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Hi-Tech Farming: An affordable wind sensor captures real-time data.

Tom J. Bechman, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

February 1, 2023

3 Min Read
hand holding WatchDog portable wind sensor
NO MORE GUESSING: You won’t be raising a finger in the air to guess wind speed and direction if you have the WatchDog portable wind sensor, available now. Tom J. Bechman

Have you ever wet your finger and stuck it in the air to guess wind speed and direction? Or are you high-tech? Do you rely on an app that tells you the wind speed, although it doesn’t measure it at your exact location? That’s probably better than guessing, but it may not hold up if a lawsuit comes down to wind speed and direction on the day you sprayed a field six months earlier.

Mike Thurow, president and CEO of Spectrum Technologies, Aurora, Ill., recently introduced the WatchDog portable wind sensor, capable of accurately measuring wind speed and direction. It’s designed so you can mount it on your sprayer at boom height to capture conditions right where spray was applied, or hold it by hand to check wind conditions. The ultrasonic sensor sends wind speed and direction to any smartphone via Bluetooth. Once saved and emailed, it becomes part of your permanent pesticide records, Thurow says.

At press time, lead time from order to delivery was three weeks. Price is around $350. Visit

Agriculture in space

The EOS SAT-1, the first imaging satellite build by Dragonfly Aerospace and the first entry for what will be the world’s first ag-focused satellite constellation, successfully entered orbit on Jan. 3 after being launched from Cape Canaveral by SpaceX. Dragonfly Aerospace is a company in South Africa. Spokespersons say the goal is to launch six more satellites by 2025.

The customer is EOS Data Analytics, which hopes to use information gathered by the satellite to provide data for agriculture and forestry. The emphasis is on providing images that translate into monitoring progress on developing efficient, sustainable practices. Learn about the satellite at

New names in crop protection

Here are new products that could play a role in your crop production enterprise:

Luna Flex. From Bayer, this fungicide will help control diseases on 225 crops in 35 Eastern states in the U.S. Aimed at fruit and vegetable crops, it contains fluopyram and difenoconazole. One major market will be prevention of diseases in apples. See

Ace 3.8L ST. This seed treatment just registered by U.S. EPA contains ipconazole, the same active ingredient in Rancona 3.8 FS. Ace 3.8L ST will be produced and marketed by Albaugh LLC, Ankeny, Iowa. It can be used on multiple crops, including corn, soybeans and cereals. See

Dicamba HD 5 and Dicamba DMA Salt 5. Albaugh LLC also introduces these two products recently registered by U.S. EPA. Dicamba HD 5 is a low-volatility, 5-pound-per-gallon formulation of dicamba DGA. Dicamba DMA Salt 5 is a 5-pound-per-gallon formulation of dicamba DMA salt. Both are concentrated, water-soluble herbicides. They are not approved for application to dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton varieties at this time.

Fighting mycotoxins

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first mycotoxin-degrading ingredient to help livestock producers fight negative effects of mycotoxins in poultry and swine feed. The product, FUMzyme, contains fumonisin esterase, a purified enzyme that can irreversibly degrade the fumonisin mycotoxin into metabolites that aren’t toxic to animals. It’s produced by DSM Animal Nutrition and Health.

Biofix Plus with FUMzyme and Biofix Select with FUMzyme are now available for swine and poultry. Visit

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman is editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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