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Home & Garden
Successful Farming

Successful Farming Mid-November 2019

Successful Farming magazine serves the diverse business, production, and family information needs of families who make farming and ranching their business. Get Successful Farming digital magazine subscription today and learn how to make money, save time, and grow your satisfaction in the farming business. True to its name, Successful Farming magazine is all about success. Every issue is packed with ideas readers can take right to the field, barn, shop, and office to increase their profit and to position their farming business for growth and success in the competitive and global industry of agriculture.

United States
Meredith Corporation
Read More
13 Issues

In this issue

4 min.
the fourth wave

Throughout history, technological advancements in agriculture have been impressive. These developments, in my mind, have come in four waves: mechanization, ag chemistry, precision farming, and more recently, digital agriculture. The first wave saw machines replace humans and animals as a source of labor. The second improved crop productivity through more effective use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Next came the birth of precision farming, which included systems that helped farmers better manage machines as well as inputs. In short, precision ag encompasses the technologies that make growing crops more accurate and controlled. These innovations can do everything from automating steering on a tractor to precisely placing nitrogen in an area of a field that needs it most. While technologies that automate a process have been more readily adopted by farmers, the more…

1 min.
they said it

For many years, tillage equipment has been considered dumb iron.Why it is the final frontier for precision farming technologies. p. 16Having multiple images per week delivered seamlessly to your phone allows for directed scouting and ground truthing.Aerial imagery is more than just a pretty picture. p. 30Trying to peg how much nitrogen corn will use is akin to wrestling an otter in a slippery fast-flowing stream.Does variable-rate technology really pay? p. 24Soil sensors send data to you in up to 30 seconds. Lab testing can take up to 10 days.Sensors help farmers better understand the needs of crops and soils. p. 121 skip every 17½ feet can equal a 7-bushel-per-acre loss.Putting seed in the ground is even more precise today, p. 20…

7 min.
dead on

All NASA wanted was a space helmet that didn’t scratch before it licensed the technology that spawned today’s scratch-resistant glasses. Ditto for its astronaut vital-sign monitoring technology that helped create insulin pumps. Meanwhile, polymers used by NASA in astronauts’ suits make up today’s flame-retardant firefighter uniforms. Scott McPheeters followed a similar route when he used an Outback S guidance system in 2001 to mark the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of buried irrigation pipe and risers. He also used it to measure the border of a center pivot irrigation unit he was developing. “Back then, it wasn’t so much guidance as it was simply positioning,” says the Gothenburg, Nebraska, farmer. “It didn’t do anything except tell you where you were.” Still, McPheeters thought the concept had much more potential (akin to the NASA spin-off…

1 min.
passive vs. active guidance

Farmers have had two automated guidance forms from which to choose: passive or active. Each has advantages and drawbacks, says Leo Bose, Case IH AFS marketing manager. Both require GPS receivers on both the tractor and implement. Beyond, that, though, there are differences. Under passive guidance, the system adjusts the tractor to stay on the desired guidance path when it starts to drift. This is advantageous when a heavy side draft movement exists, such as when an implement is on a sidehill, Bose says. Meanwhile, active guidance maintains direction, making it ideal for precise operations like strip-till. “If you’re on 30-inch rows, it will stay on 30-inch rows by calculating where the tractor and implement are,” he says. Since passive guidance just needs two receivers on the implement, it costs less than active guidance…

2 min.
stacked technologies

Clark McPheeters is excited about the technology that automated guidance has unleashed. The Gothenburg, Nebraska, farmer cites variable depth control and better seed trench closing systems as the next steps that build on automated guidance and subsequent variable-rate technology. Last spring, McPheeters, his brother, Kerry, and his father, Scott, fit their planter with Precision Planting’s SmartFirmer attachment that measures in-furrow soil temperature, moisture, and residue that’s displayed on its 20/20 in-cab monitor. By measuring soil organic matter, Precision Planting officials say SmartFirmer allows the farmer to change hybrids and seeding and fertilizer rate based on organic matter. Clark McPheeters says technologies like SmartFirmer have the potential to vary seeding rates even more than current variable-rate technologies do. “We have places in some of our fields that are veins of old river channels in…

4 min.
keeping a pulse on crop and soil health

Your smartwatch, fitness tracker, and smartphone can monitor your biomedical information like heart rate, step count, and calories burned. Collecting and tracking that health data helps you pick up a few extra flights of stairs a day, meet your daily or weekly activity goals, and improve overall wellness. Wearable sensor technology has been an inconspicuous part of day-to-day life for many years, so it makes sense that crops and soils are monitored using the same capabilities and technologies. With devices that supply instant data readouts no matter where you are, you can better control inputs, soil health, and yield – especially when you fight a host of unpredictable factors throughout the season. Sensors for Nitrogen Management EnGenious Ag, a team of engineers and agronomists at Iowa State University (ISU), has developed a sensor that…