Digitally Engaged Acres: enabling sustainable ag through tech

Published: Aug 15, 2022

Fully leveraging geospatial, farm equipment, environmental, and agronomic data is one of the most formidable tech challenges in agriculture, and through our Echelon PA and Digital Hub platforms, Nutrien is leading the way.

Geospatial data helps to enable a lot of the world’s industries these days, from the military to weather forecasting to transportation and urban planning. But when it comes to agriculture, the use of geospatial data is exponentially more complex than most other industries – and it also has the potential to move the needle considerably when it comes to sustainably producing more food per acre.

Fully harnessing and leveraging acre level data is one of the most formidable tech and innovation challenges in agriculture right now – and Nutrien is at the forefront of these efforts, through our Digitally Engaged Acres system, driven by our Echelon PA precision agriculture app.

“A lot of industries use geospatial data, but what makes agriculture different is the different number of diverse data layers that go into a decision that need to be all geospatially referenced,” says Paul Bonnett, Senior Director, Agronomic Solutions. “There are variables around soil, the crop population that’s been planted, the topology of the land and how it interacts with rainfall, fertilizer and chemistry, tillage practices and the yield of that particular field – and more.”

Many of these factors vary from point to point across a given field, and also change over the course of the growing season as the plants mature. Imagery – from drones and satellites, for examples – also figures in.

“It’s a lot to wrap your arms around, but once you’ve done that, if you put all the geospatial, agronomic, and machinery application data into the hands our expert agronomists, it can be a game changer,” says Cameron Holbrook, VP, Digital. “They can use it to make precise recommendations – on an acre-by-acre basis for seed, chemicals, fertilizers, numerous services, and sustainability practices on a given field.”

At the heart of Nutrien’s Digitally Engaged Acres program is our Echelon PA platform and app. It’s a robust tool, and we’re constantly adding new features and layers – with the help of our growing, world-class tech team.

Echelon PA enables the agronomist to have value-added discussions with growers and provide the best advice possible – with the potential to increase crop yields by at least 5 percent, while also helping to optimize sustainable agriculture practices.

“Nutrien Ag Solutions is leading the industry as we are using data at a field-by-field level basis while enabling our infield agronomists the ability to make the most precise recommendations to growers at scale,” says Jeff Tarsi, Interim President, Nutrien Ag Solutions. “This is changing how the industry thinks about agriculture and leveraging the most advanced technology to maximize crop yields for our growers in a scalable and simplified way.”