technologies as well. The most complex of these is a series of applications that make up an effort known as Precision Agriculture. The project uses GPS technology to pinpoint exactly how much of a certain kind of fertilizer to drop where.
To determine this equation, Royster-Clark agronomists take geo-referenced soil samples from a farm and send them to a laboratory for analysis. Once lab specialists identify which nutrients exist in the soil, the data is correlated with soil type (sandy, clay and so on) into a database that also incorporates the type of crop a farmer plans to grow. The database runs an algorithm designed to determine which fertilizer must be applied to achieve optimum yield. This information is then fed remotely into a GPS device that instructs farmers how to feed their crops for maximum growth.
Today, Royster-Clark has nearly 1 million acres of land involved in some form of precision agriculture. According to Managing Director of IT Robert Paarlberg, as the company obtains soil sample results, yield data and other information, it compiles those figures into a database to make future fertilization recommendations even better.