Digging Deep Into Precision Agriculture

Trey Koger, Silent Shade Planting Co., Belzoni, MS.
Trey Koger, Silent Shade Planting Co., Belzoni, MS.

Silent Shade Planting Company has only scratched the surface when it comes to using precision agriculture in its 12,000-acre operation.

“Even though we’ve embraced precision agriculture technology for more than 15 years, there’s so much more we can do with it,” says Trey Koger, senior agronomist for the 35-year-old company, based in Belzoni, Miss. “This is an exciting time to be in agriculture.”

Owners Willard and Laura Lee Jack are committed to innovative farming techniques. The family-run business includes their daughter, Stacie Koger (Trey’s wife), son Jeremy and his wife, Elizabeth. They use GPS auto steer, grid sampling, aerial imagery and yield monitors to maximize yields.

With corn, soybeans, rice, cotton, peanuts, and wheat in production, Silent Shade applies precision agriculture to almost every facet of its growing program, from soil testing to fertility to seeding rates to crop protection inputs. “Anything we can handle by variable rate, we are either already doing it or looking into it,” adds Koger.

Perhaps the company’s most progressive variable-rate (VR) usage is for chicken litter. Since Mississippi is one of the top poultry producers in the nation, the state is a goldmine for farmers looking to spread organic fertilizer on their ground.

Variable Rate Chicken Litter

“Chickens produce a lot of poop! But chicken litter includes anything that gets cleaned out of the poultry house — feathers, bedding material and organic material, as well as manure,” says Koger, who holds a Ph.D. in weed science from Mississippi State University. “It’s put into a pile and brought to our farm, where we load it into our trucks and spread it in the fall just like inorganic fertilizer.”

Typically, Silent Shade spreads chicken litter on sandier soils that need more organic matter, in addition to magnesium, calcium and iron. But the operation is as strategic in chicken litter application as it is with any other crop input.

“We always sample the litter before application so we know what the nutrient levels are,” notes Koger. “Through grid-mapping, we know our field-specific needs and apply accordingly. Chicken litter is a sustainable tool and less expensive than inorganic fertilizers. Plus, there is a variation you get from organic matter that you don’t get with inorganic fertilizers.”

Behind the Scenes with MapShots

Silent Shade uses MapShots AgStudio software for most of its precision agriculture needs. “We store our data in AgStudio and rely on it to plan our program each year,” says Koger. “We use yield maps to help with soil sampling, develop VR seeding and fertilizer prescriptions, and determine various inputs. AgStudio is behind the scenes for all of our planning.”

Koger added AgStudio SELECT this summer, a tool within AgStudio, and has found it quite useful. AgStudio SELECT is a web-based browser version of AgStudio designed to streamline precision ag data movement and access across devices.

“I work with it a lot,” says Koger. “With it, I can do anything on my iPad I can do on my desktop. We used it this fall for all of our soil sampling and to identify various different things in the field within our planting blocks, which are georeferenced.”

Validating Prescriptions

Since Silent Shade conducts a good bit of research on-site, Koger uses SELECT to compare prescriptions with the reality of what happened in the field. In addition, he employs the web-based browser to develop validation plots.

“In any given field, there are blocks with different seeding rates,” he adds. “With SELECT we can pull up the seeding rate layer and look at the planting blocks to confirm our prescriptions. It’s a postmortem, but it validates the appropriate seeding rate for that given soil type or management zone.”

With 35 employees and acreage spread across three counties, Silent Shade is a leader in environmental sustainability. The company goals include producing high quality fiber and food commodities, as well as providing an ethical, sustainable business model, a safe working environment, excellent land stewardship practices and efficient use of inputs.

“AgStudio drives our determination of inputs and has been an invaluable tool for our operation,” says Koger.

Leave a Reply

Business Management Stories
Farming at Sunset
Business ManagementAgtech Issues: The Shiny Object Syndrome
September 6, 2017
Do you remember those cartoons where someone lures someone else by placing a piece of candy, small amount of money, Read More
Clay Mitchell
Business ManagementAg Tech Expert Clay Mitchell to Speak at Nebraska Community College
August 31, 2017
A fifth generation farmer and a leading investor in farmland and agricultural technologies will be bringing his message to Northeast Read More
Univ.-of-Illlinois-Palmer-in-soybean1
Business ManagementOpinion: How to Leverage Precision Agriculture to Launch Your Aggressive, High-Pressure Telemarketing Business
August 14, 2017
To continue where my last article left off (which you can check out here), a precision ag company that specializes Read More
Corn
Business ManagementCrop Pro Insurance Closes $8 Million in Series A Funding
August 8, 2017
Crop Pro Insurance today announced the close of an $8 million Series A round of financing co-led by top agriculture Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment for a More Sustainable Future
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights in Precision Agriculture
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversBlue River, Deere Deal Will Accelerate Farm Robot Innovation
September 11, 2017
No, Blue River Co-founder and CEO Jorge Heraud has not been deposed — Gaddafi-style — by big, bad corporate overlord Read More
Farming at Sunset
Business ManagementAgtech Issues: The Shiny Object Syndrome
September 6, 2017
Do you remember those cartoons where someone lures someone else by placing a piece of candy, small amount of money, Read More
AgQuip overview
Australia/New ZealandAgQuip 2017 Displays New Ag Technology in Australia
August 28, 2017
The annual AgQuip field days took place in Gunnedah, NSW on August 22-24. Being the largest agricultural field days in Read More
Latest News
Australian Harvest
Australia/New ZealandAustralia: Data Deal to Make Digital Information More A…
September 25, 2017
The announcement of a three-year collaboration between one of Australia’s most well-known agriculture technology providers, Precision Agriculture, and Federation University Read More
Mahindra-Photo-Money-Control
AsiaDrones for Soil Mapping? Mahindra Says Why Not
September 25, 2017
The Mumbai-based company is in talks with the Indian government seeking approval to make drones a part of farming methods, Read More
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Te…
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Kray Drone Application
DronesCrop Spraying Drone Manufacturer Kray Technologies Gets…
September 22, 2017
Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) has reached an agreement on investment into Kray Technologies company, which manufactures Kray Protection industrial robotic Read More
Imagery/SensingPlanet Announces New Hi-Res Imagery Products
September 21, 2017
Since our acquisition of Terra Bella, and the SkySat constellation of seven satellites, we’ve been focused on making this high-resolution Read More
Systems ManagementBayer Dismisses Antitrust Concerns about Digital Farmin…
September 20, 2017
Bayer said it was unable to propose the sale of any digital farming assets to allay EU concerns about its Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Robotics Specialty Crops
EventsPrecision in Specialty Crops Gains Momentum
September 20, 2017
When John Deere acquired Blue River Technologies (BRT) recently, BRT’s See & Spray technology received plenty of play. Yet many Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSyngenta Helps Lead Efforts for Farm Management Softwar…
September 19, 2017
Ag data from tractors, combines, planters, and other farm machinery present a huge opportunity for growers to manage their operations Read More
Petra-Andren-Cicada-Innovations
Australia/New ZealandGrowLab’s Rocket Fuel for AgTech in Australia
September 19, 2017
Despite its superpower status as a producer and exporter of agricultural goods and services, up until now Australia has had Read More
CropIn-Team-Photo-credit-BW-Disrupt
AsiaCropIn Aims to be a Global Leader in AgTech Sector
September 19, 2017
Krishna Kumar created AgTech startup, CropIn Technology in 2010, along with co-founders Kunal Prasad and Chittranjan Jena. The trio went Read More
China-Beidou-Navigation-Satellite-System
AsiaChina’s Navigation System Gets Powerful Chip to I…
September 18, 2017
A new powerful chip technology has been introduced in China’s national satellite navigation system to provide high-precision positioning, according to Read More
Tablet Grower
Industry NewsFieldReveal Names Hesse New CEO
September 18, 2017
Matt Hesse has been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of FieldReveal, a newly launched joint venture formed to deliver Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment…
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
Wheat sunrise
Australia/New ZealandSparkLabs Group Launches an Agricultural Tech Accelerat…
September 15, 2017
SparkLabs Group, which claims to be the largest startup accelerator group in Asia, is stepping into agricultural tech with a Read More
Sensors/IoTCollaboration Leverages Internet of Things, Sensors in …
September 15, 2017
The vision of having license-free community sensor networks for agricultural users has made a giant leap closer to reality. A Read More
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decis…
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
forbes-agtech-summit
Precision IrrigationImproving Water Management: Can Silicon Valley Help?
September 13, 2017
I recently attended the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, CA, where roughly 50 start-up companies originating from Silicon Valley and Read More