Oftentimes when people think of precision farming or precision agriculture they think of it being for large-scale row crop farms, but precision farming is beneficial to farms of all types and scales. Precision ag includes a wide variety of systems designed to make farming easier, more precise, and efficient. Precision farming is often referred to as the future of farming and that can be a bit daunting if you don’t know what precision farming is. Because there are so many different types of precision farming equipment, it can be difficult to understand, so we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions.
What does precision farming mean?
Precision farming is using technology to monitor and determine the inputs needed to produce at a higher level. In basic terms, it is looking at farming in precise increments. So instead of looking at a field as a whole, it breaks it down into smaller units.
How does precision farming work?
The way precision farming/agriculture works is based on the type of operation you are running. Precision farming for row-croppers looks different than it does for hay farmers and cattle farmers. Systems for implementing precision ag for land farming include (but are not limited to): soil sampling machines, mapping systems, GPS guidance systems such as AutoTracTM, and variable rate application systems.
What is the goal of precision agriculture?
The goal of precision agriculture is to optimize management of fields to increase profitability and efficiency. Optimizing these processes helps farmers know exactly what specific areas of their fields are needing and allows them to monitor the health of their crops. This ensures farmers and ranchers are not wasting inputs (seed/fertilizer/pesticides) that aren’t needed.
How can hay farmers benefit from precision ag?
Hay farmers can benefit from precision ag much the same way row-croppers do. Precision ag can take the already excellent work of hay farmers and make it even more efficient and profitable. By using soil sampling, field mapping, and GPS guidance systems like John Deere’s AutoTracTM, hay farmers can greatly improve their crop yield.
How can cattle farmers benefit from precision farming?
Cattle farming is probably one of the last operations you would think of precision farming being implemented. Cattle farmers can use precision farming systems such as AutoTracTM on their tractors for rotary cutting their fields. When clearing large fields, having this technology alleviates a lot of stress and helps reduce overlapping on areas of the field that have already been cut.
Is precision farming expensive?
When looking at precision farming as a whole, the benefits far outweigh the cost. The cost of the initial implementation of precision farming systems may seem like a lot but when compared to the benefits, the cost seems a lot smaller.
Some of the benefits include:
Improvement in land value
Less wasted products (ie: seeds, fertilizer, fuel)
More control over performance
More KNOWLEDGE about your operation
Will precision farming get rid of the need for farmers?
No. A farm without a farmer is merely a plot of land. Precision farming is designed to help farmers have greater product yield and less stress. A farm is only as great as the farmer behind it.
Participating in precision farming doesn’t mean you need to fully automate your operation. You can implement just the parts that will be most beneficial for you and your operation. Each farm is different which means the needs from farm to farm vary drastically. One thing holds true, implementing even the simplest form of precision farming will be beneficial.
To learn how your operation can benefit from precision farming or to set up an appointment to equip your tractor with an AutoTracTM system, contact your local Greenway Equipment dealership and our specialists will be happy to assist you.