A Focus on Precision Farming

In my new role, I’m excited to explore how precision farming impacts yield. On both our planter and in our combine, we’re able to track each seed almost to the seed level — and people don't think of it that way, but that'’s the way we'’re looking at it. There’s so much potential to grow smarter by getting the exact right seed for your fields and nurturing it in the right way so that it reaches its full potential.

For instance, if a seed can only produce 260 bushels, we don’t need to push it to produce more than that. Instead of throwing on too many applications and wasting money, let’s be smarter and more precise with our practices. Let'’s see if we can reduce the inputs on that seed and keep it at 260 bushels. We want to be able to refine our management and determine what the seed really wants — and give the seed exactly that. If the seed starts limiting our ability or opportunities, then sure, we need to find different seed; but If the seed really can produce 350 bushel on its own, then why are we putting so many inputs into the ground? What I want to know is how to make the most effective, efficient decisions.

To get to the root of these questions, we have to start with the seed. We need to study where, how and when it likes to grow. We also need to understand the agronomics behind it — the biologicals, seed treatments, fungicides, insecticides and pesticides. We need to talk about applying in furrow or over the top. We need to explore how to protect the seed in different environments, and study how the seed responds to chemicals throughout the growing season. These are the things I’m most excited for, and this is what we’re tackling with the research on our farm.