Precision Ag Technology: Use It, Don’t Lose It in 2018

With the start of the New Year, I always find myself reflecting on the past year and identifying what worked well and what didn’t to focus on opportunities missed in the previous year. As I looked back in the world of precision agriculture, I was excited with the opportunities producers have with equipment, software, analysis tools, and agronomy insight that new and existing precision agriculture platforms and organizations can bring to each farm. As I thought into this, the one thing I wanted to drive home was that for these tools to work to the top potential, we must make sure we’re giving them the opportunity to succeed. For 2018, my message to producers is to make sure and use it, don’t lose it, in working with precision tools this upcoming season. To ensure success, it is critical that each tool is set up for success to perform at the highest return.

Seed Choice

Many options are available for planters today, and the amount of precision and accuracy these machines can deliver is endless. Before placing that high-tech and state-of-the-art planter in the ground, I believe it is critical to make sure that planter can succeed, and this starts with the seed. We only get one choice (exception of multi-hybrid or variety planting) of seed to put in the ground, and even if we have the best planter equipped with all the works, if we don’t have the right seed for the conditions of the field, we may lose out on opportunity.

Field Work Conditions

Like seed choice, with many field work conditions we only get one chance before we move on to the next, or before weather can get in the way. For planting, it is critical our planters are set up correctly for the seed and soil conditions to reach maximum opportunity. If we are working the ground with tillage passes, ensuring soil isn’t too wet to create compaction for later headaches is critical. Even with high-tech precision equipment, if we struggle with seeding, create compaction layers, or plant with skips or uneven emergence, our planter or tillage pass can’t save us from losing out on opportunity in 2018.

Irrigation Management

For irrigated producers, it can be a struggle to determine when to irrigate, where to put water, and how much water to put across a field. Luckily, many irrigation management technologies and tools are available for producers in precision agriculture. Even with the best seed, fertilizer, and precision equipment money can buy, if irrigation is off by under- or over-watered applications, fields can lose out on maximum opportunity. Make sure to not miss opportunity by washing away investments such as fertilizer or chemicals, and giving the crops you grow optimum environments to do so.

Soil Testing

Before precision applications occur, or decisions are made on what to apply, a solid foundation of what is going on in each field is critical for efficiencies and maximizing opportunity this season. When we know what is in the ground and what is available to our crops, we can maximize efficiencies across the field with whatever precision application equipment we get to work with. Don’t leave fields with missed opportunities due to a small deficiency that has been unknown, or lose out on profit due to over application in other areas.

Imagery

A popular tool the last few years, imagery can provide quick and detailed insight across fields without large expenditures. Being able to check on a problem, and identify it quickly can make in-season decisions easier and maximize opportunity before problems can cause yield and/or profit loss. Whichever imagery provider or type you use, be sure to continually check and consult on what is happening in-season, to make quick decisions without missing opportunity.

Test Plots

One of the biggest opportunities I see with precision agriculture tools is to learn on your farm what works and what tools have the most impact on your acres with high accuracy and ease. With precision equipped planters, try different seed rates, or strip trials to see what works best across variations in the field. With different input application equipment, what rates or methods work best for different crops or fields? Test plots can be done at high precision with today’s tools, and can help answer many questions. What type of fertilizer do I apply? When do I apply it? What seed rate is right for this specific soil type? What happens with row spacings in my field? What irrigation rates respond best across field variations?

In low commodity price times, decisions can always feel pressured. With precision tools, decisions can be made easier, but be sure to give those tools every opportunity to succeed by setting them up for success. A sports car wouldn’t work well in a mud bog, where a more suitable vehicle would do, but a sports car works very well on a smooth, paved road. This analogy is like many of the struggles I have seen with tools not performing due to outside influences that didn’t help set the precision ag tools up for success.

Whatever precision agriculture technologies or tools you are using in 2018, make sure they are right for your farm and the support behind them is right for you. There are many options out there for whatever precision equipment you are using or are interested in. Efficiency is key to these times, and ensuring applications, inputs, and decisions are made without wasting or losing these opportunities will lead to capturing success in 2018. I for one am looking forward to this season, and I hope you are as well. Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Tools & Smart Equipment Stories
Tools & Smart EquipmentCanadian Planter Manufacturer Purchases Harvest International
July 19, 2018
Seeding and planting technology innovator Clean Seed has signed an agreement to strategically acquire U.S. planting equipment manufacturer Harvest International, Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s Driverless Tractor Kit
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
Service ProvidersDeere Launches Bale Mobile App with Hay and Forage Yield Tracking
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 Customization Offer
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
Trending Articles
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in $20 Million Deal
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: Simplot’s Allan Fetters
PrecisionAg InstituteOne on One With Simplot’s Allan Fetters
August 8, 2018
Allan Fetters of PrecisionAg Institute partner Simplot Grower Solutions talks about techology trends and key learnings from the recent InfoAg Conference in this exclusive interview with PrecisionAg's Paul Schrimpf. Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
August 1, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More
AmericasIntegrity Ag Group: People Over Precision
July 30, 2018
It’s not every day that this reporter walks into the office of a precision ag dealer, sits across from the Read More
farmer-tractor-tablet
Systems ManagementWhat is Digital Farming — Really?
July 24, 2018
The agricultural community has spent several years synthesizing an operational description for digital farming. In several cases, there have also Read More
Data ManagementInfoAg News: Farmobile Launches DataEngine, Streamlines DataStore Buyer Process
July 17, 2018
Busy times these days out in Leawood, KS, for ag data startup Farmobile, as they continue to – pardon the Read More
Latest News
John Deere Operations Center
Data ManagementMaximize the John Deere Operations Center for Your Cust…
August 16, 2018
Today’s farming operation looks different than it did 20, 10, even just a few years ago. Technology continues to shape Read More
Service ProvidersNew Ag Retail Survey Identifies Key Business Challenges
August 16, 2018
From commodity prices and competition for business to future-proofing the operation, ag retailers shared their challenges and concerns in a recent survey conducted by Proagrica. Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in …
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Harvest
Data ManagementAre You Ready for This Year’s Digital Harvest?
August 15, 2018
As the days in the Northern Hemisphere slowly get shorter, they are getting longer in the Southern Hemisphere and everywhere Read More
Wheelman-Pro
Industry NewsAgJunction Expands Automatic Steering Market to Smaller…
August 14, 2018
AgJunction, the autosteering company, has introduced Wheelman, a new way for farmers to automatically and accurately steer farm equipment at Read More
Drip-irrigation
Precision IrrigationFertigation as a Precision Agriculture Tool
August 14, 2018
Fertigation is a fertilizer application method in which dissolved fertilizers are delivered to the crop through the irrigation system. This Read More
Events5 Reasons You Should Attend Growing Innovations
August 13, 2018
The specialty crop market is wracked by unprecedented change: labor scarcity, water shortages, pressing demands for increased quality and transparency Read More
Data Science tablet
Data ManagementMicrosoft, Agile Networks Detail Central Ohio Broadband…
August 9, 2018
Agile Networks, a leading provider of telecommunications solutions, and Microsoft Corp. has announced a new agreement to bring broadband internet Read More
AmericasIvy Tech Opens Center of Excellence to Train Tomorrow&#…
August 9, 2018
Students interested in careers in precision agriculture equipment technology or diesel technology now have the opportunity to pursue certificates, technical Read More
1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: Simplot’s Allan Fetters
PrecisionAg InstituteOne on One With Simplot’s Allan Fetters
August 8, 2018
Allan Fetters of PrecisionAg Institute partner Simplot Grower Solutions talks about techology trends and key learnings from the recent InfoAg Conference in this exclusive interview with PrecisionAg's Paul Schrimpf. Read More
Corn field sunset
Industry NewsTrimble RTX Correction Technology Now Delivers Two Cent…
August 7, 2018
Trimble has announced that its Trimble RTX GNSS corrections technology can now achieve horizontal accuracies of better than two centimeters. Read More
Sentera-Gimbaled-Quad-Sensor
Sensors/IoTSentera Gimbaled Quad Sensor Optimizes Crop Health Data…
August 7, 2018
Sentera’s Quad sensor is now available in an integrated gimbal-stabilized package for DJI Inspire and Matrice drones. Featuring four fully-customizable Read More
BigDataSmall2
Data ManagementPrecision Agriculture: A Smaller Approach to Big Data
August 7, 2018
Big data is one of the most buzzed-about concepts in our industry. Rarely do we read a newsletter, attend a Read More
Grower-Retailer
Industry NewsAgworld, K-coe Isom Form Strategic Partnership
August 6, 2018
Agworld and K-coe Isom have announced a strategic partnership that will see them integrating business advisory and technology to deliver Read More
Industry NewsAgEagle Acquires Agribotix
August 6, 2018
AgEagle Aerial Systems has signed an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Agribotix, a Boulder, CO-based drone-enabled Read More
Digital-Farming
Systems ManagementImplementing Digital Farming’s Five Major Needs
August 2, 2018
Building a house starts with a plan and then a foundation; it does not start with doors and windows. From Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
August 1, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More