Extreme Precision Application Needed

Kurt LawtonEquipment, Farmers

Precision farming technology that controls sections of your planter, sprayer and fertilizer spreader are key to the “extreme precision” needs of farmers, says Iowa grower Clay Mitchell, as reported recently in Farm Industry News.

This young farmer, who avidly practices many forms of precision agriculture and blogs about it at The Mitchell Farm, is not a fan of variable-rate technologies yet. He says there’s a greater need to improve uniform application first, especially with fertilizer applicators.

In an article titled “Future of Farming Technology,” he writes that variable-rate application “is and will be for a long time, hampered by voodoo yield-response estimates that can cause more harm than good.” He says there are notable exceptions, such as pivot irrigation field corners, but mostly, uniform applications are far more desirable.

Technology trends that Mitchell sees as valuable include:

  • Technologies that will detect, map and replace tile lines
  • Auto steering will become standard
  • Individual planter row and nozzle control need to be standard
  • Water management will undergo a revolution change
  • Data transfer from vehicle to computer will become automated
  • More operating data will be captured and mapped, such as fuel use
  • Communications tools and monitoring technology will become wireless