While agriculture may have a more than 10,000-year history, precision agriculture practices are less than a quarter century old. In fact, the Smithsonian Institute traces back its start to 1994 when Terry Pickett, a John Deere engineer, convinced executives they should invest in GPS-based precision agriculture research. Since then, farmers have continued to embrace precision agriculture practices, which has encouraged manufacturers like John Deere to innovate solutions.
Dick Muhlbeier, RDO Equipment Co,. Product Specialist Manager, in Pasco, Washington, explained that precision
ag has evolved to use a variety of hardware and software tools so farmers can see information about their operation in real-time. At each step of production, farmers use data to make decisions about work plans, increasing efficiency to make an impact
on the bottom line.
RDO Agronomist, Erin Hightower, said with precision ag software like JDLink, growers can use data to provide a real-time snapshot of the growing season, as well as make long-term decisions. For example, analyzing yield alongside other factors can help growers identify where they might be able to reduce their use of fertilizer, herbicide or seed. Further, analyzing key data sets will help growers get the most out of their labor and resources by identifying the best practices around field prep, planting and spray.
JD Link can also help farmers find cost savings in their equipment use. Erin recommends farmers track their data, including idle time reports, that provide insights, such as how to cut fuel costs.
While Erin is an advocate for the use of data, she also knows the specific data a farmer monitors depends on their operation.
“Every farm has its own emphasis, so that's where RDO Equipment Co. really comes in handy,” Erin said. “We're able to figure out what their interests are and really work to build a program that works for them.”
Because of continued challenges in the market, such as rising fuel or fertilizer costs, farm management software can help a farmer ensure they are doing the right thing at the right time. Erin says RDO team members can help set up equipment software and train tractor operators so data can be synthesized at a later date to make decisions for the future.
“We’re here to help fine-tune their precision ag practices, figure out how to make it work for the long term, and give them the tools to do it themselves,” Erin said.
Watch this video to discover how RDO team members help growers get the most out of their operation through precision ag.