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Published December 19, 2012, 07:25 AM

Precision agriculture important for farmers

The use of precision agriculture is becoming an important tool in many farmers’ management practices. And why wouldn’t it be? Not only can precision agriculture increase yields, it also helps with record keeping and future planning.

By: Lindsey Novak, NDSU Extension, The Jamestown Sun

The use of precision agriculture is becoming an important tool in many farmers’ management practices. And why wouldn’t it be? Not only can precision agriculture increase yields, it also helps with record keeping and future planning.

There are many precision agriculture tools out there, and some can be a bit overwhelming. However, the use of combine yield monitors is an easy way to take the first steps ino precision agriculture. If your combine does not currently have a yield monitor, you can purchase one from a combine manufacturer.

Yield maps are a useful tool that shows the results of your management strategies and climate impact from the current growing season. This year would be a great time to see how the particular crop and variety performed in the drought like conditions. Lower yields in certain areas may also suggest nutrient deficiencies, high salts, or the need for drainage. Take a look at those lower yielding areas and consider a soil test to identify the problem. Use this information to apply different management strategies to that portion of the field. That right there is a simple method of precision agriculture.

If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, think about using yield maps. Archiving your management strategies along with the yield maps will benefit the next generation on your farm. Keeping these detailed records will ensure the things you learned about your field now will not be lost or, if it didn’t work, won’t be redone by the next generation.

To learn more about precision agriculture, attend the Winter Ag Expo on Jan. 8. John Nowatzki, NDSU Extension Ag Machine Systems Specialist will be speaking at various times throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, the Precision Agriculture Summit is scheduled in Jamestown for Jan. 21-22.

Contact Novak at the Stutsman County Extension office for lmore information on topics of precision agriculture.