CSA Spotlight: A Q&A With Granular Certified Services Agent Mike Mosier
For Granular Agronomy Certified Services Agent Mike Mosier, being a CSA boils down to being a partner to his growers and viewing their goals as his own. We had a chance to chat with the Iowa-based advisor recently and got his thoughts about digital agriculture, Granular Agronomy, and adopting tech.
On the best way to get started with digital ag
While digital agriculture tools have been around for decades, there are still growers who are trying to figure out just how to start integrating them effectively into their farming operations. For his growers who are facing this, Mosier had some specific—and digestible—advice.
“I challenge growers, whether it’s someone who farms 200 acres or 4,000 acres, to just try something different. I might talk to them about what we do here with variable rate seeding and nitrogen or grid sampling, but I don’t expect them to go whole-hog with it the first year. Just try 150-200 acres, depending on the size of your operation. Let’s try it, evaluate it, and see how it works.”
On the challenges that come with new adoption
Mosier was quick to share that just because a grower might get started with technology doesn’t mean they necessarily follow through with using it effectively—and this is where the partnership of a good advisor comes in.
“What’s interesting is that growers might have this technology at their fingertips, but there’s this fear factor that they don’t know how to utilize it. So I really try to be a full partner in getting them through those steps, loading prescriptions, answering phone calls when things aren’t working right. I try to help them be successful trying something new on their farm.”
In the end, Mosier said, the benefit of trying something new is the constant, year-over-year improvement. “As producers, we’re wired to produce more every year and raise that bar every year. If we’re not doing new things to try to get there, we’re being stagnant.”
On the biggest “aha” moments his growers are seeing with Granular
When discussing the biggest “aha” moment Mike is seeing with his growers, Mike shared that his customers who are farming challenging ground may be seeing the biggest eye-opening benefits. “For our growers who farm marginal ground, like sand, clay, or side hills, with Granular Agronomy and variable rate seeding and nitrogen, we’re allowing them to push their yield a little farther. Eight or ten years ago it wasn’t even a possibility to touch that level of yield potential.”
On using Granular’s Nitrogen tools to reforecast
While there are many ways Mosier uses Granular’s tools with his customers, when asked his favorite, he was quick to pinpoint one specific capability that has really benefited his growers, addressing how Granular Nitrogen fit into grower success plan this year.
“We had several growers that were possibly planning on y-drop application in a situation where we had really good soils and high organic matter, and the tool was telling us because we were in such a dry area—I don’t think you’re going to need as much nitrogen as we thought because we didn’t get that loss expected from rainfall. As we all know, nitrogen price per unit got pretty high and continues to stay high into 2022, so that’s been a big thing this year. Every field is different, but in most situations, we were able to put less nitrogen out there than what we planned based on what the tool was telling us.”
On how his growers are using digital ag for in-the-moment changes
On the flipside of some of his growers’ nitrogen savings, Mosier said some of his growers are using Granular’s capabilities to change up goals mid-season, allowing them to see just what they need to do in order to get the higher yields they field confident they can achieve.
“In my northern areas, typically [the fields] don’t look as even. But in 2021, with even emergence, we were able to get an adequatel stand out there. I had growers coming in who were planning on 200 bushels on their farm but they came in and said, ‘let’s bump this to 220 or 230.’ The tool allowed us to go in and push those yield goals up and change things to put more nitrogen on there. The cool part of [Granular Agronomy] is that we can go in throughout the growing year and make changes and push our goals when we’re able to.”