Adopt Precision Ag Tools One Step At A Time

After purchasing precision equipment, make sure you collect the necessary data to properly use and profit from the technology

While pecision AG tools may not be “new” anymore, many producers aren’t utilizing the technology to its fullest. Many farmers tell me they have 5 to 6 years of yield maps, but they don’t know what to do with them.

Perhaps we are trying to get too much out of the technology and need to simplify how precise we get with these tools.

With gigantic increases in fertilizer and seed costs recently, I decided that if there was any time in my career as a farmer and researcher that I could get the technology to pay for itself, it would be now.

I added up the savings for seed on the headlands and the ability to more easily vary seeding rates on more challenging soils, and decided I could save a significant amount on seed.

I also decided I needed to figure out how to make fertilizer use more efficient.

Thus, I purchased an Ag Leader Insight system to move to variable-rate seeding and control point-row clutches on my planter. This controller gave me the ability to purchase a dry-spreader control system for about $2,000, which allows me to variable-rate-apply dry fertilizer.

I was also able to tie it to my nitrogen controller and sprayer for variable-rate nitrogen and for sprayer boom controls.

Since the learning curve is steep on all this technology, I decided to take one step at a time. Last spring, I installed all the equipment on the planter and was able to successfully control the point…

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Jim Leverich

Jim Leverich no-tills near Sparta, Wis., and serves as an onfarm research coordinator for the University of Wisconsin.

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