At one time when you heard someone talk about precision ag it was about minimizing overlap of the sprayer and driving the planter straight. After a winter of farm shows and meetings I have come to the conclusion in certain regions that precision ag is evolving into being about real planting precision.
In the corn and soybean areas of the US and Canada we are no longer just planting seed into the seed trench with our fingers crossed that we avoided the W bottom. With advances from companies like John Deere, Precision Planting, Case IH, and Kinze, precision agriculture is now about focusing on gaining yield by placing the seed exactly where yoou want it. The exact depth, exact spacing at the exact population.
When I say place the seed where you want I mean precisely where you want it with 100% accuracy. Thats right 100% seed placement accuracy.
While attending the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville Kentucky this year I realized very quickly that the industry and farmers are trying to gain the next ten bushels of corn yield by maximizing the effectiveness of the planter and how the seed is placed in the soil. Many people expressed the opinion that seed genetics have done their part so now it is the planter’s turn to help out with yield bump. I discussed my observation with a number of different manufacturers, seed companies and farmers at the show and almost everyone agreed with my thoughts at this time.
It is great to see precision agriculture finally focusing on the planter to try and raise yields. It is hard to disagree with the concept that good agronomy begins with proper seed placement and cover up. Welcome to precision agriculture 2.0. Finally.