Back in May, a severe geomagnetic storm interfered with navigation systems, leaving many farmers in the U.S. unable to plant for a bit. One of our editors heard that signals for some were reportedly 10 feet from the precision A-B lines — far from "sub-inch accuracy." We asked our readers in the No-Till Farmer email discussion group if they experienced any problems in their area. Check out the responses below.

“This is why we should still have markers on planters. Technology is great but I will not use GPS for anything other than guidance. I want to plant my crop when it needs to be planted and not be sitting around waiting on satellite signals.”

  • James McNichol, Blyth, Ont., Canada

“We have markers, and we used them while we were having signal trouble. Row shutoffs didn’t work, but we didn’t have them 20 years ago either.”

  • John Holles, Springfield, Minn.

“I was spraying that day in a 65-acre field with a driveway through it, it got to be over 30’ off beside the driveway until I was done with the field. I had to go back and spray an extra pass to make sure I got it all. The next morning, it was over 60’ off.”

  • Nate Yoder, Cynthiana, Ky.

“The storm was not very strong. The real problem is Earth’s weakening magnetic field. The poles have moved significantly, and the change has sped up. Expect more trouble.”

  • Don Ready, Kimberley, Ont., Canada

“Our small business spent the winter RTK mapping the fields we planned to custom apply in the spring of 2024. We are finding some fields are ok, and some are off by ~10’. We saw this back in April and the local John Deere dealer said it was from a volcano. Sure changed our plans for improved accuracy."

  • Ben Hushon, White Hall, Md.

“My neighbor’s field edge was off 4 30-inch rows. I’m surprised he didn’t catch it, but everything is downloaded into whatever system he uses and auto-steer. He told me to plant into his field to help keep weeds down."

  • Thomas Brass

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