The American Soybean Association and the PrecisionAg Institute are teaming to conduct a study of the return on investment gained with precision agriculture technology by America's soybean growers. Together, the groups hope to uncover the unique benefits of computers, GPS, variable-rate controllers and field-mapping software in soybean production.
"For many, this technology seems to be key to efficiency and profitability in today's crop production systems," says Steve Wellman, ASA president and producer from Syracuse. "By teaming with the PrecisionAg Institute on this research, we hope to provide our members with additional guidance in their adoption of new technology."
Wellman says that farmers are always looking for better ways to make the most of all their inputs, from nutrients to seed to diesel fuel. By learning more and sharing research results, he says, ASA grower-members may be able to see more clearly what precision ag tools are likely to offer in improving their overall farm management.
"Precision agriculture use, by its nature, must be field-specific if it's to be worthwhile," adds K. Elliott Nowels, director of the PrecisionAg Institute. "That means each farmer will experience different benefits from its use. It's our intent to unearth key benefits common to the precision experience in soybean production."
This skilled management of inputs and yield enabled by the use of precision ag technology, according to Nowels, is providing farmers a positive message about conservation and stewardship.
"Research shows that when growers put precision technology to use, they are able to optimize their use of land, water, seed and nutrients. That kind of stewardship benefits everyone," he says. "The support of our partners will help us reach more growers with that message and also help us tell the story of agriculture's resource conservation to the wider public."