As more farmers gravitate toward collecting and analyzing precision data to make better management decisions, there are numerous pitfalls to watch out for.
Some are more common and correctable than others, says Tim Norris, CEO of Ag Info Tech in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
“Some of these mistakes have been made by me, or even repeated by me,” Norris told attendees at the National No-Tillage Conference last January. “Sometimes it takes making the same mistake more than once before you really learn from it.”
When farmers collect grid-sampling information, soil maps, and as-planted, as-applied and yield data, there’s a tendency for farmers to get buried by the information, Norris says. No-tillers must know what they want from the information and how to collect it to get a worthwhile analysis.
“I’ll ask customers for their yield information and they’ll give me a book,” Norris says. “Then I’ll say, ‘What about your maps for your fertility and soil testing?’ They go and get me another book. Those maps are fine and that information is fine, but it’s not in a GIS system where we can really look at the information together and analyze it.”
Sometimes farmers work with their fertilizer or seed dealer to gather soil-test data and yield maps but don’t know what do with it — or worse yet, only get paper copies of the information.
“The farmer doesn’t always have the raw data that the maps were made from. This is one of the key things I see…