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Savvy Farmer Cuts Through The Crop Protection Jungle

Farmers, crop consultants and retailers faced with the ever-growing challenge of selecting the right product for the right weed or insect at the best cost have a handy new web-based tool available.

Savvy Farmer is a new website tool ( www.savvyfarmer.com ) developed by Warren Libby and technology partner Sam Vurrabindi. Many western Canadian farmers will be familiar with Libby’s name, from his previous life as president of Syngenta Canada and Novartis Crop Protection.

Libby and Vurrabindi spent the last two years developing this comprehensive but easy-to-use website that virtually covers every chemical, for every crop and weed, disease or insect found in Canada.

Plug in the weed, disease or insect spectrum, in whatever crop, you want to know your options for and Savvy Farmer in three seconds can give you the range of both brand name and generic products registered for that crop pest. Enter your field sprayer specifications and it can give you the rate, the tank mixes, and even provides a retail price comparison of cost per acre.

“In the last few years, especially with the introduction of generic crop protection products, it becomes a very complex and sometimes confusing process to figure out what product to use,” says Libby. “Even for those directly involved in the industry it is difficult to keep up with products, the different names, and new registrations. That’s why we developed Savvy Farmer.”

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION

Libby sells access to the Savvy Farmer website for an annual $199 subscription fee. But he says it is a very nominal fee considering the amount of information

the program sorts through to provide the best product options for weed, insect and disease control. “It doesn’t take long to recover that cost if you have an easy way to select the most effective product, or find the right product that saves you a few dollars per acre,” says Libby.

And farmers don’t have to be concerned the website won’t cover the products for their specific situation. The website, which is

updated daily, holds information for every crop protection product registered in Canada, for use on some 765 different crops. Some of the specialty crops, turf and horticultural crops that weren’t on the website when it was launched in January are now being added.

HELP WITH IDENTIFICATION

The website includes data on all weeds, crop diseases and insect pests known in Canada. And one of the nice features of the website is its photo library. If you have an unidentified weed or insect, for example, you can search the more than 1,000 photos on Savvy Farmer to find a picture that matches and identifies your pest so you then ask the program to find the product options for control.

“There has been a lot of information that has gone into the database of this website,” says Libby. “It can provide about four million treatment options. I can never say it covers all situations 100 per cent, but we are in that 99.99 per cent range. It is one of the most complete databases on crop protection products and options you will find anywhere.”

HOW IT WORKS

In the simple-to-use website, farmers can enter the geographic location of their farm and a field size. They can then select the crop growing or to be planted on that field. In another panel they select the pest control issue, whether it be weed control, insect, disease or some combination. From there the user selects the application purpose — is it for a burndown treatment, post-emergent, pre-plant, or in-crop treatment, for example. On the next page you get down to the specifics of the type or range of weeds, or disease or insect to be controlled in that crop.

So, for example, a Manitoba farmer looking for burndown options, pre-emergent, when seeding LibertyLink canola — he enters the basic information, asks the program to search treatment options, and in three seconds Savvy Farmer produces a list of 66 different treatment options, by product name, and by herbicide group and it also provides a cost per acre for each of those treatments based on suggested retail prices. In that example, prices of different products ranged from a high of $6.90 to a low of $1 per acre, depending on the product selected. From there the farmer can select the preferred product, and also see application rate and any tank-mixing instructions. And the producer can just repeat the process for each crop, and weed, disease or insect spectrum.

For more information on Savvy Farmer visit the company website, and you can also learn more about the service on Shaun Haney’s Real Agriculture website at http://realagriculture.com in a video clip interview and demonstration of the Savvy Farmer website with Warren Libby. Just go to the Real Agriculture website and enter Savvy Farmer in the search box.

Along with the web-based site accessed by the home or office computer, Savvy Farmer was also planning to launch a mobile (smart-phone) version in late April.

LeeHartisafieldeditorforGrainewsat Calgary.Contacthimat403-592-1964orby emailat [email protected]

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All brand name and registered products are listed, complete with retail price comparisons

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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