Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives with the DAS Team at The Mill

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Through strategic alliances with Chesapeake Bay stakeholders, The Mill formed a precision agriculture team within their agronomy services in 2019 called Decision Ag Solutions (DAS).  The mission of DAS is to improve farm profitability, efficiency and productivity with a focus on soil and plant health, improved conservation decisions and return on investments through the use of precision ag technologies. The DAS team is managed by Tim Hushon, Sustainable AgTech Director at The Mill and Joe Hushon, Application and Precision Specialist.

As farmers incorporate technology equipment such as GPS devices, and cloud-based data collection services for planting, application of crop products and yield monitoring, there is a need for data interpretation and analyses for finding key insights and developing recommendations to fine-tune management decisions on each acre. By drilling into these data points, DAS helps farmers adjust their seeding and fertility rates to optimize inputs and yields within the GPS and Crop Data Management devices in a sprayerfield without wasting fertilizer, lime, seed, or money applying them at standard conventional rates. For farmers without advanced technology in their equipment, The Mill has equipment with the ability to apply fertilizer based on a variable rate prescription more precisely. 

Farmers can select from a menu of precision ag tools tailored to their practices or fields they are seeking more insights on. By offering a choice of individual or a package of multiple tools, farmers can measure the result of their management changes using precision ag data in steps, adding more options for insights as they see progress in meeting their goals.


Variable rate prescription map for in-field fertility recommendations

Variable rate prescriptions based on advanced precision mapping provide innovative and sustainable solutions for crop management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

From its early days, DAS formed partnerships with other ag-focused companies and groups to grow awareness and provide education on the land use efforts of farmers in the Chesapeake Bay area and their commitment to protect natural resources while preserving their farming enterprises for future generations. Working with the 4R Alliance in the Mid-Atlantic and PA regions has helped with educational outreach to bay stakeholders, communities, and farmers.  

Truterra Crop Scorecard on a tablet

 DAS, the leading precision agronomy service through The Mill, uses Truterra's sustainability tool to quantify practices implemented along the journey to achieve economic and stewardship goals. Data-driven decisions improve ROI across the acre and unlock ecosystem service market opportunities.


Partnering with Truterra and Campbell's Soup Company has helped provide tools to farmers through scorecard software for practices implemented on farms that help track progress in conservation and crop management efforts.  Aggregated scores in regions can be used by food companies, such as Campbell's, to promote the amount of sustainably grown wheat used in their popular foods, such as Goldfish and Lance crackers and Pepperidge Farms breads.  While Campbell's is only interested in tracking wheat acres, The Mill uses the scorecard tool for all crop acres to provide more insights to growers. Having an agriculture retailer like The Mill working with farmers to implement or track these practices helps keep individual farm data private while still being able to silo the data into total acres in a region using a best management practice (BMP) like cover cropping as an example. By using models and cloud-based data software to silo information, policymakers and environmental groups have realistic numbers of acres in the bay watershed under beneficial practices and are recognizing the progress that farmers and the ag community are making in preserving natural resources and habitat. This positive attention brings more support and funding for efforts on soil health, conservation, and improved food productivity into our region.

The Mill was an early partner in a pilot program to record nutrient management practices in the Chesapeake Bay watershed using the Truterra scorecard software for wheat acres. While this benefitted companies and stakeholders in providing measurable results on a large scale, The Mill focused on helping farmers use the insights individually on their farms to ratchet down specific areas within the fields to increase or decrease inputs based on opportunities or limitations. Drilling into the data for more precise decisions resulted in farms improving profitability from a range of practices including

  • Reduced out-of-pocket cost for purchased fertilizer and lime with variable rate prescriptions 
  • Improved ROI with cover crops
  • Improved yields or reduced inputs with nutrient stabilizers
  • NUE gains using split applications of fertilizer for yield boosts
  • More precisely predicting optimal nutrient needs using layered historical data, weather data, advanced field mapping and nitrogen modeling

Since the pilot program, DAS has increased data utilization for farmers beyond wheat to improve on their corn and soybean acres with a 450% increase in acres being enrolled in some type of precision data strategy tailored for their farm.

 Read more about the Campbell's and Truterra collaboration with The Mill HERE:

“Traditionally, all acres in a field have received the same rate of fertilizer, even though we know some parts of the field need more than others to produce a high-yielding crop. By providing data-driven recommendations to farmers, we can reduce their fertilizer use and maximize their return on investment, while helping protect the communities we live in.”

Tim Hushon, Decision Ag Solutions Director for The Mill

Flyer on DAS partnership with Truterra and Campbell's

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