Here is the next in our series as we introduce you to a few of dedicated precision ag equipment dealers in a series called “Getting to Know Ag Leader”.
We caught up with Michael Short of Ag West Supply in Harrisburg, Ore.:
1. From an agronomy standpoint, what do you consider to be the biggest issues facing growers today?
Growers today must have the proper tools to enable their crops to grow to their full potential. These tools include pesticides and fertilizers that are being watched very closely by the government and other associations looking after the environment. Without these tools, growers cannot create the food supply that we see today.
2. Tell us about how growers in your area are using precision agriculture.
In Oregon, growers are utilizing precision farming applications in all areas of their operations. Many growers are utilizing rate and section control on their sprayers and fertilizer spreaders to reduce over-application of expensive herbicides and pesticides. Other operations use precision solutions on tillage operations to reduce the fuel inputs required to prepare their fields for the next crop. Beyond tillage, growers are utilizing RTK accuracy to plant sweet corn, beans and many other specialty crops that are grown in the Willamette Valley. Still others are collecting data, creating variable rate maps and other important crop input programs, again, reducing inputs and better record keeping. In all, Precision Farming is a very important part of Oregon’s agricultural industry, with more specialty applications being thought of every week.
3. What benefits are growers seeing by using precision ag on their farms?
Benefits seen: reduced fuel usage, reduced pesticide usage, reduced fertilizer usage, longer days covering more acres with less fatigued drivers, accurately placed seeds for healthier crop stands, less weed competition due to more accurate cultivations and spray applications, and better information collected with highly accurate yield monitors.
4. What do you believe is on the horizon when it comes to technology and agriculture?
In Oregon, I believe that tractors will continue to become smarter, reducing input costs even further. Agricultural equipment will continue to progress the relationship between other pieces of equipment in the field, to the point of sharing all operational parameters, guidance lines and other important information. Without technology, small efficiencies not seen before technology, will not be collected, taking profit and potential earnings clean out of a growers business plan, making him/her less productive then, let’s say his neighbor down the road.
5. What’s your best piece of advice to a grower who might be looking at using precision ag products?
The best advice to a grower that is interested in precision farming, would be to find a dealer that is going to be there to support your purchase. If you’re new to technology, you will find that having the ability to get in touch with someone that can walk you through a situation is a huge advantage. Once you have learned the system, the efficiencies are seen immediately and can be seen directly across all applications that you are using the solution. Be excited and open to learn, these systems are capable of doing many advanced solutions and to know the system, you must learn with your Precision Farming Dealer.
Check back next month to “Get to Know” another Ag Leader dealer!
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