Precision Farming Tools Can Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

Kurt LawtonAg Leader, Conservation, Fertilizer, Guidance, Insights Weekly, Planting, seed, Spraying, Variable rate

Insights WeeklyConservation. Sustainability. Water Quality. These hot topics are on the minds of government, and should be a continued focus by every grower. As you look at your operation, and your investment in precision farming equipment, it pays to think proactively and adopt components that can improve your environmental footprint.

I spoke the other day with Iowa farmer Tim Palmer, who also is president of the Conservation Districts of Iowa—a group of 500 county commissioners who are responsible for carrying out state laws and programs within district boundaries. Palmer had just returned from their annual conference where the theme was ‘Mastering Conservation 101.’

“Our whole conference was all about topics focused on improving water quality. If we can keep soil in place, water quality automatically improves,” he says. “We discussed many ways to help educate growers on conservation methods; about how there’s more to soil quality than organic matter and yield. And we offered breakout sessions on planter adjustments, managing no-till residue, precision farming, value of no-till, livestock grazing management and other topics.”

Chad Huedepohl, DirectCommand sales manager for Ag Leader Technology, spoke to the group about how precision farming tools can help promote conservation practices. He addressed three areas during his talk:

1. Auto guidance: “I talked about the myth that auto steer only works in fields with straight rows. Our SmartPath technology tracks the contours in a field as you drive the first path, then it takes over the steering during subsequent paths—which helps growers farm fields differently to keep erosion in check. And auto guidance eliminates row marker trenches that can turn into highly erodible gullies during heavy rain events,” Huedepohl says.

2. Efficient nitrogen application: “Our OptRx crop sensor system can help growers reduce excessive nitrogen application by reading the crop and applying only the amount needed, instead of applying a flat rate of nitrogen across whole fields.”

3. Reduced chemical and seed over-application: “As growers adopt more contour planting to reduce soil and water movement and erosion in square fields, they create more point rows which can lead to over-application of seed and chemicals,” he says. “With auto guidance and row/boom shutoff, that problem is eliminated. Our AutoSwath technology combined with planter row shutoff devices not only provide less corn lodging and herbicide over-application, it saves on seed and chemical input costs, too.”

Visit these links for more information.

Conservation Districts of Iowa

Iowa Soil and Water Conservation District Annual Conference

Ag Leader SmartPath“drive-and-guide”-guidance-pattern-introduced-by-ag-leader/

Ag Leader OptRx

Ag Leader AutoSwath