Farm Progress

Crop Tech Update: Precision tech upgrades measuring and irrigation. Heed manure topdressing warning. Check out bean biostimulant.

March 29, 2017

2 Min Read
MEASURE IT, TECHIE STYLE: Replace your measuring tape, pen and notebook with this.Noble Foundation

How big is that pasture or check plot? How many feet of tile will you need? Will that new shed fit where you want it? How many square feet do you want to cover with concrete?

Leave your tape measure in the toolbox and pick up your Smartphone. All of these questions and more can be answered with the free GeoMeasure app for iPhones and a 3.0 version for Android smartphones. Check it out at

Knowing the area of a pasture or field is very useful information, especially when calculating sprayer application rates or determining stocking rate, says Austin Miles, cattle and technology researcher for Noble Foundation. GeoMeasure allows you to assess that area in a multitude of units, including square feet and acres, and even track elevation change.

One way to measure is to drop markers on a map on your device's screen. Or you can measure it by GPS — letting the device track your movement as you walk the perimeter. The latter is more precise, notes Miles.

Once done, this app displays your answer. You can save the measurements as a photo on your phone; or share them via email, text message or through social media.

While there’s no charge to download or use the app, you’ll see advertisements around the border of your screen and occasional pop-up ads. Or opt for an ad-free version for $2.99.

A topdressing no-no

American Agriculturist has extensively reported on the benefits of manure as a crop sidedressing. But there’s a flipside to this practice.

Do not top-dress manure on winter forage crops — rye or triticale — warns Tom Kilcer, certified crop adviser for Advanced Ag Systems of Kinderhook, N.Y. Bacterial contamination will ruin the silage.

New bean biostimulant on the block

Move over biologicals, there’s a new plant nutrient enhancer in the country — a class tagged as a biostimulant. Fortalis, developed by Plant Impact, is based on a synthetic chemical that helps mobilize calcium in soybean plant tissue.

Part of the formulation includes foliar calcium and zinc, notes Keith Vodrazka, Plant Impact’s strategic marketing manager. In more than 200 U.S. trials, Fortalis boosted soybean yields an average of 4.8 bushels per acre when applied with a fungicide at growth stage R1 to R3. The aim is to help the plant retain more pods, which adds to yield. To check it out, visit

Irrigation tech shifting to VRI

Even irrigation is quickly adapting variable-rate technology to optimize water application via center-pivot systems. Latest confirmation of that comes with Valley Irrigation’s deal with Trimble to be the exclusive distributor of Trimble’s Irrigate-IQ precision software system.

The collaboration advances GPS-guided, individual nozzle irrigation. Availability via Valley dealerships is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017.

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