Over 250 growers from around Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and even Canada learned more about the Pursuit of Maximum Yields from an event organized by FS Green Plan Solutions in Bettendorf, Iowa Thursday.
Because the whole concept of pursuing maximum yields is based on the population growth expected in the future, it was fitting that New Mexico State University economist and futurist Dr. Lowell Catlett was first on the program. One thing Dr. Catlett sees in the future is more crap. What he calls “The Crap Factor” is higher disposable income to buy more crap. “The quality of our life has gone up dramatically and the price to have (the necessities) relative to our income has gone down,” he says. That allows people to buy more extras, and in the case of developing countries, it means they have more income to buy more protein.
As for the future of agriculture, Catlett says it’s not so much in precision agriculture now as in prescription agriculture. “It’s part of the reason that these farmers are in this room because they’re doing small plots on their farms to see what they can do,” said Catlett. “Getting a prescription for a farm is what will get maximum yields.”
Catlett also talked about how smart phones are helping farmers. “You’ve got the ability to take that mobile technology and do plant diagnostics with it,” he said. In the future, he sees the use of open source hardware (not just software) and 3D assembly that could allow manufacturing to actually be done on site with local materials, like building tractors on farms in developing nations.