By: Katie Harness
In today’s world Precision Farming is something that everyone in the Agriculture Industry has to think about, whether they want to or not. It is so exciting to think about how our industry will use all the advances in the technology world. I know that the possibilities are endless, so when I was asked to start a Precision Ag program for Frontier Ag I couldn’t wait to put all my ideas together.
Here in Western Kansas I have found that creating management zones using the Veris Machine/ EM Sled gives us much more useful information than grid sampling a field. I wanted to share with you guys what my plans are for this program. The platform I am going with will involve running the Veris Machine across acres, which will give us Soil EC (electrical conductivity). Essentially Soil EC tells us the soil texture along with other critical information such as Organic Matter, PH, Etc. I will use the map created by the Veris machine and layer it with years of complied satellite imagery and an elevation map in order to create management zones. Once I have the management zones created, then I will “grid” the field and sample within the different zones, typically a field will have 3-6 zones. Once we understand where our nutrient levels are in each zone, we can create fertility and seeding prescriptions.
My goal for this program is to understand that in every field there are high production, average production, and low production areas and we have to manage those areas for what they will produce. In this economy, money is scarce and getting the most out of every dollar is crucial. Think about this. The “bad” areas in a field are most likely loaded with fertility, because the crop did not pull what was applied. The highly productive areas are drained because they used every pound of fertility available to produce the best crop possible. There are a lot of resources being wasted if you’re putting a flat rate of seed and fertilizer on every field. That being said, we can create a prescription that backs off fertilizers in the low production zones and put more fertilizer in the high production zones, because we know that the crop will use it. The same goes for seeding prescriptions. By placing inputs where they will be most effective, money will be saved. Every bag of seed or pound of fertilizer saved, matters.
Precision Ag is a huge tool that Frontier Ag Inc is now utilizing. We are in the early stages of creating a program right now. I have talked with numerous precision companies to see what they can offer. I am excited to see my ideas come to life by creating a well-rounded Precision Ag program that works for our entire company. I am very open to any ideas you may have for this project and I would love to hear what people are thinking!