Precision Ag Blog

Oct 20
Getting Started in Precision Agriculture

With the increasing interest and adoption of precision ag (PA) technologies, “How do I get started in precision agriculture?” is one of the most often asked questions from producers. Consider the following guidelines when adopting PA technology:

1) Have a clear objective in mind with adopting either PA technology and/or practices. Also consider future plans and whether the equipment can be upgraded to perform additional applications or work with additional equipment.

2) Identify the training, support and service tools that are available for your product. Service for your PA equipment is one of the most important things to consider when making your purchase.

3) Buy products that are compatible with multiple operations.

4) Consider whether the technology easy to move between farm equipment and if there will be additional harnesses, cables or equipment needed.

5) Is the technology compatible with your current and/or future equipment?

6) Will you have the ability to record and easily transfer data?

7) Keep all data even if you are not currently utilizing it in your farm management program. Data collected now can often be used in the future.

8) Understand the learning and installation time requirement of PA systems and determine a timeline for implementation.

9) Determine the level of GPS accuracy and repeatability required for your operation. Different levels of GPS correction are more appropriately suited to specific farming practices.

Overall there is no right or wrong approach to PA technology. Choose the technology/equipment that works best for your operation and consider taking it slow and in steps. On-farm studies to evaluate PA practices can be helpful in determining what will provide the best return for your operation. Finally, keep in mind that it can take time to fully start to experience savings or increased profit from precision agriculture. For more detailed information on this topic, see the ACES Timely Information Sheet, Considerations for Adopting and Implementing Precision Agriculture Technologies or visit www.AlabamaPrecisionAgOnline.com.

 

Written by Amy Winstead, Regional Extension Agent for Precision Agriculture, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

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