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Writing A Prescription For The Future Of Farming

Prescription-based programs such as FieldScripts and Field360 are showing some promise in early trials, but the jury is still out on whether these new tools will live up to expectations.

Before a single seed is planted, farmers make dozens of decisions that can impact yield potential and ultimately, how much money they make each year.

Farmers have been collecting data for years on their management of fertility, seed populations and other factors that influence yields, but not always with a clear understanding of how that information can specifically benefit them.

But it’s clear now that no-tillers and strip-tillers are entering the era of “big data.” Industry giants like John Deere, Monsanto, Raven Industries and DuPont Pioneer are collaborating to capture, quantify and analyze onfarm data and turn it into tailored field prescriptions for farmers.

These collaborators are integrating farm machinery, seed-hybrid genetics and precision technology with a stated goal of increasing yields, slashing input costs and maximizing profit per acre.

While early programs have focused on improved planting techniques, there is potential in the future to expand prescriptive farming practices to refine fertilizer application.

No-tillers and strip-tillers already know a thing or two about maximizing per-acre profit. So will prescription farming practices go mainstream, or linger as a cutting-edge tool for those on the bleeding edge?

It’s a give-and-take process for farmers, who must be willing to grant access to their onfarm data and trust the prescription and companies they’re working with to tap into the potential.

“My goal is to be able to sit with my crop specialist at the end of a field and have him tell me exactly what type of corn hybrid to plant in a…

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Jack Zemlicka

Jack Zemlicka is the Technology Editor for No-Till Farmer. He covers precision farming practices, products and trends, which can improve efficiency and productivity for no-till farmers.

He joined Lessiter Publications Ag Division in 2012 and also serves as managing editor of Strip-Till Farmer.

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