Sep 20, 2014
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April 2014 Archive for Growing Technology

RSS By: Ben Potter,

Technology editor Ben Potter brings you the latest in technology news, and how you can apply it to farming.


Drones Will Transform These 6 Industries

Apr 28, 2014

 Kiplinger’s, a business and finance industry, just wrote about six industries that will be heavily affected by the emerging technology of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones. As you probably guessed, agriculture made the list. Here are the six: movie making, agriculture, news media, real estate sales, surveying land and home delivery.

That sounds about right. Drones will be useful anywhere a bird’s eye view will lend new perspective. Currently, farmers are testing smaller models on their farm, but the opportunity is ripe for larger models to enter the market as well.

That’s because the larger the model, the larger the payload it could potentially carry. Today’s models are just big enough to carry batteries and a camera. Kiplinger’s mentions companies such as Colorado-based Scion UAS, which is developing a model that is about 7 feet tall and 19 feet long called the SA-400 Jackal. The Jackal can carry a 200-lb payload and stay in the air for about four hours.

It’s easy to imagine retailers or even individual farmers developing autonomous spray programs in the future using this type of technology. Time will tell, of course – there are numerous safety and legal concerns that still need to be sorted out, especially when flying larger models.

What are some unique ways you could envision using a drone on your operation?

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Drones can carry a small camera or other payload of varying weight, depending on the craft's overall size.


What's Your Best #Plant14 Advice?

Apr 08, 2014

 Here in Missouri, the daffodils are already pushing through the ground and planting season is mere days away. Elsewhere around the Corn Belt, the farmers I’ve talked to this week up in the Dakotas are still sitting atop 3’ of frost. But wherever you are, the planting season is getting closer and closer to front-of-mind. Here are a few resources to get you started.

First, I started a thread on our discussion board to share your best planting advice. Go here to share and learn:

I also like to search the #plant14 hashtag on Twitter for helpful hints.The advice is just starting to trickle in now but will surely flow freely over the next several weeks as planting season draws closer.

Illinois farmer Cory Ritter is hosting a Crop Watch Roundtable on his website. Be sure to check out this unique experience of farmers interviewing farmers.

Finally, here are five quick planting tips from Robert Mullin, director of agronomy for PotashCorp.

1. Don't underestimate the value of starter fertilizer

2. Make certain your crop is fertilized for good yields

3. Don't rush to plant in fields that are not ready

4. Don't alter seeding rate

5. Don't think you need to change hybrid maturity or soybean variety to a shorter season option

Where do you go to get the best planting advice?

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