Precision Farming Technology (equipment)
The economic wallop of Texas peanut products is getting an aerial boost from Texas Tech University.
Precision agriculture took a major step forward occurred when in 1995 the United States’ GPS constellation NAVSTAR was made available for non-military use for the first time, explained Albert Zahalka, senior vice president Topcon Precision Agriculture at the recent World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.
All but “bleeding edge” farmers and a few innovators are moving past the gee-whiz stage of precision farming. Instead, they’re looking for technology that delivers payback.
At $250 per bag, how many seeds does it take to get your attention?
There’s no rule that says you have to adapt every practice invented so far to cash in on precision farming. As far as Henry Buell is concerned, the ability to do one thing well that he couldn’t do before without advanced technology makes it worth it.
Fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides can help improve soybean yields, but stacking on every available input might not be the best plan. To help farmers determine what input investments are most likely to pay off, Ohio State University Extension researchers have been comparing yield responses and costs with various combinations of inputs.
Using trigonometry, ag engineers can pencil out the value of overlapping inputs.
Use of global positioning systems for variable-rate and yield-mapping applications really boomed with the arrival of autosteering tools on tractor, sprayer and combine cabs. But no matter how new or sophisticated your setup, someone still has to slog a flash drive or compact flash card from office to machine and back to transfer the latest A-B lines for guidance, prescription information or other data. But those days may be ending as new networking technologies come
When Charles Vining and his sons, Andy and Byron, decided to upgrade to a 12-row planter, they made the move without markers. “Getting wider and trying to find that row in some of the residues we had would have been a problem,” Vining recalls. “We needed precision guidance.”
Researchers are finding new tools to better assess clay pan for producers seeking the best root zone preparations.
Steve Alsabrook meticulously uses inputs that will get the job done for Alsabrook Farms at Haskell, Texas. It could be high-tech tools or a generic pesticide if it works for a particular crop enterprise.
David Condon knows that precision technology considered cutting-edge five years ago is nearly obsolete today. Condon, who farms 1,700 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat near Creighton, has steadily added to his precision tool inventory over the past seven years.
Creighton farmer David Condon began adopting precision tools in 2003 with a yield monitor in his combine. That initial installation began a progression of new tools that have saved input expenses and placed other inputs where they are most likely to increase production and improve profits.
Finding an Internet service provider is easy in big cities or most suburban areas. People who live in rural areas aren’t as lucky. Their options are scarce.
Walk through any farm show and you’ll come away impressed by how much more you can do with new precision farming software and hardware than you could the year before. Pretty soon it dawns on you that as far as precision farming goes, companies and farmers have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg.
A student business incubator program, part of Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is broadening the understanding of entrepreneurship and business development among its students.
When you think of next-generation soybean breeding, the term “spectral analysis” might not be the first thing that comes to mind.
The Purdue University basketball team was riding high Jan. 1, going 13-0 and having just demolished West Virginia. Two weeks later, fans were scratching their heads and deriding players after three straight losses. It’s very much a “what have you done for me lately?” world.
At Wortman Farms, swine manure is a valued soil nutrient. Without the fertilizer value from the manure, there have been times over the past few years when the swine business would have been a losing proposition.
In 2010, J.J. Long joined the small but emerging variable-rate irrigation club to manage a pivot circle with “wildly varying soil types.” Half of the circle seldom reached his yield expectations. “It never seemed to get enough water,” he says.
It was not that long ago that “bar codes” referred to what the bartender told phoning wives checking on the whereabouts of their spouses.
Ed Lammers of Hartington needed information before he could begin using variable-rate irrigation technology on his farm. “When I started irrigating in 2009, I began noticing that parts of the farm were producing better under irrigation,” Lammers says. “This made me realize the high variability of the soil types on my farm.”
Many of you know that I’m a corn breeder and an agronomist by training. I was born in India and spent my professional life trying to develop better corn hybrids and agronomic techniques to improve yield levels in the U.S., plus train other corn breeders and help farmers. I believe the most productive farmers in the world are right here. However, all fingers on a hand aren’t alike. It’s the same with farmers.
Steve Alsabrook keeps a sharp eye on inputs at Alsabrook Farms at Haskell, Texas. He writes his own spreadsheets from cotton to cattle gains, or any other commodity in the diverse farming operation, and plugs in his input costs to figure his breakeven prices.
Regular stops at his pivots and subsurface drip system remain a routine for Don Blaschko of Gibbon, but his 2010 irrigation decisions were made watching a graph and the orange line on his laptop computer screen.
Is it the next-generation manure applicator, or is it limited to only poultry litter?
Much of the U.S. may be entering something similar to what Texas suffered from October 2010 until spring 2012, and what South Carolina, Georgia and Florida suffered through most of the last year — extreme and exceptional drought.
Randy Uhrmacher is one of the early adopters of subsurface-drip irrigation in Nebraska, at least on a full quarter-section scale.
Ground-based, canopy-reflectance sensors are effective at detecting nitrogen stress in growing corn and other crops. But currently there is what Richard Ferguson calls a stalemate in the adoption of the sensors in variable-rate application systems.
The Skinner family has been working to tighten nitrogen rates ever since they started using precision agriculture techniques some 15 years ago. It’s not just the rising cost of N, says Darin Skinner. “We want to be good environmental stewards,” he says. “We want to be on top of fertilizer rates for both reasons. It’s in the news. The public is paying more attention.”
The corn crop was struggling when Darin Skinner drove the high-clearance applicator down the rows at his family’s Hardscrabble Farms last July. Late planting following a wet spring delayed operations on their farm and most others in Ohio. “I really thought we could be looking at a 100-bushel yield,” he says. But things went better than he expected. “We ended up having a pretty decent year.”
Crop sensors can be useful to farmers, but it takes certain steps to make them work, says Robert Mullen, director of agronomy for Potash Corp. Three kinds of crop sensors are currently available, he notes: Crop Circle by Holland Scientific Inc., Ag Leader Technology; GreenSeeker by NTech Industries Inc., Trimble; and CropSpec by Topcon Positioning Systems.
Steve Scherr is excited to be offering ProfiZone in the Dakotas.Scherr is a farmer, cattle producer and president of AgVenture/Scherr Seeds, Roscoe, S.D. ProfiZone is a precision farming consulting service developed by AgVenture, an independent seed dealer network that Scherr Seeds is part of.