Technology helps Wisconsin soybean farmers

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(WKOW) — Wisconsin ranks 13th in soybean production, and today’s farmers are growing twice as much on less land, using less water and less fuel. One modern advantage is precision farming; which uses technology to farm in a more accurate and controlled manner when planting and growing crops.

“If we use row shut offs on our planters, to turn those implements on and off at exactly the right spot, we’re not double-planting, we’re not over spraying, we’re reducing skips and overlaps to maintain a profitable operation,” said Brian Luck, a biological systems engineer with University of Wisconsin Extension.

Through the use of UAV’s or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, farmers collect data on their fields, which can diagnose problem areas faster, and pinpoint where damaged areas are by using infrared technology. On average, it can take a farmer over an hour to cover an acre of land walking. U.A.V.’s can cover an acre in about 10 minutes.

“UAVs and the potential for remote sensing; so measuring the crop in real time in order to adjust inputs on the fly. So trying to maximize that yield potential and profitability by doing things in season based on information we get back from remote sensing technologies,” Luck said.

Modern technology can help soybean farmers diagnose crop diseases and determine where fertilizer needs to be applied in a more sustainable manner. In the next five to ten years farmers may start utilizing robots.

“The next step is going to be robots that are fully autonomous. Utilizing robots like that we’re able to maybe reduce the size of our machines, multiples of those machines that are able to communicate and work together we reduce soil compaction in that case because we’re not driving great big tractors out there and we’re able to maintain the efficiency and productivity that we want to see so I think within the next five to ten years we’ll start seeing a lot of lot of autonomous operations in production agriculture,” said Luck.

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