Faces of Precision Farming
Precision farming has made farms more efficient, competitive, and environmentally friendly. Meet some of the farmer who use precision farming technology every day, and inventors that made it possible.
Roy Bardole, a third-generation famer growing corn and soybeans in Rippey, Iowa, was an early adopter of precision farming. GPS equipment, crop yield monitors, and other devices turned his combine cab into an information control center. Bardole’s first precision farming purchase was auto-steer for his tractor and combine. The GPS-enabled technology reduced fatigue and kept rows straighter. His combine has a yield monitor and a GPS receiver so that he can record exactly which portion of the field is most productive.
Wheat farmer Robert Blair of Kendrick, Idaho uses drones, GPS equipment, crop yield monitors, and other devices to create a new way of seeing and managing his fields. Using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone), Blair keeps better tabs on changing conditions throughout his farm. From a drone, Blair can take GPS-indexed near-infrared photos of plants in his fields. Using these colorful images, he can determine what areas need more nitrogen fertilizer—allowing Blair to save money and avoid environmentally harmful over-fertilization.
Zach and Anna Hunnicutt
Zach and Anna Hunnicutt, fifth generation farmers, rely on center pivot irrigation systems to grow popcorn, soybeans, and wheat in their fields in Giltner, Nebraska. Precision farming–the variable rate application of seed, water, fertilizer, and pesticides–help the Hunicutts make their farming operations efficient and environmentally strong. Using soil moisture sensors and remotely actuated computerized sprinkler controls, their irrigation system conserves the amount of water needed to turn the dry Nebraska Great Plains into productive farm fields.
The Peterson Family
Siblings Greg, Nathan, Kendal, and Laura Peterson work on a fifth-generation farm near Assaria, Kanas and run a YouTube channel featuring parody videos in which they sing about their work as farmers to the tune of pop hits. “There are many misconceptions about modern day farmers and we feel it is our calling to help correct some of those misconceptions,” the siblings explain on their website.