Wide Variety of NAICC Topics
• U.S. immigration reform is coming.
• U.S. crop insurance will come under focus and the question is if means testing is ahead.
• Rise of middle classes in developing countries will bolster world agriculture in the long run.
PRECISION DATA ANALYSIS
The main program for crop consultants started with pre-meeting educational sessions with a focus on precision. During these small breakout workshops, software companies provided training on use of their products. The half-day breakout sessions allowed crop consultants to see how these tools could be of value to them and their clients. Company representatives of Ag Renaissance, Precision Partners, Ag Leader and CropMetrics lead discussions in separate meeting rooms.
The precision emphasis continued during the first official day of meetings with John McGuire, Simplified Technology Services, Montpelier, Ohio, explaining “Yield Data Analysis.” Kelly Robertson, Precision Crop Services, Benton, Ill., made a presentation about “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Precision Agriculture.”
“If farmers don’t collect good information then we all go down,” said McGuire in talking about how crop consultants must rely on assistance from clients to do what is necessary to implement precision agriculture on their farm. And he suggested high rewards are possible from data analysis which has been termed“ data: the next cash crop.”
The big picture opportunities for working with clients are variable rate nitrogen application and variable rate seeding. Nothing can replace certain data—information on hybrids and good base maps of soil types—are important.
McGuire suggested that farmers are terrible in calibrating combine yield monitors. Without consistent yield monitor data, optional data sets are needed and a consultant needs to be a little more creative to establish management patterns, including hydrology mapping, contour mapping, wetness indexing and zone soil testing.
Robertson continued with his emphasis on gathering the best data possible from a variety of sources. As he said, “bad data in, bad decisions out.” The role of crop consultants continues to lean more and more toward being precision service providers for data analysis and recommendations based on the data.
Although accuracy of data is key, the tools for in-field accuracy used by farmers can be oversold. “Accuracy is addictive. I love to drive within a half-inch in accuracy in every pass, but do I need RTK on every field? No,” he said. “We sell farmers the highest correction that is out there and then we don’t tell them things like collect your elevation data.”