What We Learned from InfoAg 2019 (Recap & Takeaways)
by Rafael Estevez – Director of Data Operations, Growers
As the largest annual conference for our industry, InfoAg is a great place to catch up on the latest ideas in the precision ag industry.
Growers is always seeking out new technology and tools to create more value for our farmers and partners, and I had the pleasure of attending the event on behalf of our company.
Numerous companies offered information on topics ranging from satellite imagery, drone technology, and artificial intelligence to machine learning, moisture sensors, and more.
But one thing was clear…today’s farmers have countless options, yet choosing the right tech to fit their specific needs is still a challenge.
Challenges In the Precision Ag Industry
Despite the latest and greatest resources in the industry, precision ag still faces some of the same old problems, such as access to clean data.
In fact, I sat in on the yield data cleaning workshop, and we discussed all the ways yield data becomes essentially useless if it’s not properly collected and cleaned.
Another issue is that various data platforms continue to have problems talking to each other (I guess the first date didn’t go well…).
Humor aside, these two issues create challenges for developing an efficient precision ag program.
Continuing Improvements for Farming Technology
There’s still hope. Technology is becoming simpler and expert support is more readily available. Tremendous advancements have been made in satellite and aerial imagery, spatial analytics, and data collection devices.
Growers continues to ask questions and push the envelope to benefit our farmers and partners. For example, how can we use this technology to make our farmer’s life easier and generate a return on investment?
Every farm is unique and may require a different set of tools, so farmers need to make upfront investments to review and decide on the correct combination of precision ag tools.
Top Takeaways from InfoAg
I learned several helpful bits of information at the conference, including the following:
- Advancements are being made in spatially linking cotton quality to any point in the field. These methods will allow farmers to uncover and manage the field attributes that contribute to quality metrics.
- A significant amount of care and work is needed to properly clean yield data. Yield data requires proper calibration of equipment and consistent speed across a field during the data collection process. (While we’re on the topic, check out our guide to calibrating your yield monitor for an easy, step-by-step explanation.)
- Researchers are able to variable-rate plant growth regulators on cotton, but the cost savings are minimal. More research and testing are needed to realize the full potential.
Should You Attend?
InfoAg provides up-to-date information on the available products, services, and technology in precision ag, and I plan to attend the conference again next year. That said, it is probably less helpful to farmers, as the program is fairly sales-oriented and offered very few unbiased opinions.
If you visit St. Louis for InfoAg (or other reasons), I recommend renting an electric scooter to get around town, taking the Budweiser beer tour, and having dinner at the Three-Sixty rooftop restaurant (www.360-stl.com/). The Arch is also a great place to visit at least once.
How Growers is Helping Farmers Move Forward
Overall, precision ag companies are making progress in technology development, but we aren’t there yet. Despite the many challenges our industry faces, Growers works hard every day to help farmers collect and analyze their data.
Growers ingests millions of points of data each year, and we have both a dedicated team and automated processes to clean data in a timely manner. Our customer success staff provides our farmers with clear instructions on how to collect better data and calibrate their equipment.
We put the right tools in their hands so they can carry out the simple and personalized plans we provide. Our technology helps farmers gain insight that directly translates into actionable, more profitable business decisions. When farmers team up with Growers, they’re in good hands.
For more information about our technology, visit our website: https://www.growers.ag/technology/