South Dakota Poised to Benefit From Precision Agriculture

By the end of this year, $4 billion will be spent globally on precision agriculture with satellites, sensors, machines, data, and drones, according to an article on the South Dakota State University Extension website. It’s a collective industry opportunity and offers challenges which South Dakota is ready to embrace.

As Director of Operations for the Applied Technology Division of Raven Industries, Sarah Waltner was the keynote speaker at the recent South Dakota Corn Growers annual meeting in Sioux Falls. Waltner grew up on a family hog farm and says she spent a lot of time in the hog barns, in the family fields and neighbor’s fields. She graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from South Dakota State University.

Sarah-Waltner-Raven
Sarah Waltner, Director of Operations for the Applied Technology Division of Raven Industries, told attendees at the recent South Dakota Corn Growers annual meeting that training those in the future workforce is vital to the success of precision agriculture in South Dakota. Photo courtesy of South Dakota Corn Growers.

“Precision ag is the basis for what we do,” Waltner said in her remarks. She explained, “Precision ag is based on observing, measuring and responding to inter- and intra- field variability. It combines agronomic practices with farm machinery technology and with actionable data.”

Farmers have to be profitable, Waltner said. It used to be that nitrogen was applied at the same rate across the field. If one field or a corner of a field had highly productive soil, applying more pounds of nitrogen was worth the increased input expense. If the soil is rocky or sandy, there would be a lower yield because the base soil will not yield much, no matter how much nitrogen is applied. Precision ag gives farmers a way to analyze the needs and the variable rate equipment allows a prescribed application of applied nutrients where needed and at most beneficial rate for the crop.

Waltner referred to a study done by the industry which shows there is a 10 to 15 percent saving in inputs for GPS- guided steering because there is less overlap or application in unnecessary areas. There is a 10 percent savings when using variable rate application. This is because nutrients are only applied where needed. In another study, 85 percent of corn growers polled believed they were more profitable after adopting more technology.

Farmers are bombarded with complicated questions, Waltner said. Do I spend money on GPS or not? What about section control? What do I do with the data? What kind of data do I use? Do I get my imagery from the sky or from in-field sensors? Really good things are happening in the industry, but it comes down to a question about how the technology can work together to help the farmer.

Specifically, no one person or company can solve the problem of data overload. Technology is very complicated.

“We have gone from no data, or not much data, to so much data that it freezes the farmers,” Waltner said. “Precision ag is different from when it started and where it will be in 5 to 10 years. The key thing is figuring out the intersection between what money farmers will pay for their technology, how much do they want to spend on data, and how much do they pay for agronomy services, and how certain they are of a return from that investment.”

Farmers have made investments, but 65 percent say they are not using the technology to its full potential. Dealing with this is a real opportunity and also a real challenge.

Ag is the largest sector of South Dakota’s economy. Raven sees training those in the future workforce as vital to the success of precision ag. The company recently donated $5 million to help pay for the construction of a Precision Agriculture Facility at SDSU’s main campus in Brookings.

Waltner says the development of the SDSU Precision Ag program will yield new research, new job opportunities and likely new companies. Graduates of the program will go back to their communities and become an important part of the state’s workforce.

“Training is huge, retention is huge,” Waltner said. “With more and more complicated technology, we need a more developed workforce who understand the challenges of precision ag. Workforce development is important to the progression of the state.”

Read more at iGrow.org.

Leave a Reply

Uncategorized Stories
HomeSST Software to be Acquired by Proagrica
February 5, 2018
UPDATED 2.5.18, 2:10 PM Proagrica has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of SST Software, including Raven’s ownership stake. Based Read More
corn field
UncategorizedTopcon Agriculture Prepares to Release Horizon 4.02
November 15, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has announced the addition of new functions including Auto Turn and Steer to Boundary applications in its upcoming Read More
Data ManagementBASF, Proagrica to Jointly Develop Farm Management System Interface
August 24, 2017
BASF and Proagrica have signed a development and operation agreement to bring one of the first farm management system interfaces Read More
Premier-Crop-Systems-Enhanced-Learning-Blocks
UncategorizedSyngenta Invests in Premier Crop Systems’ Enhanced Learning Blocks
July 27, 2017
Long an industry leader in developing digital tools that enable growers and their advisors to make sound agronomic decisions, Premier 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