On the road map of adopting precision ag technology on your farm, there are plenty of forks in the road and many routes to get to your intended destination. The best way to get the productivity and efficiency results you are seeking is to plan ahead.
"Sit down and try to develop a technology timeline for your farm," advises Farm Journal associate field agronomist Missy Bauer. "The first thing many farmers stumble on is they fail to come up with a plan for today and the future."
Here are the steps in this process:
- Make a list of what you have today:
- Answer the questions: Where do I want to be next year? In three years? In five years?
"I and the other consultants I know run into this on a regular basis, that if a farmer would have paid attention to the tools he already had, it would have saved them time, money and frustration," Bauer says. "One real-life example is a farmer who has 6 monitors and 5 GPS receivers."
This equipment is for his yield monitor, VRT population, Auto-steer on the planter, VRT nitrogen, sprayer auto-swath, and planter auto-swath.
Without taking an inventory of what you already have and where you want to go, many farmers can end up with such a mix and variety of products that there's overlap.
Then after evaluating your already purchased equipment, think how that can fit into your longer-term precision plan.
"In three years from now, if you are looking to adopt variable-rate technology that may change what we do now. All these decisions weave together and making a plan helps you get a handle on this," Bauer says.
The timeline does not have to be a one-step process that requires you to make the maximum investment at one time. Instead, the plan allows you to make planned purchases that can step-by-step bring you closer to your end goals.
Bring in reinforcements and support personnel. Work with your equipment dealers, support staff, the team that makes your maps, and desktop data management to assist you a long the way.
With a plan developed, use it as a road map to avoid spending extra money and time to save money and time in your production practices.
Editor's Note: This presentation was given at the 2010 Corn College Planter Clinic. Join Farm Journal field agronomist Ken Ferrie and associate field agronomist Missy Bauer this July for our summer session Corn College. To learn about the four events offered during the week of July 19, visit www.FarmJournaCornCollege.com