At Simplot we benefit from a wealth of information that helps us create healthier foods, higher yields, and leverage more efficient growing techniques.
In Part One of our Harvest Season series, you learned more about how water stewardship, fertilizer, and sustainability help ensure productive harvests of potatoes, peas, sugar beets, corn, alfalfa and all the other crops Simplot growers and Simplot farms grow. There are other key contributors to a successful harvest, too.
In Part Two of this series, we’ll take a closer look at technology, agronomy, and storage and the roles those components play in ensuring a successful harvest to feed our growing world.
Technology and Agronomy
Using technology to drive better yields is one huge reason we do our jobs so well at Simplot. This component intersects with agronomy to create a beneficial partnership that addresses every area necessary to creating healthy, productive crops.
Put simply, agronomy is the science of soil management and crop production. Simplot employs agronomists across the globe who are passionate about our Mission of Bringing Earth’s Resources to Life; they play important roles in every part of our Company. This robust program has many different facets, including work happening across all business units through Simplot’s Agronomy and Data Sciences Program.
This team enables growers by providing usable, relevant, and compelling knowledge to help them better understand field, crop, and farm management practices to improve yield quality and profitability.
One way we do this is through our Simplot-developed In-Season Crop Management Tool (ICMT). This tool leverages the power of data by analyzing critical crop inputs like nutrients and water. By capturing these actual live field data and crop management decisions from seasoned growers The ICMT provides specificity and benchmarks instead of ballparks, leading to benefits at harvest time.
Simplot Grower Solutions is another hub of activity around technology and agronomy that directly impacts our farmer customers. Their SmartFarm® technology is the backbone of our agronomic services, harnessing modern technology to produce real-time agronomic recommendations. It includes Simplot Advisor®, the digital tool our Crop Advisors use to track field scouting, review soil and tissue sample results, monitor yield data, input their agronomic recommendations for our customers, and more.
Trimble is another piece of powerful software at our disposal. Growers use it to track all crop inputs in the field and storage. Trimble data can be powerful in building proprietary agronomic knowledge and empowering precision farming.
Simplot’s food processing plants continually need raw product. Which means we need to store a lot of potatoes to supply them with raw source material, since harvest doesn’t happen year-round. Depending on the region, harvest season lasts up to three months, happening roughly in August/September/November in the Northern Hemisphere and March/April/May in the Southern Hemisphere.
Storage management starts in the field with good agronomy and continues through harvest with proper handling. Then the storage must be managed correctly to maintain quality; significant shrink and crop loss can occur in storage if it’s not managed well.
Of note, the Company recently opened a new, state-of-the-art potato storage facility in Powranna, Tasmania, Australia. The $41 million facility provides potato storage for local growers, enabling them to harvest potatoes when they are at their prime. This minimizes potential weather impacts on crops left in the ground, making potato farming a more lucrative option. The new facility is just one part of Simplot’s larger investment in potato storage in Tasmania.
Tasmania Potato Storage
Harvest in a Nutshell (or a bushel?)
Every year, Simplot contracts with growers for hundreds of thousands of acres of potatoes and vegetables to process in our food factories. We work in partnership with these growers, playing an active role to ensure good outcomes at harvest time. Simplot also grows thousands of acres of raw product on its own farms and sells crop nutrients to all comers — whether they grow for us or not.
As always, at Simplot we are green and growing — in the fields, at offices and at sites. Our drive to discovery always leads us to find a better way through innovation and powerful thinking. This allows us — in partnership with our farmers across the globe who plant and harvest literal tons of potatoes and vegetables — to provide billions of pounds of Simplot food products each year to feed our growing world.