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Precision ag has made big gains in 25 years

Back in 1995, only a few farmers were adopting precision ag, but the value was quickly seen.

Jacky Goerzen

September 14, 2020

2 Min Read
Precision ag article from 1995
RAPID GROWTH: Deciding to adopt the earliest tools of precision ag — satellite maps, GPS-guided steering system and yield monitors — was cutting edge back in the fall of 1995. The obvious value of those tools, however, has led to rapid adoption and more and more advanced technology becoming available. P.J. Griekspoor

In today’s world, almost every farm utilizes some level of precision agriculture. But 25 years ago, the idea of collecting data through satellite mapping was a new concept and yield monitors were a new tool.

Farmers were just beginning to consider the option of applying different rates of seed, fertilizer or crop protection products based on what those maps told them about the fertility of the soil or the location of specific problems within a field.

Early adopters of the technology quickly learned that the savings they could generate helped offset the cost of the equipment and that the data they gathered had immense value for decision making.

75 years ago

Back in October of 1945, farm families were celebrating the end of World War II and making preparations for the coming winter. The preparations including getting ready for cold and flu season, including homemade remedies for maladies such as cough.

A popular recipe for cough syrup suggested stirring two cups of granulated sugar into one cup of water until it was melted, then pouring it into a pint jar and adding 2.5 of a substance called “Pinex” available from a druggist.

According to the supplier of the recipe this makes a pleasant tasting and effective treatment to soothe irritated throats and stop coughs. Pinex, it promised, “is a special compound of proven ingredients in concentrated form that is a “most soothing agent.”

55 years ago

Seven Sedgwick County peach orchard owners pooled their efforts and formed an association to market about half of their crop to retail outlets. The growers continued to market from their own farms with roadside stands and U-pick events but were able to find new markets for excess production through their association.

The charter members of the Sedgwick County Peach Growers Association were Gerald Blood, Wayne Cain, R. I. Hancock, Leo Johnson, Howard Mahoney, Delos Nelson and George Nicholson. Combined they had 700 acres planted to 20 varieties of peaches.

40 years ago

Cattle producers were making a concerted effort back in October of 1980 to breed a new type of food animal, the beefalo.

One breeder, Leo Scripsick of Sharon, said the ideal beefalo was a mix of 3/8 American bison and 5/8 commercial bovine of any breed. The advantage was animals that have hybrid vigor, calve easily, handle both heat and cold well, produce a pelt rather than a hide with three times as many hairs per square inch, perspire through their skin, finish on high roughage ration and produce meat that is high in protein and low in fat.

Goerzen is executive director of Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita.

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