Remember when a cell phone was only used for making calls? Now look what you can do with it—live video chat with your relatives, order pizza by texting a pizza emoji. You can even trade grain with that electronic Swiss Army Knife. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the original cell phone was great, but the modern day phone is infinitely more useful.
Every once in a while, an invention comes along that can have that type of potential to help people do more or be smarter. Here’s a look at two technologies designed to help farmers optimize planting that I’m keeping an eye on.
Measuring for precise populations
The first is a seed firmer that’s equipped with sensor technology from Precision Planting
. From what I understand, this tool measures soil moisture, organic matter and in-furrow residue as the planter goes through the field. As a result of the reading, the planter will alter the seed depth to meet the optimal planting depth for that exact location. Coming from a guy who has spent endless hours building zones for variable-rate planting and variable-rate fertility applications, this could be very valuable when making agronomic decisions.
Managing variability through improved planting practices
Another piece of technology, which isn’t new by any means but is proving its worth in the field, is electric drive planters from John Deere
. By replacing the traditional hydraulic drive with an electric drive that is more instantaneous, farmers can improve on planting population and singulation—both key components of managing variability in a field.
This type of planter functionality can help you place each individual seed inside the crosshairs. It also has the potential to let you speed up your planter without sacrificing precision or accuracy. Ultimately, this functionality is another piece of the puzzle when it comes to setting yourself up for optimal yield potential.
Keep an eye on Answer Tech for a look at other emerging technologies that may make sense to add to your toolbox.