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Farmers have always trusted the advice of their peers when it comes to adapting their planting, fertility and harvesting methods.
But as they use precision technology to review yield-monitor data and make management decisions, the information is rarely shared beyond the borders of their farm.
When it does happen, it’s often limited to coffee-shop conversations and only a few farmers may hear an insight that applies to their own fields.
“There’s been a lot of success with using precision data to become more efficient on your own farm,” says Crop IMS technology specialist Jeremy Wilson, who no-tills corn, wheat and soybeans on 1,200 acres in southern Illinois with his father, Wade. “But getting farmers to share those data sets has been a real struggle because they all want to know, ‘What will other people see?’”
But through some new farm-management strategies emerging in the agricultural world, farmers are slowly opening their eyes to the benefit of pooling precision data together to make more effective decisions.
The concept of “community data sharing” is new and the quantifiable results, on a large scale, are a work in progress. But Wilson is seeing the value as both a farmer and as a data-management consultant.
A few years ago, he coordinated a multi-farm trial to track corn hybrid performance. The results ended up helping him improve yields on he and his father’s farm.
Wilson’s first step was taking several years of yield data and identifying a common problem both he and…