Agriculture conference brings tech ideas to growers
New technology is helping farmers find more efficient ways to grow. Land owners and tech savvy vendors met on Thursday for the Nebraska Ag Tech Association conference in Kearney. The conference focused on utilizing management zones and properly collecting data. A few speakers showed some promising results in technology that many farmers might be interested in. Mike Manning, the Precision Program Lead for the Aurora COOP, and a NEATA board member, said many growers are anxious about using their field data.
"I think the biggest question still being answered by growers is how do they start putting their data to work for them, what should they be measuring, what are they measuring, and how do they implement it, how does it fit their system and how do they put it to work for them,” said Manning.
Kyle Owen of EFC Systems, said one data management software to keep in mind is their Precision Ag system.
"Any field, most typically, is showing a 3–15 percent unprofitable area and so we use our system to either use yield data or imagery to find those areas and by finding those, we can then look at it and say alright, can we do this practice and be profitable,” said Owen.
Owen said this software will define where land improvements are needed by taking yield data or imagery from the machinery.
"It helps evangelize the variable rate seating, variable rate fertilizer. Showing where we can cut costs in those low yielding areas instead of keeping that flat rate expense, we're variable rating that to get a better return on investment for that field,” said Owen.
Owen explained a scenario where they could not find a way to be profitable in one portion of a field and they ended up taking that part of the field out of production.
"Which every farmer doesn't want to do, but by doing that we then increased profitability across the field by 20 percent and we actually enrolled it in the USDA program for pollinators and they got the payment from the pollinator's,” said Owen.
With farmers looking for more efficient ways to grow, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln partnered with many around the state of Nebraska for their On Farm Research Network to trial and error new practices. The results on the research will be discussed this February at a few different programs. You can find that information here.