With 143 years in business, Centra Sota began in 1877 as a farmer-owned cooperative to market milk and butter. Today Central Sota services over 500,000 acres and provides farmers in central Minnesota with agronomy, technology, energy, feed and grain, and lawn care. Along with its full-scale agronomy service, Centra Sota’s technology division offers Yield Quest — a turn-key custom precision ag program. Quality data matters to fleet and field management solutions, in 2019, Centra Sota became a Farmobile service client which resulted in embedding real-time data collection as an essential foundation for their Yield Quest precision service offerings.
Centra Sota’s precision ag technology team sought a digital solution to help them mitigate risk, track performance and increase the visibility of their commercial spray / spread operation.
Ultimately, the co-op also wanted to build trust by showing growers exactly what was happening in the field with custom application of fertilizer and chemicals.
Another challenge was their commercial fleet could be operating miles away from each other. Consequently, managing fleet logistics, machines and operator performance was increasingly difficult.
Centra Sota began to trial Farmobile data collection for both commercial fleet and grower benefit. This resulted in immediate, never-before-seen fleet and agronomic visibility, driving three years of steady performance and digital growth.
2018. Installed 10 Farmobile PUCTM devices on commercial application rigs and several farmers’ farm machines.
2019. Grew to 86 data subscriptions (the full commercial fleet) and continued expansion of farmers’ machines. Conducted an audit, became the 1st Farmobile service client. Re-engineered Yield Quest to be fueled by Farmobile data.
2020. Grew to 100+ data subscriptions including commercial fleet, tender trucks and a farmer growth strategy. Launched Yield Quest with Farmobile data collection embedded in base package.
Central to its services, Centra Sota assists farmers in certifying and licensing their data through the Farmobile DataStoreSM exchange.
Adds value with new data layer. Centra Sota’s ability to share its spray/spread data layer via Electronic Field Records (EFRs) gives farmers and the co-op’s tech team greater crop visibility for more informed recommendations.
Enhances fleet efficiency and visibility. Managing fleet logistics and performance LIVE has helped Centra Sota to identify operational efficiency.
Grows Centra Sota’s capabilities. By fueling Yield Quest with a consistent flow of real-time data, Centra Sota is in a strong position to turn raw data into knowledge for customers.
According to Centra Sota’s internal ROI calculations, “a digitally engaged grower leads to $25 per acre of increased profit for the cooperative.” That is, when farmers collect, share and use data to their benefit, they generate efficiencies which allow them to reinvest in seed, inputs and precision services to further benefit their operations.
Centra Sota is collaborating with Farmobile to grow beyond the 10% of acres currently enrolled in Yield Quest. According to their estimates, every 10% gain in precision acres (at $25/acre) could add a net $1.25M to the co-op’s bottom line.
The adoption of Farmobile technology is considered central to advance Centra Sota’s environmental and sustainability initiatives. Examples include: scaling their nutrient management offerings, becoming a future 4R-certified retailer and more effectively enrolling farmer-acres in the Land O’Lakes’ Truterra program.
– Mike Krcil, Krcil Farms