Map Your Farm Technology Destination

April 14, 2010 05:06 PM
These days tractor cabs tend to collect more stuff than spent Mountain Dew cans and lunch leavings. With technology shifts at full throttle, our workspaces can get down right cluttered with new and out-dated components.
Farm Journal associate field agronomist Missy Bauer points to the example of a farmer using six monitors and five GPS receivers to operate his yield monitor, VRT population, Auto-steer on the planter, VRT nitrogen, sprayer auto-swath, and planter auto-swath.
"I and the other consultants I know run into this on a regular basis. If farmers will pay attention to the tools already in hand, he/she can save time, money and frustration,” Bauer says.
There's no one path to adopting precision technology. However, there's an old Yogi Berra saying that applies here: "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” Bauer says the best way to get the productivity and efficiency results is to plan ahead.
"Sit down and try to develop a technology timeline for your farm,” Bauer advises. "The first thing many farmers stumble on is they fail to come up with a plan for today and the future.”

Bauer suggests taking an inventory of the equipment already in your technology tool box. Then, ask yourself where you want to be in terms of technology advancement in one year, three years and five years.
"If you are looking to adopt variable-rate technology three years from now, 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.
A technology timeline helps avoid hefty one-time investments by timing purchases and phasing in upgrades step by step.
Bauer also likes to see farmers bring in reinforcements and support personnel to avoid becoming overwhelmed as you integrate new concepts.
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

You can e-mail Margy Fischer at

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