New Technology Brings Precision Ag Data Into Focus

For more than a decade now, no-tillers have been using precision ag and harvesting lots of data to use for making better farm-management decisions.

Even though there’s lots of data to pore over, it’s becoming more important to think more critically about the data streams we have coming in and understand their strengths and limitations.

Fortunately, technology keeps evolving and there are many new options for collecting data that will help us better define field variability and fine-tune decisions making.

Precision History

In the beginning, no-tillers had yield-monitor data and grid sampling to develop maps showing the basic variability in fields. This helped no-tillers vastly improve their understanding of field variability and how to make better site-specific fertilizer recommendations.

These tools still work fairly well but are developing limitations in some cases. An example is the data lag, and averaging of mass going through the combine. Today’s combines are much larger and have tremendous capacity.

If you really pay attention to the flow rates of crop mass through the combine, you’ll notice the monitor reading will be averaged out across the field because — due to the machine’s capacity — it takes time for the crop to move through the machine.

This was really evident last year in highly variable fields during the drought. The monitor would overestimate yield when going through soils with low water-holding capacity, and underestimate yields on the borders of soils with higher water-holding capacity.

I guess the only way we could have improved the reading…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings