Precision Ag's Hidden Advantage: Better Work-Life Balance

March 22, 2017 12:00 PM

Precision ag technology isn’t just helpful because of the data it provides on soil and weather. It also cuts back on the time you spend driving from the farm office to the field, freeing up time to spend with family or on operation management, says Trevor Sherman, a producer in Saskatchewan, Canada.

“If I’m going to drive 15 to 20 miles to check how much rain I got at a certain field, in that window of time I could have had breakfast with my kids,” explains Sherman, who is entering his seventh year using the Farmers Edge platform, which aims to provide field-centric data for nitrogen management, crop growth-stage monitoring and more. “How do you put an ROI on that? It’s the little things like that that make not just my farm better [but] my family life better, as well.”

That ability to quickly help farmers interpret field data for agronomic decisions has helped Farmers Edge expand into the U.S. since its inception in 2005, adds Mike DiPaola, global head of sales and operations at the technology company.

“The industry has been focused on getting the data scientists, getting the people. It’s like trying to build a house by hiring hundreds of contractors,” says DiPaola, who along with Sherman visits with “Top Producer Podcast” host Pam Fretwell in an episode airing the week of March 22, 2017. “If you don’t have the lumber, which is the data, you can’t build the house. Farmers Edge started in data-sparse regions, so we understand how important it is to have field-centric, the right data. We start there. But we also understand it’s extremely important that it’s easy to access and that it’s focused on your farm.”

One advantage Sherman says he’s experienced with Farmers Edge is the ability to monitor rainfall. On average for the U.S. farms it serves, DiPaola explains, Farmers Edge has a weather station every 1,800 acres. “Most networks do one for every 100,000 acres,” he says.

That enables Sherman to assess rainfall disparities down to the individual field.

“I wouldn’t have known that five years ago other than getting in my truck and driving, checking all the rain gauges,” Sherman says. “All of a sudden, it’s noon. I have to start making decisions. I can have those decisions made literally from my bed if that’s what I want.”

Learn more about Farmers Edge in the latest episode of the “Top Producer Podcast” on 

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