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
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