High-Tech Has No-Tiller Seeing Red

Infrared imagery and computer-enhanced photos are showing the way to increased no-till profits.

If new technology can help Oxford, Ind., no-tiller Jim Wilkinson make money, he’ll try it.

Such was the case when he decided two years ago to give the Emerge Midwest version of high-tech precision farming a test run on his 750-acre farm in Benton County northwest of Lafayette, Ind.

“I generally am a pliers-and-hammer kind of guy,” Wilkinson told attendees at the sixth annual National No-Tillage Conference in Indianapolis, Ind. “Sitting at a computer, for the most part, disturbs me. I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with it. I think that what we need to stress here is the simplicity of managing data through this whole program and system.”

The infrared system is named the Information Toolbox, an apt description because it formulates a wealth of information which no-tillers can use to better control and understand what is happening on their acres.

The product has been available since 1997, and Wilkinson was one of the first no-tillers to test it. The results were favorable, according to Wilkinson, because the Toolbox provides valuable information, especially in the areas of crop stress and weather management.

The most impressive aspect of the Toolbox and its three components—a web site, a scouting tool and data management—is its reliance on infrared imagery to determine specific problem spots in a field.

“The Emerge program really allows growers to see vegetative stress with the use of infrared images,” says Wilkinson. “Re­mote sensing has been available for many years, but this is the first time we’ve ever had…

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