Farmers Continue to Embrace Technology

Melissa Sandfort

A report from the University of Kentucky asserts that growers are finding recent precision ag technology advancements are highly beneficial to their operations.

“We’re really at an exciting time with this technology,” said Ben Koostra, an engineer associate with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. “What we’ve seen is in the past five or six years, the very early adopters started using this technology,” he said. “But in just the last few years we’ve seen more and more people starting to use this stuff.”

Farmers use global positioning satellites to pinpoint field locations for such activities as soil testing, field mapping and crop yield monitoring. This technology allows anyone with a GPS receiver to determine their location based on latitude and longitude as well as elevation.

PrecisionAg

The GPS system can also be tied to a lightbar with the ultimate goal to reduce overlaps and skips in fields. Lightbars have proven to pay for themselves, Koostra noted during the recent UK wheat field day.

The technology has improved, Koostra remarked, with systems today able to account for curves and slopes while earlier versions only allowed for straight line use. Few fields, especially in Kentucky, are perfectly straight, he noted.

Auto steering is something that is also gaining popularity with farmers as the technology and quality of the equipment has improved, he said. “We are seeing entry-level auto steer systems quite a bit with operations like spraying where you don’t have to be ultra precise,” he said.

New technology is now also putting GPS systems onto the implement to ensure that it is tracking in the same path as the tractor. This technology will ensure accuracy on sloped fields where the implement may move at a slightly different angle than the tractor. This is important in central Kentucky because of the terrain, he said.

Visit the University of Kentucky precision agriculture site to view additional education efforts.

Content courtesy of PrecisionAg, a Meister publication.