Over the past decade, the agriculture industry has increased its adaptablity to technology. With the increase in technology adoption comes better data collection, increase in efficiency, and better insights on the farm. However, it also takes broadband to support these technologies, time to learn and manage the data, and organization. In a panel hosted by Bayer, three farmers discussed exactly how utilizing FieldView during the 2020 growing and harvest season has helped them during this unique year.
While every year has its own challenges, 2020 brought on even more unknowns for farmers. In the spring of 2020 farmers did not know what supplies would be readily available or if their hired hands would even be able to come into work consistently. Like most challenges, they faced it head on and worked to the best of their ability.
One farmer on the panel, Joe Haas from Nebraska, said he works alongside two elderly men who had to take extra precautions this spring during planting season. With the help of FieldView, Joe could keep his distance while still making sure the planter was set correctly, troubleshoot any issues, and watch them in the field by using the platform’s remote view. He even had some fun teaching them how to FaceTime.
This is just one great upside to utilizing technology with agriculture. However what happens when you don’t have the technology support to adapt these practices? The panel also discussed the difficulties of living and farming in a rural area where connectivity is either spotty or nonexistent. With FieldView, farmers are able to work in a field and bring the device back to a connection and upload the information to the cloud. Granted, it does not allow for instant results during harvest, but farmers are still able to see the results and analytics once it has synced.
Another farmer on the panel, Seth Lawrence from Indiana, also has a digital ag consulting firm in addition to running his farming operation. He said the broadband divide really affects his operation. Between the two counties he operates in, he can only access data in one of them. In the second county, he has to upload everything he does in the field to the cloud to access that information.
Especially during the year 2020, the gap in connectivity for rural folks hinders work from home, school-age students, and the agriculture industry. Even though Bayer and Land O’Lakes have partnered to increase broadband connectivity in rural areas, these initiatives still take time.
The last topic brought up in the farmer panel was conservation on the farm and the ability to track that through FieldView. For many farmers, the hesitation to switching conservation practices on their farm includes how it will affect profits and how they can track those changes. Nathan Reed from western Kentucky utilizes his FieldView platform to run experiments, scout his fields throughout the whole season, and see the results during harvest in real time.
Reed has done experiments between minimal till and vertical till on his farm. “I think the fact that we can try so many different experiments, optimizing different inputs allows us to minimize the use of those inputs which is environmentally beneficial to everyone. We don’t want to be harmful to the environment, we don’t want to overspend money on crop inputs. So if we can use these tools to understand what works and what doesn’t, then I think we can minimize our environmental footprint,” said Reed.