Precision Agriculture Makes Farming More Sustainable, Profitable

UNL Researchers
Joe Luck (left) and Rachel Stevens check seed placement of a multi-hybrid planter being tested as part of a collaborative research project being conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers, industry and growers.

Farmers have numerous sources of technology and data available to use in their operations, but many producers struggle with what kind and how much technology they need, according to an article on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources website.

Understanding which technologies and data sets are important and how to best use them is the focus of Joe Luck’s work as Nebraska Extension precision agriculture engineer.

“To me, precision ag has become a catchall term, but basically it refers to hardware and software systems that improve knowledge and decision support to make farming more manageable, sustainable and profitable,” said Luck, who also is an assistant professor of biological systems engineering.

Precision agriculture hardware includes field application equipment and sensor platforms that control products and record as-applied data. Software can then be used to collect and analyze the information with the goal to improve a crop production system.

Luck’s extension work encompasses site-specific management strategies; precision agriculture technology use; and farm management software training.

In one project, for example, Luck and other members of the multidisciplinary UNL Precision Ag Research and Extension team are working with producers and local and regional industry partners to examine how one new technology— the multi-hybrid planter—might benefit producers in the future.

This planter can plant at least two seed varieties in one trip through a field or manage various seed treatments from separate bulk tanks on the planter. Five corn and three soybean fields were planted this year on both dryland and irrigated land. While more than one year of data is needed, the project team believes that preliminary data from this first year will help build future studies. Results from the field sites will be distributed through Nebraska Extension.

Luck also is developing instruments and tools that producers can use to collect information in their operations for improving crop input and water use efficiencies. In Nebraska, technology adoption ranges from those who don’t use technology at all to producers who use it extensively, he said.

And, he added, “The technological needs of a producer farming 1,000 acres are very different from a producer farming 10,000 acres.”

Luck estimates that over 50 percent of farmers engage in some form of agricultural technology. But, he cautions, while technology can be a useful management tool, farmers still need to make decisions.

As part of his extension work, Luck conducts workshops and meetings to share information about precision ag with producers to improve their operations. “I really enjoy talking with people and helping them solve problems,” he said.

Part of Luck’s research deals with “big data,” which is often defined as an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools. University-based research will be an important part of the larger discussion regarding big data applications in agriculture, he said. UNL is a founding member of the Agricultural Data Coalition (ADC), which is aimed at helping farmers better control, manage and maximize the value of the data they collect daily in their fields.

“There have been extensive activities focused on agriculture data management platforms within the past couple of years, and we’re excited to be part of such advances in which the farmers’ needs are at the core of the platform development process with input from a variety of industry partners,” Luck said.

“I think the development approach taken by the ADC will serve as an industry model for adding value to small and large farm operations with respect to agricultural data privacy, access and utilization.”

Ultimately, Luck hopes all of his work will have an impact beyond Nebraska and will help corn and soybean producers feed the hungry worldwide. His research is funded by public and private organizations, including local commodity boards, industry groups and the USDA.

Leave a Reply

Service Providers Stories
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
aggateway
Business ManagementAgGateway Encourages Use of Standard Identifiers with AGIIS Subscription Promotion
April 11, 2018
AgGateway, the non-profit organization with the mission to promote and enable the industry’s transition to digital agriculture, is offering a Read More
Data ManagementREPORT: Bayer’s Digital Farming Business Slated for BASF Takeover
April 11, 2018
Germany’s Bayer plans to sell its digital farming business to BASF as part of changes to concessions it has offered Read More
Trending Articles
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
InSiteDCM
Business ManagementDelivering on Ag Data Value
April 3, 2018
Bruce Baier is another deeply experienced precision agriculture manager who survived the early years of ag technology while riding the Read More
University-of-Georgia-photo-credit-USDA
Business Management25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture
March 21, 2018
Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long Read More
Farmer-tablet
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Filling The Planter from Cab
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture: What is it?
March 15, 2018
If we look at the title of the article, all of you will come to an answer. These answers will Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsClimate Corp Announces 5 New FieldView Integrations
April 23, 2018
The Climate Corporation announced the addition of five industry-leading partners to The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The Read More
Laura_Crook_WinterWheat_Blackgrass_PrecisionAg
Industry NewsKansas Software Outfit Ag Developer Announces agX Integ…
April 23, 2018
Ag Developer, a Kansas based software development company, is simplifying grower/advisor communications by connecting to the agX Platform, according to Read More
field_in_back_1000_wd-featured-image
Industry NewsAyrstone Introduces High-Speed WiFi System for Farms
April 20, 2018
WiFi has become a necessity, and a proliferation of new WiFi devices have come to market for urban homes and Read More
Indian-Agriculture
AsiaIndian IoT Platform for Pre and Post Harvest Raises See…
April 19, 2018
Indian startup AgNext has raised an undisclosed seed round led by India-focused Agtech VC Omnivore Partners along with Singaporean angel Read More
Bayer-Forward-Farming
Industry NewsMaryland Farm Opens as Hub of Learning about Sustainabl…
April 19, 2018
Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill measures the success of his operation not just by how many bushels of corn, soybeans, Read More
THRIVE
Industry NewsAgritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partner…
April 18, 2018
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring Read More
computer-in-field
EventsFinding Our Way in the Business of Precision Agricultur…
April 17, 2018
Service providers are the essential link between precision agriculture products and practices and the farmers who are increasingly relying on Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Serv…
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Facebook-phone
Data ManagementWhat Lessons Can the Ag Industry Learn from the Faceboo…
April 12, 2018
Today, a seemingly endless amount of ag data flows from growers’ fields into a host of technology platforms. It is Read More
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Dron…
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Ri…
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More
AgJunction, InfoAg 2014, Autosteer, GPS
Industry NewsAgJunction Launches Online Store, Low Cost Guidance Sys…
April 12, 2018
AgJunction today announced the opening of the HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all Read More
aggateway
Business ManagementAgGateway Encourages Use of Standard Identifiers with A…
April 11, 2018
AgGateway, the non-profit organization with the mission to promote and enable the industry’s transition to digital agriculture, is offering a Read More
Remote-Soil-Sensing-Mapping
Imagery/SensingRemote Soil Sensing Enhances Precision Farming, Promote…
April 11, 2018
Precision agriculture management requires understanding soil at increasingly finer scales. Conventional soil sampling and laboratory analyses often lack this granularity Read More
Data ManagementREPORT: Bayer’s Digital Farming Business Slated f…
April 11, 2018
Germany’s Bayer plans to sell its digital farming business to BASF as part of changes to concessions it has offered Read More
Corn
Industry NewsSentera Announces New FieldAgent Features
April 11, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of high-fidelity crop stand, weed pressure mapping, spot scouting maps, and free local image stitching within Read More