Put Precision Ag Data To Work

If piles of reports and data from your no-till fields are sitting useless, a consultant could help you turn them into wiser management practices.

Does precision farming, with page after page of information generated by automated devices, really make your no-till fields more productive? Or are you about ready to unplug it all in frustration?

“Most producers will tell you that they’re overrun with data. The challenge is to take all that data and to turn it into information you can use to make decisions,” says Dan Frieberg, president of Premier Crop Systems LLC, a precision ag data processing firm in West Des Moines, Iowa. Frieberg helps no-tillers organize and analyze their data. He explained to attendees at the 2006 National No-Till Conference in St. Louis how his company and others like it, hired for a fee of about $2.50 to $4 per acre, can assist. “We organize the data from yield monitors, soil samples and everything else into a database structure that allows you to see relationships that you might not have been able to see before,” he says. Frieberg offers eight ways in which companies such as his can help no-tillers turn their data into higher profits:

  • Better phosphorus and potassium management. A data analysis can help pinpoint the relationship between yield and phosphorus and potassium soil test values, and whether there is an inverse relationship or a direct relationship between them in any particular field. “For decades, we have uniformly applied nutrients, but we haven’t removed them that way. The high-yield spots of fields sometimes are often the same spots every year,” he says. “Those locations have mined the fertility from…
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