Iowa State’s C-CHANGE asks for grower support in developing precision ag tools

Researchers associated with Iowa State University’s Consortium for Cultivating Human and Naturally reGenerative Enterprises (C-CHANGE) are asking Iowa farmers for help in the group’s efforts to refine and enhance two key precision agriculture tools currently in development.

The first tool is an open access precision-agriculture decision-support program called Foresite, that will be hosted by the university. Foresite is a computer-based economic and productivity evaluation system for corn and soybean fields that combines public data on soils, weather, topography and production costs to perform within-field evaluations at a 30-meter resolution scale. The second tool is a patent-pending, proprietary algorithm called RITAS, which stands for Rectangle creation Intersection Tessellation Assignment Smoothing. RITAS is a yield monitor processing algorithm that is designed to remove data artifacts, such as overlapping paths and extreme yield observations, to provide more accurate subfield yield estimates.

“The idea behind RITAS is to provide the Foresite decision-support tool with the best representation of highly localized, subfield yield data possible,” said Jarad Niemi, ISU Statistics associate professor and RITAS developer.

“Foresite combines this high-quality private yield data with multiple public data streams to provide growers with subfield insights designed to aid their decision-making to enhance both their return on investment and their impact on the environment,” said Andy VanLoocke, ISU Agronomy associate professor.

To further advance the development of Foresite and the RITAS algorithm, VanLooke, Niemi and the C-CHANGE team are asking Iowa corn and soybean growers to volunteer to share yield monitor data.

“Our goal is to ‘ground truth’ the RITAS algorithim and Foresite decision support tool using actual yield data from cooperating growers,” VanLoocke said. “We’re looking for growers who would be willing to share several years of recent yield monitor data on fields planted in continuous corn or in a corn-soy rotation. Ideally, we would like to collect data from at least 10 different fields, from 10 different growers, which would provide us with 100 site years of data.”

C-CHANGE will provide growers who partipate in the program with RITAS-processed and Foresite-forecasted subfield yield maps.

Growers who are interested in possibly participating in this effort are asked to contact Andy VanLoocke by email at or by phone at (515) 294-8398.

The Consortium for Cultivating Human And Naturally reGenerative Enterprises, or C-CHANGE, began in 2018 as an Iowa State University Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative created to address the challenge of delivering abundant, affordable and safe food to 10 billion people without compromising the Earth’s supportitve capacity in the long term. In 2020, C-CHANGE expanded to a multi-institutional consortium including Iowa State University, Penn State University, Roeslein Alternative Energy, FDC Enterprises Inc., the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, and partner organizations with a Sustainable Agricultural Systems program grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture. C-CHANGE is further funded by grants from the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Nutrient Research Center, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Walton Family Foundation.