SUCCESSFUL TRIAL. Brannon Farms in Puryear, Tenn., used the autonomous Salin247 no-till planter to no-till double-crop soybeans into wheat stubble this summer. “It’s always good to keep your eye on the future,” Tony Brannon says. Image: Tim Brannon

Trialing Autonomy on Your No-Till Operation

Not all agtech will be the right fit, but promising solutions are worth exploring

Autonomous solutions in the world of agriculture are becoming increasingly common. Machines such as the Salin 247 autonomous no-till planter or Guardian Agriculture’s autonomous electric drone sprayer are already available for no-tillers to incorporate into their farm operations

Ideally, autonomy and other precision technology on the farm should make a no-tiller’s life easier and save time and money. But one of the biggest complaints from farmers is that much of this new technology seems to be “autonomy for the sake of autonomy,” instead of solutions to existing problems on the farm. 

On-Farm Trials

One grower, Tony Brannon of Puryear, Tenn., says he is used to being on the cutting edge of new agricultural innovations ever since his father made the move to adopt no-till on their family farm in the late 1960s. He and his brother, former Allis-Chalmers territory manager and current B&G Equipment president Tim Brannon, still operate that same farm today and have had the opportunity to try a lot of the latest agricultural equipment, including several autonomous solutions. 

“It’s always good to keep your eye on the future,” Brannon says. “Some of these new developments may start slow, and they may start on small acreages, but that’s the way that all technology starts.”

Brannon says while not every farm will be a good fit for every new and innovative piece of technology, the ones that are a good fit will often present themselves as obvious choices. One example, he says, is a young farmer he knows who…

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Mackane vogel

Mackane Vogel

Mackane Vogel is the Assistant Editor of Farm Equipment, No-Till Farmer, Cover Crop Strategies and other Lessiter Media publications. An avid writer for the last 10 years, he previously served as the editorial intern for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and also wrote for several different sports journalism outlets before joining the Lessiter Media team in 2022. Mackane is a 2020 journalism graduate of Marquette University.


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