Benefits of Precision Ag

Melissa SandfortEducation, Reach for the Stars

Welcome back for more information from the American Soybean Association (ASA) and John Deere “Reach for the Stars” summer grower meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa, on July 20th at Scott Community College.

DSC00276.JPGMark Hanna, Extension Agricultural Engineer with Iowa State University, continued the classroom learning with information about the benefits of precision agriculture. Hanna currently conducts adult education and applied research with agriculture field machinery in the areas of tillage, seeding, application harvest and safety classes. He has BS, MS and PhD degrees in agriculture engineering from ISU and was raised on crop and livestock farm in western Illinois. A precision nitrogen applicator designed and developed by a team led by Dr. Hanna was recently recognized as one of the top 10 design innovations in the last 20 years by the American Society of Ag and Biological Engineers.

“Potential benefits from precision farming include record-keeping/data collection/improved decision making, reduced operator fatigue, efficiency and variable-rate applications,” said Hanna. “Is it going to make you money? University research conducted a few years back showed a higher potential for payback with increased benefits to soil compaction, strip tillage and row crop cultivation. Precision farming is here, it’s no longer just coming. It’s not a replacement for good management, it’s just helping you be considerably better.“

There’s a lot of potential with precision agriculture, but growers need to decide what their yield-limiting factors are. Decide what level of accuracy is needed. Pass-to-pass (15 minutes) or long-term (next day, next week, next season). A lot depends on the conditions and how the system will be used.

Visit the John Deere Web site for more information about the GreenStar™ 2 system and watch for future reports on from the Reach for the Stars contest winners.