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The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Precision Farming

Before attempting high-tech precision farming, there are a few things to get in order.

Ask Doug Smith the difference between Canadian and U.S. no-tilling, and he’ll give you a straight answer.

“In Canada, the government doesn’t tell us how to farm. We can go broke any way we want,” he laughs.

But if you ask Smith the ins and outs of precision farming tools, he may take more time in his reply.

That’s because this Thamesville, Ontario, no-till farmer has experienced the good, the bad and everything in between with precision farming.

“I don’t consider precision farming to be satellites and yield monitors,’ he says. “I consider it as a whole package. On our farm, the first step was trading the plow in 1982 for ridge tilling and no-tilling.”

Nuts And Bolts

“We started out with a five-inch Radio Shack T.V. and a homemade box. It told us which path in the field we were on and which direction we were going,” Smith explains. “Before I knew it, I had a laptop computer in the combine, with yield and moisture sensors.”

First Things First. Before rushing to the store and purchasing pricey precision equipment, Smith advises growers to first check the 11 basics of no-tilling and offers his comments on each.

1. Drainage

“If you don’t have drainage, you don’t farm,” he says.

2. Hybrids

“I try to accommodate a hybrid on each field if I can,” he adds.

3. Insects And Weeds

“If they’re taking away bushels,” he says, “they’re something to worry about.”

4. Crop Rotation

“That can make us 10, 15…

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