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Hi-Tech Farming: Will precision technology propel us into the future, or into the garbage bin?

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

January 31, 2019

3 Min Read
white drone flying over soybeans
NO LIMITS: There appears to be no limits to what engineers and software gurus can do with information collected with a drone.

Is there such a thing as too much technology?

Taranis doesn’t think so. This ag tech company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, claims to have just introduced the first platform that offers farmers and agronomists a scalable answer to plot-management strategy. The company’s latest innovation illustrates how a crop emerges over time.

Taranis flies a drone or aircraft over a field, and then uses algorithms in what spokespeople call a “deep learning engine” to calculate plant spacing, density and plant characteristics of each row.

Here’s the kicker. A third analysis creates a clear “visualization” of emergence in the form of a heat map. These heat maps and easy-to-read reports should help farmers make timely management decisions, spokespeople say.

Precision in the garbage bin — literally
Is all new technology taking us upward? A German startup company thinks even garbage can be part of the IoT, or internet of things. Two engineers formed Binando and placed sensor modules inside garbage bins. When the bin reaches a full level, a request for collection is triggered. Software and algorithms help plan the garbage truck driver’s route. To make the system work via the internet, Binando turned to Telenor Connexion for SIM cards for sensors.

I literally pulled the press release about this foray into the garbage world from the technological trash bin — my deleted files. If you want to make a tongue-in-cheek case for technology going off the cliff, start here!

3 game-changing technologies
The reality is that precision technology marches forward, and agriculture becomes more efficient. Check out three new technologies that could become game-changers:

SmartDepth. Precision Planting introduces the ability to change seeding depth on the go. Do it manually, or couple it with the company’s SmartFirmers so your planter controller can do it automatically. SmartDepth will be tested in select fields this year.

FurrowForce. Also in testing this year is Precision Planting’s FurrowForce, the first breakthrough in closing wheel technology in decades. It includes two pairs of closing wheels per row, plus a load sensor on each row that can automatically adjust downforce.

GrainViz. GSI will unveil GrainViz for installation in steel grain bins yet this year. Using imaging technology developed by a separate company and similar to technology used in medicine, this technology develops a moisture map for any steel bin accurate down to the bushel. That allows it to control aeration plus do many other positive things for grain management.

Back on Earth
Helm Agro US launches Zone Elite herbicide for soybeans. Zone Elite joins other generic herbicides in the Zone family. Zone Elite is a preemergence herbicide for broad-spectrum weed control. It can be applied from 30-plus days before planting to three days after planting. Sold in an oil dispersion formulation, Zone Elite contains sulfentrazone from Group 14 and metolachlor from Group 15.

Microbe testing
Sentinel Biologics releases EcoBiome soil testing technology. Spokespeople say it can identify and categorize 100% of microbes in a soil sample. They also note it can provide colony counts of microbes which solubilize locked-up nutrients and minerals in the soil. The EcoBiome Innovation Center offers customized microbial products if tests indicate you need to restore soil ecology back to optimal levels. Learn more at

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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