The Precision in Practice column brings you the latest reports from producers across North America who have put precision farming into practice in their own operations. Visit this column regularly to see what your neighbors are saying about precision farming and how they use it on their farms.
Short broadcast interviews with these and other producers can be found in the Precision Ag Minute archives.
John Deere components used: AutoTrac
Q: How has precision agriculture helped your operation?
A: We were running on an 8770 4-wheel drive tractor last year but switched to a 9400 this year. We can take our AutoTrac off the planter and use it on the sprayer and on swath in the fall. We saved a lot of overlap, ran 24 hours a day when we were seeding and could see where things were done and where they weren’t. It just makes things easier to operate and helps with fatigue throughout the day.
It’s surprising – the lack of overlap by using the system – and you realize just how much you DID overlap at times with the equipment. Hybrid seeds and chemicals become costly. But the system does pay. You can take someone with a little less experience, show them how the equipment works and away they go. Labor is hard to come by, so anything you can do to simply things, helps.
Q: How do you use the mapping feature?
A: You can see the equipment on the screen (with no lightbar). You can see what’s been done, what hasn’t been done and acres inside your boundaries. At the end of the day or the season, you can download it on the computer for record keeping. We also use variable rate fertilizer applications, and with mapping, we know where things are lacking.
John Deere precision ag is easy to use their support/dealerships are really good – if you have any questions, they’re right there to help.
You can listen to the interview with Paul Smith here: Paul Smith (4 min mp3)