CSA Spotlight: A Q&A With Granular Certified Services Agent Chris McCallister

Granular Certified Services Agent Chris McCallister
Chris McCallister is a Granular CSA and Agronomist at Foundation Ag Service in southern Michigan.

When it comes to guiding his growers and showing them how technology can help their operations, Granular Certified Services Agent (CSA) Chris McCallister is always looking to the future, working with his customers to learn and plan year over year.

We had a chance to get some valuable insights from the Michigan-based advisor recently and got his thoughts about digital ROI and the importance of using all the information and tools at your disposal to plan ahead.

Pinpointing ROI

While discussing the hurdles some growers face in making decisions about their ag tech, McCallister noted that the ability for growers to take a look at their investments and understand how making simple changes might yield returns elsewhere is one of the most easily demonstrated benefits of digital ag.

“When a grower has never been put into a position to be successful with the technology they have or may be looking at purchasing, I like to give them a sound mind and look at return on investment. Whether you’re going to invest in variable rate seeding, variable rate prescriptions of fertility or nitrogen, sometimes technology allows you to move that dollar around in the same field. You’re not necessarily going to purchase less fertilizer or have less inputs, but it’s getting a better return on those inputs in specific parts of that field that you know will be successful and pulling back on other areas to make them successful, as well.”

Tracking and achieving efficient inputs

One of the returns McCallister noted was particularly valuable to his growers was the efficiency of their applications and seeding, and the capability of Granular Agronomy to see that level of performance.

“[The biggest eye-opening moment has been] the ability to drill down on nitrogen use efficiency on variable rate scripts and see the productivity of the different soils the farm is spread across and being able to utilize that information year by year to continue to improve the plan we put into place each winter. Really drilling down and seeing those rates and productivity of the soil is something that we’ve been able to grow more consistently and write efficient prescriptions using Granular in terms of nitrogen management.”

Taking technology one step further

With growers taking advantage of such in-depth insights into their fields’ productivity and potential, McCallister noted that the benefits are much longer-term than simply determining a single season’s returns or efficacy, and he has advice for the growers who he works with.

“The variables you see within your field, start thinking about the reasons why and planning for next year. Use the technology you have to tell that story throughout the year. That way, when you do get into that combine, you’ve got an answer about that location in the field for why it did so well, or why it was poor. You’ve invested in the technology, take it the next step further and help tell the story throughout the year. That way you’re prepared and you improve for next year.”

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