Precision Agriculture Trends: A Consultant’s Perspective

HTS Precision Solutions, a precision technology consulting company based in Iowa, experienced strong growth in 2011. And growers are more interested than ever in exploring the potential of new and emerging ag technology, according to HTS’ Adam Gittins. He shared some thoughts with us on precision trends and what growers are looking to do in technology during a recent interview.

Q. Tell me about the grower-clients you’re servicing these days.
A. We had a pretty strong year, and I think a lot of guys that have not been investing in technology before are looking into it. We are seeing the whole gamut of farmers; from beginning farmers to nearly ready to retire farmers that are investing in tech because they can see the payback.

Overall, as far as the adoption curve I think we are well past the early adopters at this point. This plays to our strengths at HTS, because we have a crew that can really break this stuff down to a level that the average user can understand. We can install equipment and make it work, and we can spend time in the cab to train them on how to run it and get the most out of it.

Q. What do new adopters come to you looking to do?
It is usually one of two things: either someone is looking for automatic shutoff on a planter or sprayer, or someone who is looking for automatic steering. They rarely come in looking for both at the same time, but if we can start with one we can introduce the other when they are ready for it.

Q. What about more established precision clients?
A. The big thing for this year with the customer base was, for lack of a better term, getting back to the data. We have always offered data services and work with a lot of clients on that. And we tried to streamline it this year by revamping and rolling out a set of data offerings bundled together in packages. For $0.75 an acre we will do the services, and for $1.50 an acre we do a more expanded list of services in addition to some analysis, and that has helped drive business for us. The grower sees the benefit from the beginning, because he already knows that he is not going to sit in front of a computer and do it himself. He wants to get that information and use it to manage the operation.

The analysis package we offer includes mapping all the work we do for the year, as well as multi-year analysis on harvest data, yield by hybrid, and yield by soil type. We are actually turning data into information for growers that will allow them to make some decisions.

Another approach to increasing precision sales is through the core group of growers who have service plans. We go out once or twice a year and check over all the equipment to ensure it is ready to go into the field. At the service call we will offer to take the planter data from the monitor and make planting maps for free. We’ve had a pretty good uptick in business doing that it’s amazing that so many growers will say, ‘you mean, I’ve been collecting data?’ They had no idea they were logging data.

Q. What technologies are on the rise in the near future?
A. We will see variable rate seeding take off as we start to lean more about the data. Guys now have the technology to do it, but haven’t been using it because they really don’t know how.

One thing we’ve been working on is taking advantage of ISO BUS compatibility. We did a little bit of testing on a Gleaner combine, we removed the GTA console and loaded up all the combine ECU components into the Integra display so that we had all the harvest settings and fuel gauges tied into the one display. We put out a couple of those systems this year and guys are happy with them.

In future months and years I think we are going to see more and more development around ISO BUS and hopefully more machinery as manufacturers continue to move in that direction. As more growers see how equipment can work using ISO BUS, we’ll see more development around it.

We will also see more developments with wireless communication. Trimble is out there with Connected Farm, and Ag Leader offers the remote support through the ParaDyme system, which is a very powerful tool. When a customer calls with an issue I can get logged onto his equipment and working to fix the problem in five minutes or less, instead of hopping in a truck and driving for 30 minutes or more.

Q. How have you fine-tuned service at HTS?
We actually have fewer full-time technicians now than a year ago, and we have more people that are well-rounded in their expertise. They can handle the full gamut, they are knowledgeable enough to talk about products, place the product with customers, install and support it. It’s been very beneficial for us.

Leave a Reply

Business Management Stories
Business ManagementOpinion: Stumpin’ for Rural Broadband
April 30, 2018
In 1936, deep in the throes of the Great Depression, the federal government moved forward with an initiative that would Read More
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
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
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
Trending Articles
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
InfoAg ConferenceThe InfoAg Conference Offers Early Bird Registration Discount
May 24, 2018
Since 1995, The InfoAg Conference has been the premier event for discussion and advancement of precision agriculture. The event, organized Read More
EventsEFC Systems Sponsorship Demonstrates Commitment to Continuing Education for Retail Dealerships
May 16, 2018
Enterprise software manufacturer EFC Systems, scholarship sponsor of the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development conference this June in Brookings, Read More
EventsMeister Media Debuts Growing Innovations
May 10, 2018
As a service provider, you and your grower customers probably can agree on this much: While innovation abounds in agriculture, Read More
EventsForum Calling All Innovators of Agriculture Technology
May 2, 2018
The challenges that come with feeding the world continue to grow. Luckily, so do advances in information technology that are Read More
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
Latest News
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s D…
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&…
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Ag Drone
EventsAgTech Conference of the South Dedicated to Innovation,…
June 12, 2018
Join current and emerging agtech business leaders and investors at the AgTech Conference of the South, a premiere conference dedicated Read More
Munckhof Machinefabriek equipment
EuropeEurope: Precision Farming at Heart of Munckhof Deal
June 11, 2018
One of Europe’s oldest suppliers of machinery used in fruit production, the Dutch firm Munckhof Machinefabriek, has been purchased by Read More
Australia/New ZealandCrunching the Ag-Tech Numbers Saves Time for Australian…
June 5, 2018
Time management is key on the Walker family’s farm, where a mix between cropping, commercial sheep and two studs means Read More
AmericasDroneShow Highlights UAV Technology in Latin America
June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: The DroneShow Latin America is an annual trade fair hosted by MundoGEO, a media and communications company founded Read More
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Time for a Reality Check
June 4, 2018
Where do I begin….I’ve been dealing with imagery in agriculture since I was 10 when my dad started Satshot. At Read More
AmericasNAAA Issues Drone Pilot Reminder: Watch Out For Aerial …
May 31, 2018
With more than 1 million UAVs registered with the FAA, it is vitally important for UAV operators to be aware Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key t…
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Specialty Fruit Growers, It’s Time to Mechani…
May 30, 2018
If you’re into conspiracies, you might be interested to know that I have stumbled onto a doozy. And it looks Read More
Service ProvidersDeere Launches Bale Mobile App with Hay and Forage Yiel…
May 30, 2018
John Deere introduces its Bale Mobile app to help hay and forage producers get detailed information, improve efficiency, identify bale Read More
AGCO White planter 9800VE
Service ProvidersPrecision Planting Announces Ready Row Unit Planter Cus…
May 30, 2018
Precision Planting is reportedly making it easy and affordable for farmers to upgrade and customize their planters for their farms Read More
Data ManagementChecking the Box: FBN Garners Ag Data Transparent Certi…
May 30, 2018
Farmers Business Network (FBN) recently completed Ag Data Transparent (ADT) third-party certification, affirming that the FBN network’s data and analytics Read More
Industry NewsAGCO Forms Development Partnership with AgIntegrated
May 29, 2018
AGCO Corp., a world-leading manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment solutions, has announced a development partnership with agricultural technology company Read More
AmericasWilbur-Ellis’ Vradenburg: ‘Complexity of Ag Is Going to…
May 29, 2018
  Wilbur-Ellis announced earlier this month that Dan Vradenburg, longtime Agribusiness division president, will take on a new role in Read More
DronesHow High-Flying Technology Can Be a Game-Changer for Be…
May 29, 2018
Imagine waking up to find that Mother Nature cursed your crop with monsoon-like rains, writes Karli Petrovic on Despite Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversChange is Coming to the Fruit Industry: Mechanization i…
May 29, 2018
When it comes to the mechanization of the fruit industry, and the overall goal of reducing reliance on laborers who Read More
AmericasMajor GNSS Project to Boost Potential for ‘Satellite’ F…
May 29, 2018
The University of Nottingham is working with Brazilian and EU partners to solve atmospheric interference problems that hamper satellite-based positioning Read More