More Efficient, More Data-Reliant Farming On Its Way

Dave and Ed Baker
Dave and Ed Baker have been farming their land in Delaware since the 1960s. They started adopting precision ag technology in 2002. Photo credit: Irina Zhorov/The Pulse

At the Hoober farm store in Middletown, DE, there’s all the usual machinery – tractors, generators, sprayers, planters. But outside salesman Dave Wharry’s office, there’s also a stand with a couple of screens on it that look like fancy GPS monitors, writes Irina Zhorov on NewsWorks.org.

The computers actually are GPS enabled but they go onto farming equipment rather than cars. He turns on the computers and illustrations of fields appear on the screens. It’s pre-programmed to simulate a tractor driving through the field. The computer flashes tons of information: the speed of the machine, fuel use, moisture of the crop, how much it’s harvesting.

When the farmer is done harvesting, the computer makes a yield map showing which parts of the field produced best, and which ones returned fewer bushels. A farmer can use that information to make site-specific decisions. Instead of treating an entire field homogenously, they can say: maybe this weak area needs more fertilizer, or perhaps this productive section can support more seeds.

Each field is a snowflake, with different qualities and needs. The technology – called precision agriculture – allows farmers to take that into account in managing their operations. “Commodity prices aren’t growing, they’re dropping, costs are continually rising, so there’s a big push for efficiency,” said Wharry.

Savings In The Details

Baker Farms, about ten miles from Wharry’s office, spreads over 1,700 acres and produces corn, soybeans and wheat. Its owners have been dabbling with precision ag since 2002, and got serious about adopting it in 2008. Ed and Dave Baker have been farming the land there since the 1960s, but they say it was one of their farm managers who kept up with technology in the industry and convinced them to try it. Before that, they usually made management decisions based on prior experience.

“There’s an old farmer saying that goes: 10 years to know a wife or a farm. You just farm the same ground for years and years and you know where the most productive fields are,” Ed Baker said. He said that piece is still important, “but now that we have the data we can make decisions that are based on real numbers and real science.”

The Bakers use their yield maps, along with soil maps, to vary seeding rates. They used to plant each field with a constant number of seeds. Now, in very productive areas, they plant 34,000 seeds per acre and on the poorest soils they plant 28,000, with gradations in between. In all, they have seven management zones. Seven snowflakes.

Read the full story on Newsworks.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Grower Services & Solutions Stories
Grower Services & SolutionsGrower Groups Encourage Implementation Of AgGateway’s ADAPT For Precision Ag
November 2, 2016
A dozen leading U.S. grower organizations are hailing the collaborative efforts that led to the new AgGateway ADAPT framework for Read More
Students Training
Grower Services & SolutionsPrecision Ag Students Learn How To Combine Technology And Customer Service
October 27, 2016
Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, IA, has partnered with AgriSync to help students gain experience and develop superior customer Read More
Corn Field
Grower Services & SolutionsCorn Growers On Big Plots Are Most Tech-Savvy Of Farmers
October 20, 2016
U.S. corn farmers are proving themselves to be quick learners, writes Mario Parker on Bloomberg.com. Growers producing the grain on Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsVIDEO: Jim Case Multi-Hybrid Cropping System Update
October 19, 2016
We revisit with Central Ohio grower Jim Case and farm manager Nate Long (featured in the February 2016 Precision Ag Read More
Trending Articles
GVM E-Series cab
Ag Tech GlobalGlobalization And Precision Agriculture
December 7, 2016
Globalization has taken on a negative connotation in some circles in the U.S. in recent months. The lightning rod for Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge, Trotter Fertilizer Form Partnership To Enhance VRT Programs
November 29, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Trotter Fertilizer, Nebraska’s foremost Read More
Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid Concept Planter
Business ManagementKinze Fights Deere, Feds To Block Release Of Trade Secrets
November 22, 2016
An antitrust lawsuit intended to block a small-scale deal between agricultural giants John Deere and Monsanto is putting an Iowa Read More
BusinessClimate Corp. Acquires European FMIS Company
November 21, 2016
Today, The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., announced the acquisition of VitalFields, a European farm management software company Read More
USDA UAV
Hort TechHigh-Tech Agriculture Continues To Reap Rewards For Farmers
November 11, 2016
Just like a smartphone helps users learn, communicate and make important decisions, smart technology — known as precision agriculture — Read More
BusinessTrimble Launches New FMIS Platform
November 7, 2016
Trimble announced today that it is consolidating three of its agriculture software products — Connected Farm, Farm Works Software and Read More
Latest News
AgBot16 Challenge
Hort TechUSDA Announces $3 Million For Agricultural Robotics Res…
December 8, 2016
The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the availability of $3 million in available funding for Read More
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
Business ManagementPrecision Farming Forecast: 4 Challenges, Opportunities…
December 7, 2016
Opportunities and challenges. They are the yin and yang of the business world. It could easily be argued that, out Read More
GVM E-Series cab
Ag Tech GlobalGlobalization And Precision Agriculture
December 7, 2016
Globalization has taken on a negative connotation in some circles in the U.S. in recent months. The lightning rod for Read More
Buhler Versatile HQ cab
BusinessThe State Of Precision Ag In 2016
December 7, 2016
There’s no denying that precision technologies and practices are more vibrant than ever. Elsewhere on this site, you will find Read More
BusinessFarmobile Details New AGCO Distribution Deal
December 6, 2016
Farmobile today announced a strategic partnership with AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment. The agreement will allow Read More
Hort TechSol Chip Launches Autonomous, Wireless Solar Tag for Sm…
December 6, 2016
Sol Chip, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) systems and energy harvesting solutions, today announced the introduction of its Read More
TechnologyAgGateway Announces 2017 Board Of Directors And Leaders…
December 2, 2016
AgGateway has announced its leadership for the coming year, including the directors of its new Strategic Board and Operational Board, Read More
DataSentera Honored With Startup Award Of 2016 By Minnesota…
December 1, 2016
The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) recently recognized Sentera as the 2016 Tekne Startup Award recipient. The MHTA Tekne Awards Read More
AGCO AgControl
TechnologyPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
December 1, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge, Trotter Fertilizer Form Partnership To En…
November 29, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Trotter Fertilizer, Nebraska’s foremost Read More
Fall corn
BusinessInsecticide of the Future? Robotic Tanks With Lasers to…
November 22, 2016
*Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Topcon X30 Console in cab
Sensors/IoTIoT The Focus Of New Topcon Partnership
November 22, 2016
Topcon Agriculture and SDF plan to enter into a non-exclusive long-term partnership agreement. This latest arrangement of Topcon with a Read More
Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid Concept Planter
Business ManagementKinze Fights Deere, Feds To Block Release Of Trade Secr…
November 22, 2016
An antitrust lawsuit intended to block a small-scale deal between agricultural giants John Deere and Monsanto is putting an Iowa Read More
BusinessClimate Corp. Acquires European FMIS Company
November 21, 2016
Today, The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., announced the acquisition of VitalFields, a European farm management software company Read More
BusinessFarmobile Releases Mobile Data Visualization Dashboard
November 17, 2016
Farmobile today announced an EFR Dashboard, a real-time dashboard that helps farmers visualize their field data and derive insights to Read More
Southern States
Best PracticesSouthern States: 5 Tips for Variable-Rate Seeding Succe…
November 15, 2016
Success comes from taking advantage of every opportunity you can. One technique used in precision farming, called variable rate seeding, Read More
USDA UAV
Hort TechHigh-Tech Agriculture Continues To Reap Rewards For Far…
November 11, 2016
Just like a smartphone helps users learn, communicate and make important decisions, smart technology — known as precision agriculture — Read More
THRIVE
BusinessCall For Ag Tech Startups: Apply To THRIVE’s Open…
November 10, 2016
THRIVE is looking for high growth ag tech companies with an in-market solution that are positioned to scale. The top 50 Read More