AG NEWS
AG NEWS

Ag Tech Must-Haves for 2019 and Beyond

  • Nov 26, 2018
Man leaning against grain silo and looking at phone
Ag tech has the ability to provide tremendous value to farmers, and each year as technology advances it seems that potential only grows. The capabilities available to farmers have changed greatly over the years, and current trends in the consumer industry offer some insight into where the industry is headed. In the spirit of the season, I’ve put together a wish list of the products and technologies I think provide value now and promise for the future.
 
Climate FieldView Drive
The Climate FieldView™ Drive is at the top of my list, in large part because of how simply it answers questions about what happened in the field. This tool makes it easy to capture information from the cab and then clearly and descriptively display it. The Drive is very effective at bringing multiple layers of data to one single place for holistic evaluation. Recent updates allow your trusted advisor to bring additional insights to your operation by looking at the field-level performance of multiple farmers.
 
R7 Field Forecasting Tool by WinField United
The growing environment is always going to be a challenging variable. The R7® Field Forecasting Tool helps farmers better predict the outcomes ahead when it comes to in-season water, nitrogen and potassium management decisions. With dynamic yield predictions, this modeling tool can adapt to the timing and volume of various inputs, in addition to weather forecast, to better assist in meeting yield goals. Additionally, it also helps farmers look back at the prior season and pinpoint the decisions or events that had the greatest impact on yield observed.
 
Image recognition
2018 may end up being the year of image recognition. In the consumer world, this technology is put to use with smart doorbells and security systems that can recognize the difference between family members and strangers, unlocking the door for the former and sending a push notification for the latter. In agriculture, I believe we’ll soon see scouting tools that can help agronomists in the field by identifying and evaluating specific weeds or crop diseases, then providing information on effective control. We’re already seeing some of this with Deere & Company Blue River Technology, which can distinguish between crops and weeds and apply herbicides only to weeds, significantly reducing the amount of herbicide needed.
 
Autonomous drone technology
This technology takes scouting to the next level by eliminating the need for manual operation. For example, with the push of a button, the Scout by American Robotics can leave its base station and provide imagery of a farmer’s selected hot spots before returning to its weatherproof housing. Removing the labor investment of scouting can help farmers achieve more, since it isn’t always feasible to pilot drones on large numbers of fields. While perhaps not ready for national scale at this moment, this technology holds a lot of promise for the years ahead.
 
Natural language processing
This technology has the ability to communicate with computers using dialogue rather than input devices like your phone or mouse and keyboard. Consumer voice assistant devices have exploded in popularity in a short time frame, and it’s only a matter of time until they are applied to agriculture. We may soon find ourselves able to evaluate moisture data from soil probes just by talking to devices in our homes, offices and vehicles. This could lower the barrier to entry for many technology-averse farmers who would prefer interacting with computers via voice rather than manually using a computer or smartphone.
 
Technology is constantly evolving and ag tech tools are always advancing. As you plan for the year ahead, be sure to talk with your trusted advisor about the ag tech tools available to you and what makes the most sense for your operation.
 
© 2018 WinField United. R7® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United. Climate FieldView™ is a trademark of the Climate Corporation. Scout™ is a trademark of American Robotics.
 



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