Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published July 20, 2012, 12:00 AM

Technology improves with more corn acres

ULEN, Minn. – Corn: It seems to drive much of the change in agriculture these days. Experts say farmers are tapping into the latest innovations in remote sensing and other precision farming techniques.

By: By Mikkel Pates, Forum Communications Co.

ULEN, Minn. – Corn: It seems to drive much of the change in agriculture these days. Experts say farmers are tapping into the latest innovations in remote sensing and other precision farming techniques.

This year, a France-based company called GeoSys Inc. is delivering in-season satellite images farmers can use through their local co-ops for the first time. Producers and their co-op agronomists will know within three days whether their fields are showing strengths or weaknesses, such as areas of thinner or off-colored crop development.

Farmers connected through local co-op agronomists to Land O’Lakes subsidiary Winfield Solutions LLC can use the information as a diagnostic tool.

West Central Ag Services of Ulen is a prime example. The organization operates in a 100-mile radius of Ulen, with a dozen agronomy locations.

Brad Fronning, the co-op’s precision ag manager, says farmers can use the in-season satellite imagery and Winfield’s R7 Tool to select hybrids and plant populations for future years, especially in an age of variable-rate seeding and application technology.

Fronning was involved in the pilot program for the release of the R7 Tool. The “R” stands for right and the “7” stands for the seven factors – genetics, soil type, population, cropping system, traits, plant nutrition and crop protection – that go into a successful crop.

“We’ve found that today’s innovative farmers are eager to apply data and technology,” said Brittany Ullrich, a regional R7 specialist for Winfield.

Fronning and Ullrich say remote sensing is an evolving science that allows farmers to capitalize on technology they already own.

The majority of farmers today have yield monitors in their combines, Fronning says. They get some value from simply seeing the data flash on the screen, but most could do more with the numbers.

In some cases, the farmers don’t save the data they need and in other cases, they save it but don’t go back and look at it to compare varietal results, or otherwise improve their production practices that could turn that data into dollars.


Mikkel Pates writes for Agweek

Tags: