Q: What are three common misconceptions about precision ag?
A: A large amount of information can be generated in precision ag applications. This can lead to confusion, misunderstanding and frustration among farmers. Here’s a few common misconceptions about precision ag.
1. Will it break the bank to get involved with a precision ag program? The addition of a precision ag program on the farm doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. Often, the equipment needed to implement the programs is already on the farm. There’s a wide range of programs available, such as variable-rate fertilizer maps, soil sampling, NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) satellite imagery and drone applications. Pricing for these programs range from a flat “fee for service” program to a “fee per acre” program with different add-on options. The goal in implementing technology on the farm is to manage data to further farm success.
2. I’m not a tech-savvy person. Will I get lost in all the technology? Precision ag specialists are available to support and educate customers on the program offerings they signed up for. They are the technology experts and will work to troubleshoot issues that might arise.
3. Is there any point in investing in precision ag on my rented land? Whether it’s rented or owned land, precision ag offers tools to help make the most efficient use of the land. Rented land may initially be unfamiliar. In situations like that, precision ag programs can offer insights into crop productivity potential and identify opportunities to generate positive yield responses. Much of this comes from understanding the soil beneath our feet through mapping and data analysis and then managing the crop in the most efficient way to generate the most economic response. Precision ag platforms can be adjusted to the specific situation where things like land rental costs, yield goals and fertilizer inputs can be adjusted.
Precision agriculture is an agile sector with many companies involved, however, they all share a common goal of generating programs to help customers succeed.
Amy Sayer, BSA, PAg, is a regional account manager for Echelon with Nutrien Ag Solutions in Saskatchewan.