Get the most from precision
Creighton farmer David Condon began adopting precision tools in 2003 with a yield monitor in his combine. That initial installation began a progression of new tools that have saved input expenses and placed other inputs where they are most likely to increase production and improve profits.
At a glance
• Benefits accrue from seven years of using precision tools.
• Farmer saves costs and makes more efficient use of inputs.
• He lists seven steps to help guide others to get started.
Condon and Mark Pavlik, a local crop consultant, offer several tips for farmers who are just beginning to implement precision tools:
• Get the best tech support. Purchase equipment from a dealer that will provide the best support for the technology and will have that support available in a timely fashion when you need it.
• The monitor is the base. Be sure to calibrate your yield monitor at least once per harvest season for each crop harvested. Make sure the data you are collecting is correct, or everything else you base off of that data will also miss the mark.
• Work into it slowly. There is a learning curve on utilizing precision technology, so it takes time to get used to the systems. Practice makes perfect.
• Compatibility can be an issue. Sometimes various brands of farm equipment do not interface perfectly with specific technology tools.
• Keep your software updated. Keep up on downloads and updates to make the most of what you have. Most companies will notify you when new versions or updates become available.
• You don’t need to break the bank. There are units that are quite affordable. These days, there is more equipment available, and it is more affordable than ever. Shop around. These tools can be useful for farms of all sizes, depending on the tools a farmer wants to implement.
• Utilize training when it is offered. Take advantage of training courses offered by most reputable precision agriculture companies on how to use all of the tools in their systems.
This article published in the February, 2011 edition of NEBRASKA FARMER.