Suggestions on where to start with precision ag
“Spend the time and money on training and software. Surround yourself with as many people as you can, especially agronomists with a good soils background.”
— Paul Zook, a Beach, N.D., farmer who’s used precision ag tools since 2006.
“Do your research. Newcomers (to precision ag) can try to save money upfront with entry-level systems that end up being inadequate for what they’re trying to do.”
— Jeff Dickens, Dakotas territory manager for Ag Leader Technologies, a prominent Iowa-based precision ag company.
“If you’re computer literate, check out online chat rooms (at www.precisionag.com and elsewhere.) … Check out equipment dealers and meetings. … If you have a neighbor who uses it, make an appointment and discuss it with him over a cup of coffee.”
— Paul Gunderson, director of the Dakota Precision Ag Center in Devils Lake, N.D.
“A good starting point would be to analyze their current strategies and identify the areas in which they would like to improve efficiency. Communicating with a local precision ag specialist, a precision ag dealer, attending a seminar and trying to go online, if possible, are all good. If there is no local precision ag specialist available, they can try to attend a more large-scale seminar or workshop.”— Olga Walsh, soil fertility and precision nutrient management specialist with Montana State University.
“Encourage young people to study it and learn it. You might be too old to get too deeply in computers, but your grandkids who are totally immersed in it — get them to help you. Embrace our next generation of kids.”— Gregg Carlson, precision ag agronomist with South Dakota State University. Learn more online and at meetings There are literally millions of online sources of information for precision ag. Google “precision ag” and you get 49.5 million hits. Google “precision ag variable rate” and you get 2.2 million hits. With that in mind, here are a few online sources that can be useful:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Ag Library, www.nal.usda.gov.
- USDA’s Economic Research Service, www.ers.usda.gov/publica tions/eib-economic-information-bulletin.
- Dakota Precision Ag Center, www.dakotaprecisionagcenter.com.
- University of Minnesota Precision Ag Center, www.precision.agri. umn.edu.
- A blog on precision ag in Montana, precision-agmontana.blog spot.com.
- A number of meetings and trade shows are scheduled, at which producers can learn more about precision ag. The list includes:
- The 2014 Precision Agriculture Action Summit Jan. 20 to 21 in Jamestown, N.D. Information: www. theresearchcorridor.com/precision agsummit.
- The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmer Association’s annual Workshop and Trade Show Jan. 6-8 in Minot, N.D. Information: www.mandakzerotill.org.