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 Tim Norris of AgInfo Tech in Mt. Vernon, Ohio:
1. From an agronomy standpoint, what do you consider to be the biggest issues facing growers today?
Algal blooms in the Great Lakes and Hypoxia in the Gulf are probably the biggest issues that are facing Agriculture today. I have met with an associate director of the Ohio EPA so that they could learn more about VRA and Precision Ag and how it could have an effect on water quality that are leading to these bodies of water. I do not believe Agriculture to be the main contributor to these problems but we are defiantly a contributor. My fear is that if we don’t drastically reduce the amount of run off into our streams we will be mandated to do so and that will not be good for our producers.
2. Tell us about how growers in your area are using precision agriculture.
Growers in our area are using Precision Ag at various adoption rates. Some still do not use any, some just manual guidance, several have auto steer and yield monitors, about half are using VRA fertilizer and maybe 20% VRA Seed. Tile installation with GPS has increased significantly in the last two years. I have close to 10 growers using Infra-Red sensors to apply their in season nitrogen.
3. What benefits are growers seeing by using precision ag on their farms? Give us some examples.
Probably the quickest payback is the Seed Command Clutch control. These systems can pay for themselves with in a year in a lot of situations. I have a few growers using RTK guidance to allow them to plant right on top of the strip in strip till so they are directly over the fertilizer band which has proven to greatly increase their yields. An the Infrared Sensors like OptRx have proven to average a $32 per acre return on our testing the last three years.
4. What do you believe is on the horizon when it comes to technology and agriculture?
I feel that data is going to start playing a much bigger role in Precision Ag. The revolution started with Data and I feel we are going to need to get “Back to the Data”. My Dad used to say you can save your way to poverty! Unfortunately it is easy to document the savings that come from point row clutches, VRA seeding, Auto Steer and OptRx but it is hard to document the yield increases. I feel that we need to focus on maximizing production. The only way to do that is to collect good data and be able to analyze that data in a timely and useful way that can be delivered to the grower quickly.
5. What’s your best piece of advice to a grower who might be looking at using precision ag products?
My best piece of advice is to find a Full Service Precision Ag dealer that not only knows the ins and outs of the equipment that they sell you, but one that has the ability to service you in the field if you have problems, and has the proper resources to get you back up and running quickly. Another key skill in a Precision Ag Dealer is that they localize Agronomic Knowledge to help you implement your Precision Ag plan.
Check back next month to “Get to Know” another Ag Leader dealer!
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