Preparing your farm for agriculture technology

Jun 19, 2020

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There are considerable benefits to using ag tech, but advantages come from asking questions, coming up with a plan for the farm and understanding how agricultural technology can empower a farm’s unique needs.
 
Technology is having a transformative effect on agriculture, helping farmers increase yields, reduce costs and increase overall capacity. And as society adapts to physical distancing and gathering in small groups as a means of fighting COVID-19, using technology to connect is even more common.
 
If there’s uncertainty about how to start, or what technology to try, there are ways to experiment and embrace technology for agriculture.
 
Chad Colby is an ag tech consultant and public speaker based in Illinois. Here are his tips on embracing technology to improve agricultural operations, large and small.
 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
 
Everyone must start somewhere. For example, Colby encourages farmers to upgrade their smartphones and tablets for optimal functionality, battery life, speed and application updates. Symbolically, keeping up with these small tools as they advance helps reinforce the need to keep up with the larger tools.
 
Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Understanding how technology can help an operation requires experimenting. And experiments mean failure.
 
“When you screw up, you learn,” Colby says.
 
Drones are an easy tool to start with
 
As a licensed pilot, Colby already knows the value of a view from above and has been an avid drone enthusiast for over a decade. He runs a drone boot camp for farmers and argues that unmanned aerial vehicles are quickly becoming an essential tool for agriculture.
 
“A $2,500 drone can get you airborne in 30 seconds,” Colby says. “With features like auto take-off, auto-land, sonar and object avoidance, you can easily sit on your pickup truck, survey a 160-acre field in three or four minutes and produce high resolution imagery that can be analyzed and integrated with other systems.”
 
The more acres that a farmer works, the more value that can come from this modest investment.
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