Using High Tech To Make Farm Decisions

Using High Tech To Make Farm Decisions

Raj Khosla, professor of precision agriculture at Colorado State University, challenged farmers to think about how far the technology of agriculture has come in the past 40 years to gauge what farming will look like in 2057, writes Keith Norman on


He showed a picture of a Global Positioning System receiver from 1976 to farmers and ag professionals Monday at the Precision Agriculture Summit at the North Dakota Farmers Union Conference Center.

“We went from something that only a few would fit in this entire room to something that now fits on a fingertip,” he said, referring to the GPS chip now in cellphones and other devices. “Things are changing more rapidly now than over the past 40 years.”

A new technology that may be available in the next two years is biodegradable sensors that could be scattered in farm fields, Khosla said. The sensors would record data like temperature, sunlight and moisture and report the information to computer servers.

At the end of the growing season, the disposable sensors would be worked into the ground rather than gathered.

This type of information could be combined with data from satellites, drones, planting equipment, soil analysis and harvest data into what is called “big data,” according to Jamie Denbow, product manager at Farmers Edge.

“The big data question is not about collecting the data,” he said. “But how we use it to make a more informed decision.”

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