Optimize RX® for variable rate fertilizer is taking the guesswork out of – and putting the confidence into – fertilizer decisions on Greg Larock’s farm in west-central Saskatchewan.
Larock Farms is a 14,000 acre operation northwest of Eatonia, Saskatchewan. Greg has been farming with his father, Arnott, since about 1980, and his three sons have since joined him. Located in an area with both dark brown soils and sandy land, the family grows red lentils, durum and canola. 2022 is the third season using Optimize RX® for variable rate across the farm and Greg says “It makes perfect sense.”
There’s a lot that goes into crop planning – a task that looks multiple years ahead of time, and includes variables and factors that are both in and out of your control. That’s why Greg values the role that Optimize RX® plays on his farm when it comes to fertilizer management.
“I find it very easy, and way less stressful,” he says.
Working with his local Decisive Farming by TELUS Agriculture territory manager, Brennan Sommerville, and agronomist, Garth Donald, Greg knows that he is putting fertilizer where they need it as opposed to areas where they don’t. Removing the guesswork out of fertilizer decisions makes the process easier, and Greg feels much more confident in what they’re doing on the farm.
“It’s taken all of the guesswork out.”
Putting Optimize RX® to work on Larock Farms has paid off. Initially, Greg saw savings on fertilizer as soil sampling gave him insight into what was in the soil – from there, the family could adjust their rates accordingly. But what Greg has noticed most is the gain in yields, even with the recent dry years. “On the dry years, we still had a decent crop,” he says, adding that he’s also looking forward to testing out variable rate on a wet year.
Keeping it all organized
Greg has been using Decisive Farming’s farm management software to keep everything organized across the farm. Greg shares that the maps have been particularly useful as colour-coding different crops gives a visual of the entire farm across all of their fields. And having the farm information organized simplifies the process.
“It’s easy to look back, and it helps you organize for the next year,” he says.
Additionally, keeping these records has helped Greg further understand the importance of soil health and improve sustainability practices on his farm.
“All of our land is organized and we know what we’re doing ahead of time.”
Managing the weather
Using variable rate on Larock Farms also helps Greg mitigate risks.
“With the variable rate … I think we have a better chance of managing the weather, and managing risk as well.”
This confidence comes from Greg’s increased knowledge of his soil and nutrient needs. Working closely with the team at Decisive Farming by TELUS Agriculture, Greg uses field and nutrient information to make plans for next season and beyond.
“The more you know, the better decisions you can make. The whole parcel makes it easier to farm.”