Remi Schmaltz’s family has been in the agriculture industry for more than 100 years, doing everything from farming to retail. In 2006, when Remi and his brother, Tasha, took over the family’s retail business, which sold fertilizer and seeds, they realized the future of farming was elsewhere. They decided to think about what kind of products farmers would need going forward, and in 2011, Decisive Farming was born.

The company’s products help farmers use data to make decisions about their businesses, decisions that traditionally relied on gut instinct. “It involves a lot of guesswork, which increases risk on the farm,” says Schmaltz. Decisive Farming’s newest product is My Farm Manager, a cloud-based ­application that allows farmers to see all the data relating to their farm in one place, from agronomics to employee data and equipment.

The company also has a tool called Optimize RX, which helps farmers plant and fertilize their crops as efficiently as possible. Fields tend not to be uniform, so one spot might be richer in minerals and nutrients than another, but farmers still often apply fertilizer evenly. This leads to over-fertilization and run-off in some areas, while others are under-­fertilized. “It’s lost production and lost profit,” says Schmaltz. Using satellite imagery and soil testing, Optimize RX identifies how much fertilizer or seed to use across their fields. The resulting “prescription” can then be sent directly to the farmer’s equipment, which will vary the rate of nutrients applied to the field. Schmaltz says this increases production by around 10 per cent and net profit by $20 per acre. “Technology has allowed for the farmer to be much more efficient and productive,” he says.

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