Three precision technology tips to improve strip-till
2. Picking A Smart Display
When picking a display module, Cannon says a key component is functionality, and there are different tiers available.
A virtual-terminal display is essentially a “TV screen” showing the operator implement performance and allowing manual rate control. Cannon recommends investing in “smart” displays with task controller support, because they offer advanced integration of equipment through ISOBUS connections, and also allow strip-tillers more automated options to manage seed and fertilizer inputs.
“With strip-till, a big goal is to be more efficient with fertilizer application. To to run a prescription for the field, you’ll need to have task-controller support for it to work,” Cannon says. “With the task controller, it’s a two-way conversation and you can hopefully connect a red display to a green planter.”
Even if a strip-tiller isn’t using the task-controller function today, Cannon says, within 5 years, all displays will likely be integrated with ISOBUS capabilities.
Cannon partnered with a fellow farmer to buy a new 16-row Kinze 4900 planter for this spring with ISOBUS capabilities to run auto-swath, and variable-rate seeding through the Ag Leader Integra display in his Case IH tractor.
As farming operations become more prescriptive and targeted to match seed populations with soil types, or fertilizer with yield goals, Cannon says he wants to position himself to take advantage of those opportunities, without having to spend money continuously adapting technology.
“If I’d had an older display, or one that didn’t have task-controller support, that would have wreaked havoc on my whole strip-till system,” he says. “I would have had to answer an expensive set of questions.”
3. Making Use Of Precision Data
Another critical component of advancing a strip-till system, Cannon says, is using precision data to make better on-farm decisions.
He’s been collecting yield data for nearly a decade and recently began using it to create management zones to evaluate trends in fields and compare yield differentials.
“What I’ve learned so far is that the causes for those 30- or 40-bushel-per-acre yield differentials are either water drainage issues, or the pH levels are way off on rented land where nutrient levels had been depleted over time,” he says. “I bought a tile plow 2 years ago for pattern tiling and I estimate it will take 2 to 3 years to pay for itself because those fields will show yield improvements due to better water infiltration.”
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