When we first started our blog for farmers a few years ago, our first post was titled, “How Agri-Tech is Reshaping the Way We Farm”. Since then, we’ve talked a lot about how precision farming has grown and shown benefits not just to the farmer’s bottom line, but also to the environment. If you haven’t gotten on board yet, let 2021 be your year to join this win-win movement.
We’re not the only ones talking about the importance of the precision farming movement. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) partnered with several prominent agriculture companies. Including, CropLife America, American Soybean Association, and National Corn Growers Association, and together they released an important study. In it, they evaluate the impact precision agriculture has on improving environmental conservancy and ensuring economic return for producers.
Precision farming uses technologies to increase sustainability by using critical farming inputs more efficiently. This includes water, land, fertilizer, pesticides, and fuel. Agronomists that use precision farming equipment grow more and use less. The study provided by AEM in conjunction with their partners highlights how technological advancements and policies can boost these results.
Key Benefits to Precision Farming
According to the study, there are five important benefits that are achieved through precision farming.
- Increased efficiency creates better yields.
- Fertilizer use is decreased with more exact placement.
- Pesticide use is decreased with more precise application.
- Fuel is saved due to better monitoring resulting in less overlapping.
- Water use is decreased with remote sensor technology.
The first and most important to farmers is an increase in yields. Precision farming creates a more efficient farm. An efficient farm creates better yields. President of the National Corn Growers Association, John Linder notes “over the past 18 years, the growth in corn and soybean yields, for example, has coincided with the widespread adoption of precision agriculture technologies.” He goes on to say, “as precision agriculture technologies become more widely adopted, there is potential for significant upward movement in yields and savings.”
Benefits two through five pertain to using resources more accurately and therefore more efficiently, thus cutting costs. Instead of blanket spraying fertilizers and pesticides, sensor technology works in conjunction with field mapping to isolate areas of need. This allows the farmer to apply pesticides, fertilizers, and even water more precisely. Precision farming also lowers fuel use, reducing both cost and environmental impact. Chief of Staff, Kellie Bray of CropLife America talks about precision farming becoming a major part of the climate solution. As revealed in the study, she highlights the role precision ag tools have in fuel savings noting it’s “equivalent to taking nearly 200,000 cars of the road.”
In essence, precision farming is allowing technology to return us to previous farming practices without sacrificing efficiency or yields.
Precision Farming Highlights
AEM’s precision agriculture study revealed a ton of valuable information regarding the importance of technology in farming’s future. Most significantly it revealed that precision farming increases yields and will continue to do so the more widely its embraced. Other highlights include:
- An increased productivity of 4% with the potential to reach 6% with more adoption.
- Better fertilizer placement with an increased efficiency of an estimated 7% with potential to grow to 21%.
- The use of herbicide has been reduced by roughly 9% with the potential to decrease an additional 15% when fully adopted.
- The use of fossil fuel has reduced roughly 6% with the potential to decrease an additional 16%.
- Water use has been reduced by roughly 4% and has the potential to decrease by another 21% when precision farming is fully adopted.
Precision farming contributes to both short-term and long-term yield providing economic benefits as well as environmental improvements. The AEM study has put this into quantifiable terms for farmers to understand. But there is still a lot of work to be done. That is why AEM, CLA, ASA, and NCGA have teamed up together to advance practices and technologies that will further the precision farming movement. Here are some of the things they’ll be working on to advance the potential results this study promises.
- Advance policies that encourage innovations in farming production
- Improve the infrastructure of precision agriculture like providing wireless broadband across rangelands and croplands.
- Cultivate farm income so farmers have the capital needed to invest in their own operations.
- Increase communications with consumers on the environmental benefits of precision agriculture.
To get your own copy of AEM and partners precision agriculture study, contact Nick Tindall.
What to Do with Those Post-Harvest Higher Yields
Real-time data collection and analysis helps you make informed decisions critical to your farm operations. For example, more stored grain goes out of condition due to uncontrolled temperature than for any other reason. Knowing the temperature of your grain is key to knowing whether spoilage is happening, or not. If you know what your grain’s temperature is, you know what you need to do with your grain.
You can use that information to make fan decisions that keep energy costs down, reduce shrink, and maintain profits. GrainTrac bin monitoring system even allows for remote monitoring. You can check your grain temperature anytime, anywhere, from any device. This feels like a pretty big deal when it’s below zero outside. Especially since you can check grain temperature over a hot cup of coffee from the comfort of your kitchen.
Learning how to use agri-tech that collects and stores data is well worth the effort. You’ll be making data-driven decisions that take the money-wasting guesswork out of farm management in no time. Decision-making will finally be more precise for a more sustainable and profitable future.
Source: National Corn Growers Association
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