From the yield monitor to auto-steer, farmers have different ideas on what part of precision farming helps their operation the most. But the four who served on a panel at the Raven Industries Summit recently all agreed that precision farming was living up to the hype. They just didn't agree on why.
"For us, it's the yield monitor," says Keith Alverson, who farms with his family north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. "When we got that yield monitor and it started showing us what yields were doing in each field, it was like someone turned the lights on!"
John Cruise, Wesley, Iowa, middle generation in a three-generation farm, says for them it has been the auto-steering feature. "We only had a four and a half-day window to plant this spring," he relates. "With auto-steer we can run all night if we want to, and we did some nights. We ran 24 hours a day in two shifts. We have one 12-row planter, so it was important to keep it moving. Before we had auto-steering, we would quit at dark because it was too hard to see the planter marks."
Although Jerome Tschetter, also a South Dakota farmer, says his planting season wasn't that far off normal this year, he also believes the extra capability he gets from his planter through precision farming is a big plus.
Matt Loewe manages a large farm in the South Dakota State University system. He believes the biggest advancement in precision farming is the smartphone, no matter which kind you have. He actually termed his a 'dumb' smartphone, meaning it doesn't have to be the latest and greatest. What it has to do is give him connectivity to the works when he is in the tractor cab, including to his email. He thinks that has changed how people do business.