Precision farming increases yields, reduces waste, and protects the environment.
Precision farming is concerned with managing variability in crops on an intra-field level. This intra-field management has been made possible by advanced technologies such as GPS and touchscreen monitors. Our machinery is powered by advanced GPS systems, which allow the machines to automatically drive themselves across the field within 1 inch of accuracy.
This precise accuracy reduces skipped and overlapped areas, while enabling the covering of a field in the shortest possible time. The reduction of overlapped areas is critical because this means we can apply inputs such as fertilizer with less than 1% of waste. In turn, less wasted fertilizer on our fields helps the surrounding natural environment remain healthy.
Touchscreen monitors are used to control and monitor our equipment. The machines are equipped with meters that continuously measure the current moisture levels and yields of the grain, which are shown on the monitor in real-time. This enables us to break down our fields into small pieces and micromanage them on a smaller per-acre basis.
Because of this technology, we use variable rate applications, which means that we apply different amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to different parts of the field in order to efficiently match each part of the field's needs. When a sprayer is turning, a decreased rate is applied to the inside as less ground is being covered on the inside of the turn. The sprayers are equipped with automatic boom shut-offs, which will turns boom sections on or off depending on the GPS location of the sprayer. This results in less chemicals used, which reduces expenses and helps the environment.
This technology also enables the use of variable rate planters, which apply different amounts of seed depending on the specific needs of a particular field section. Variable rate seeding helps reduce wasted seed inputs and helps increase yields.
Field variability is measured using Trimble's GreenSeeker crop sensing system, which uses infrared light to instantly measure and quantify variability in real time. After the measurement, a targeted prescription plan is created to treat the variability of the crop.
The monitors and GPS also record accurate field maps and yield maps in order to help us make future farm management decisions. Using Case-IH's AFS Connect, the monitors automatically synchronize with the cloud, giving us instant access to yield data maps and engine diagnostics. Finally, the accuracy of GPS means that we can return to a precise location in the field to collect soil samples.