New Website Coming for Precision Agriculture

Kurt Lawton

Even with broadband speed, finding the best precision agriculture info can be a daunting task (even with our help). But a group of university precision ag specialists plan to simplify that task–and we’ll help bring it to you here on the pages of

A new web-based resource for precision agriculture is in the works, driven by the mission to combine the best knowledge across 74 land grant universities. The group plans to launch this website, complete with 50 topics in 10 categories by this summer.

Their goal: offer the most complete, accurate and current source of information, education and advice to advance the understanding and practice of precision agriculture. Sources for this information (all peer-reviewed) will include university specialists, precision ag company resources, retailers and farmers. The framework will include all crops, and it plans to be international in scope.

In the December 2008 Site Specific Management Center Newsletter from Purdue University, Bruce Erickson, Director of Cropping Systems Management, outlined these topic areas:

  • Precision Ag Basics
  • GPS & Guidance
  • Yield Monitoring & Mapping
  • Remote Sensing for Agriculture
  • Soil & Crop Sensing
  • Field Variability Management
  • Variable Rate Application
  • Electronics & Control Systems
  • Precision Ag Data Management
  • Economics of Precision Ag

The Precision Agriculture group will first exist as a part of the Geospatial Technology resource area, but intends to create its own resource area by summer. The group designated a preliminary overall leadership team: John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University, Randy Taylor, Oklahoma State University, and Bruce Erickson, Purdue University. Sponsors are being solicited, and will be recognized on the site as contributors to this effort. Contributions will fund the time of a person or persons who will add content and oversee the site.

Stay tuned to for the latest in precision ag news.



Precision Crop Yields in Wired Magazine

Kurt Lawton

News of Missouri high-yield precision guru, Kip Cullers, hit the mainstream technology scene when featured in a recent story in Wired magazine.

Wired, known for covering everything techie (but rarely agriculture) in an off-the-wall style, offered an interesting look at Kip, calling him a “genius in the science of yield, and some argue a frontline warrior in the burgeoning global food crisis.”

The piece cited his 155 bushel soybean and 329 bushel corn yields as evidence–along with his “open-source” penchant for sharing knowledge with peers during field days.

And while you’re at it, check out the magazine’s November 2008 issue with its cover story on “The Future of Food: How Science Will Solve the Next Global Crisis.” Very interesting piece.

Precision Ag in the News

January Webinar On GPS Developments In Ag

Kurt Lawton

GPS World magazine offers a free seminar on January 27 to learn more about GPS in Agriculture. Rob Lorimer, Managing Director of Position One Consulting and GPS World Professional OEM Editor, will discuss current and future applications of GPS in agriculture along with an update on market trends and economic benefits of widespread GPS in agriculture and more.

What you’ll learn:

  • The main uses of GPS in Agriculture including CA Code, single and dual frequency applications.
  • The countries and regions around the world most actively using GPS in their agricultural production.
  • The cropping sectors which are the most advanced in GPS adoption and why.
  • The major suppliers of GPS products and services into Agriculture.
  • The potential impact of current economic conditions on GPS adoption in Agriculture.
  • Emerging applications for GPS in cropping agriculture, animal husbandry and wild-stock management.
  • Potential macro economic benefits of widespread GPS in agriculture.
Click here to register for this free seminar.
Education, GPS

Pioneer Acquires MapShots

Kurt Lawton

Pioneer Hi-Bred expanded their mapping and record keeping services today with its announced acquisition of Georgia-based MapShots Inc., a privately-owned agricultural data management company that develops and sells proprietary crop management software.

Pioneer, which has had a long-standing business relationship with MapShots, will now be able to extend its Pioneer FIT mapping service and information available through GrowingPoint website record-keeping service. FIT mapping is part of a suite of services that Pioneer sales professionals offer to growers to help them achieve effective hybrid and variety placement.

MapShots, known for the EASi Suite brand of crop software, will continue to sell, support and enhance this line of desktop software for growers and professional service providers. They will also continue to license core precision ag components to other companies for inclusion in their products and services.

Click here for all the details.

Industry News, Precision Ag in the News

Plan Ahead For InfoAg 2009

Chuck Zimmerman

InfoAg 2009It may still be holiday time but you can still plan ahead for educational events like the 2009 InfoAg.

Dear International Precision Agriculture Community:

It is great pleasure that I announce, once again the InfoAg Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, IL. InfoAg 2009 is scheduled to take place July 14-16, 2009.

Since the first conference in 1995, InfoAg has been the leading event in precision agriculture. InfoAg 2009 will present a wide range of educational and networking opportunities for manufacturers, practitioners, producers, and anyone interested in site-specific techniques and technology.

Mark your calendars and watch for more details.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Harold Reetz, Jr.
Chair of the InfoAg 2009
International Plant Nutrition Institute

For Program questions:
Harold Reetz
217) 762-2074

For Sponsor / Exhibit questions:
Harold Reetz
(217) 762-2074

For Registration / General questions:
Quentin Rund
(217) 762-7955

Events, InfoAg

Valuable Ag Technology Conference in January

Kurt Lawton

NEATAWant to learn more about excellent profit opportunities from precision technology for your farm? Growers from Nebraska and surrounding states should head for Grand Island, NE on January 28-29 for the annual Nebraska Agricultural Technologies Association Conference & Trade Show at the Grand Island Midtown Holiday Inn Conference Center.

The meeting begins with a hands-on session allowing growers to work a computer program to determine best ‘what-if’ scenarios regarding the 2008 Farm Bill. Other session topics will discuss a wide range of issues from land management software, new communication tools, precision agriculture trends, and remote sensing aerial imagery to machine vision weed control, mapping tools, in-season Nitrogen management and side-by-side trial management and decision making.

A trade show will give growers the opportunity to ‘kick the tires’ on a wide variety of precision products as well as talk to company experts on hand.

NeATA is Nebraska’s newest grassroots agricultural-based non-profit associations. The association was founded by innovative Nebraska farmers and agribusiness representatives that share a common desire to stay abreast of emerging agricultural technologies. The NeATA organization will facilitate on-farm research opportunities, educational programs, and a perpetual investigation of practical applications for new agricultural technologies.

Education, Events

Size Up Your GPS Investment Seminar

Kurt Lawton

Spending time this winter analyzing your precision practices is always beneficial. To this end, check out this DTN AG Online Seminar called “Sizing Your GPS Investment/Which Tools Fit the Farm,” hosted in September by DTN and The Progressive Farmer magazine.

The seminar discusses numerous topics: As more tools associated with GPS technologies come available, farmers are beginning to question which ones make the most sense in their operation. For farmers just getting into the GPS world, the question is how far to get into the technology. Is yield mapping enough? Or should the farmer jump right in to high-accuracy RTK signaling and autosteer equipment systems? This webinar will include a panel of farmers who have walked through those decisions and can add insight in to what they’re doing, how well it works, and whether it adds to their efficiency and profitabilility.

To listen to a wide variety of other excellent Webinars–from taxes and seed to tillage and grain marketing, visit the DTN AG Online Seminars page.

Audio, Equipment, GPS

Wireless Soil Sensors Judge Crop Environment

Kurt Lawton

Sensor technology continues to amaze me. Having watched this fascinating technology since the 1980s and written about its usefulness in monitoring everything from tractor components to grain quality, I’ve become a firm believer that such sensor precision truly pays.

Current research underway by engineers at Iowa State University aims to plant small (2×4 in.) prototype wireless soil sensors under crops. The goal is to give farmers another precision data layer of information to better manage nutrients, water and carbon to maximize yields and profits–and minimize environmental impact.

Think of the possibilities. 

Check out ISU’s sensor research team and their efforts.

Precision Ag in the News, Research

Precision Ag In The News

Chuck Zimmerman

A report titled, “GPS Precise Positioning Markets 2008-2012,” is now available from Research and Markets according to a release posted on MarketWatch.

GPS Precise Positioning Markets 2008-12 includes details on the projected US$ 6-8 Billion value chain; starting with precision GPS infrastructure, continuing through the market for GPS receivers, finished GPS goods and concluding with GPS augmentation and distribution services. Markets covered include surveying, engineering, agriculture, mining, deformation monitoring, GIS, marine and aviation for both machine control and non-machine control applications for the time period 2008 through 2012.

The global value of precision GNSS products and services is approximately US$3 Billion in 2008 and predicted to grow to a value of between US$6-8 Billion by 2012, a CAGR of 19-23%, although prolonged economic downturn in North America and Europe could see growth slow to a CAGR of 15-19%.

Precision Ag in the News