By: Justin Taylor, Sales Manager and Cole Condra, Customer Success Manager
Are you utilizing all the fancy bells and whistles on your precision farm equipment, or are they collecting dust?
That shiny new planter or combine you recently bought may look nice, but if you’re not using it to its full potential, you could be losing money and missing out on crucial data collection.
Read on to find out why it matters for the success of your farm to be able to get the most out of your equipment.
Challenges to using precision ag equipment
If you’re struggling to use the precision ag equipment on your farms, it’s likely because you don’t quite know how to use it.
The most common challenge is to fully grasp how the new technology works when you’re buying new equipment and what would work best for your individual needs. You should understand the different options available for your equipment and how to use them to the fullest potential.
For example, you may be looking to purchase a new planter and should consider what type of downforce will work best on your farm.
If most of the soil conditions in your fields are similar, you could purchase a planter with spring-operated downforce. However, if you have a large number of acres with different soil characteristics, you’ll likely need pneumatic air controlled or hydraulic downforce to eliminate manual adjustments.
Benefits of using precision ag equipment
You can reap several benefits when you’re able to use your equipment to its fullest potential.
Newly developed technologies will not only assist you during the current crop season but also provide quality agronomic data for future seasons.
When you use a planting prescription and record the varieties planted, you can then use this data in the combine to create harvest maps showing how certain varieties performed.
You can also ensure their data is correct. For example, combine yield monitors have different unlocks, such as Autoswath. When you’re not picking a full header width, the monitor knows not to account for missing rows.
As a result, those missing rows aren’t recorded as yielding poorly. So, the yield for that field will be more accurate, and your overall yield at the end of harvest season will be more accurate.
Changing with the times
Some farmers operate their farms with the mentality that if a particular way of doing things worked for their fathers and grandfathers, it’s good enough for them.
However, all farmers could benefit more if they’d be open to learning about new technologies and finding a way to implement them for their specific needs.
By utilizing technology to its full potential, you can alleviate some personal stress and improve operations. By minimizing input costs and maximizing input efficiency, you’ll increase profitability on every acre.
Tips for maximizing your equipment
Here’s how to get the most out of your precision ag equipment:
1. When buying technology for your farm, think about where you want to be in 5 years.
Technology on the farm is effective, but also expensive. To ensure you don’t have to purchase a new system when it’s time to upgrade, start with the right equipment so you can build upon it in 3 to 5 years.
2. To get the most value out of technology, think about other factors that could play a role in its performance.
For example, if you bought electric drives for a planter, but are still using meters that struggle to singulate, the technology isn’t being used to its full potential. The only thing you gain is row shutoffs and the ability to plant at variable rates.
3. Find a dealer that supports you.
It’s incredibly frustrating to spend money on technology and then not know who to turn to or where to go for help when an issue arises. When this occurs, farmers often shut the problem equipment down and proceed without it, which leads to a loss of trust in the equipment and makes it harder to justify the financial expense.
4. If you’ve never used precision ag equipment before, remember the cheapest option is not always the best route for your long term goals.
The least expensive option on the market is often very limited on what it can do and how you can add to it. Don’t lock yourself out of further advancements by purchasing the cheapest monitors and equipment.
Again, think ahead, so you don’t regret your purchase later down the road. Make a solid investment so you have the equipment you can trust and don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t work the way you want.
If you’re not getting every bit of potential out of your farming equipment, you’re missing out on quality data, the ability to make informed decisions, and financial benefits.
You spend too much on your farm’s machinery not to get the maximum return on investment for the technology you pay for.
If you could use some help dusting off all those bells and whistles that aren’t being utilized, contact your local ag retailer or trusted advisor to collaborate on how to get the most out of your precision ag equipment.