“If you’re going to start with precision ag, get to a sensing system that’s telling you where you’re weak and where you’re strong.”
By: Ryan Ridley
With wheat seeding approaching in the fall, many farmers are looking for ways to improve their return on investment on this next crop.
Farms.com spoke with Doug Wiegand, Regional Sales Lead at Precision Planting, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic about technology that farmers can easily adopt in 2020 to improve their ROI.
“I’ve been with this company for 16 years, and one of the biggest focuses that we have is how do we improve the return on investment of a fixed acre cost like seed, fertilizer and equipment,” stated Wiegand.
Precision Planting is a leading provider of practical and effective precision agriculture technologies that are integrated into the farmer’s existing equipment to maximize performance.
“In 2008, Precision Planting designed what they called the 20/20 Monitor. We saw it as so valuable because it gave us the ability to sense more accurately the metrics like singulation, spacing, and down force on the gauge wheels – whereas prior to then, we did not have the ability to see it,” he said.
The 20/20 SeedSense display doesn’t control equipment. It’s a comprehensive sensing system that measures seed population, singulation and row unit bounce, enabling the operator to make better decisions about planting conditions.
Getting started in precision agriculture can sometimes seem like a daunting project to implement, but Wiegand explained that’s not necessarily the case.
“If you’re going to start with precision ag, get to a sensing system that’s telling you where you’re weak and where you’re strong. Once you have that, now you know where to spend money and where to improve your management tactics and management proprieties on your farm and on your planter,” he explained. “That’s going to drive a better return.”
To provide a more accurate picture of the entire seed environment, Precision Planting developed a tool that measures moisture, temperature and residue in the seed furrow, which is displayable on the 20/20 SeedSense Monitor.
“SmartFirmer measures for furrow moisture, organic matter, cation exchange capacity of that soil, as well as the percentage of residue that’s in that furrow and the temperature of that furrow,” said Wiegand. “Temperature and moisture are very important on germinating seed.”
SmartFirmer can also control your seeding rate, fertilizer rate and hybrid-based on organic matter.
“Once we started sensing the furrow and sensing the planter, we were able to understand that we were not managing that planter to the highest level prior to understanding these metrics. Once we were able to sense it, we can then manually react and improve the singulation and we can improve the depth consistency to make sure that we have seed around furrow moisture that is critical for germination and emergence consistency.”