Cutting input costs are driving more growers to invest in precision agriculture and guidance systems. And once they have auto steer available, they are finding ways to use it they had not considered, such as mowing hay, says Amy Winstead, Auburn University, in a recent Southeast Farm Press story.
“In the last year or two, we’ve seen large increases in first-time buyers of precision agriculture technology. These have included livestock producers, forage producers and row-crop producers.
“The increasing cost of inputs has caused everyone to think about how they can save money, and precision agriculture figures into that.”
The benefits of using guidance systems are numerous, she says.
“It decreases skips and overlaps — that’s one of the biggest advantages. It also minimizes driver error and eliminates guess rows. In row crop situations, we’ve seen up to an 8.5 percent decrease in overlapping. In a pasture situation, we would expect that to be much higher because you obviously would have no rows to go by.”
A guidance system increases efficiency, allowing the grower to operate at faster field speeds. “You can cover more area with fewer hours of operation, and you’re able to reduce per-acre fuel consumption because you reduce overlaps in the field,” says Winstead.
To learn more about non-cash benefits, ease of use and costs, read the story.