The ever-changing ag business is challenging all players to be smarter with resources. Companies that serve the industry are looking for ways to provide customers with the right product at the right time, as well as to maximize service while keeping costs under control.
Two companies, Bayer CropScience and DuPont, are pushing forward with on-demand tools so dealers can offer customers just the right mix or seed treatment on an as-needed basis. The benefits: The dealer saves money with less inventory on hand, and the farmer can manage purchases down to the acre.
Three years ago, DuPont offered PrecisionPac  at a few U.S. dealerships, after a successful Canadian trial. Today, the system has expanded to 17 states. David Schuur, cereals portfolio manager, DuPont Crop Protection, notes there’s a growing need for customized weed control, due in part to rising concerns over resistant weeds. “Most of where we have this right now is in wheat-growing areas, but we’re going to start piloting the technology in corn and soybean areas during the 2014 growing season.”
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PrecisionPac is a custom-blending system that allows retailers, using only DuPont products, to mix and match the right applications depending on a grower’s need. The company retains ownership of the systems and tightly controls the blending. It offers ease-of-use, dustless formulating, minimal capital investment and ongoing technical support.
“We’re offering the retailer the ability to provide a value-added service that offers preprogrammed mixes that not only meet DuPont guidelines, but also fit the recognized needs of their respective growing areas and geography,” says Schuur.
The PrecisionPac system can hold up to six different products. Many possible mixes can be chosen based on a grower’s needs, but data must be inputted using an external keypad before dispensing.
Precision seed treatment
Like PrecisionPac, Bayer CropScience’s On Demand  seed treatment system is also relatively new to the marketplace and continues to gain traction and credibility as a value-added technology.
The system is touted by Bayer CropScience as the first (and only) fully automated, closed seed treatment application system, with preloaded, bulk product drums, which help reduce environmental and human exposures, and eliminate errors and inaccuracies that normally occur with traditional hand mixing.
The system’s wireless Internet-linked cloud technology offers remote preventive maintenance capabilities, as well as the ability to receive service notifications, automatic downloads of new software and recipe updates.
“The easy-to-use touchscreen display allows for the creation of many different recipes,” says Kerry Grossweiler at Bayer CropScience. Because of the system’s design and features, it offers flexibility for the user, and serves as a platform where new products can be used and introduced to the marketplace.
For example, Poncho/Votivo, a combination seed-applied insecticide with a biological nematode protectant, and other Bayer seed treatments are applied with greater precision according to seed size and weight.