More new farm technologies

Several hundred people took in the Ag PhD New Technologies Clinic in Baltic SD last week – our parents included.  Karen and I asked for their top three take-aways.  Although they tried really hard, they only narrowed it down to four!  In no specific order, here are the four things that stood out for our parents:

1.       Drones – uses and accuracy

Drones could be used to help agronomy through use with satellite imagery.  However, drones could also be deployed for other tasks like delivering parts, or even meals, to the field.  (I would like to think that my presence is also a nice touch when I bring meals to the field, but I guess time will tell!  If the drone makes the meal too, then I'm sold!)

2.       Sensor technology – in ground moisture reading/irrigation water quality

Interestingly, both Marcel and our parents identified sensor technology as a place for major opportunity for advancements.  Each sighted different examples, and each acknowledging that this is the tip of the iceberg of examples.  SmartFirmer  Camso Smart Track

3.       Autonomous technology

Autonomous technology could have a huge impact on semi-trailers, but also on in-field applications for tractors.  Although the technology is not perfect, yet, it will soon outperform humans and is a technology that is set up to be scalable.

4.       Soil testing/tissue testing

Technology will only help farmers advance the use of soil and tissue testing, as the tests can be more timely and results more able to help farmers adapt what they are doing in the now.  This would allow farmers to make growing-season decisions and adaptations, rather than waiting until harvest data is collected to make predictions and decisions for the next growing season.


When talking to Marcel and our parents and reading the booklet from the clinic, there were a few things that stood out:

  • The focus is moving from the general to the specific (field level to plant level; from all growers to specific growers).  Technology will be able to help us move from average to individual. 
  • Farmers are innovators and there is an excitement in the air when we think about ways to continue to make advances in agriculture.
  • Continuing to learn and grow in one area of our lives helps us to be more open to learning and growing in other areas too!