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Peter Kyveryga, Director of Analytics at Iowa Soybean Association

174c0e8Modern farming combines a range of new technologies and innovative systems developed specifically for agriculture such as yield monitoring, with preexisting tools adopted from other industries, for example, satellite imagery and various, non-orbital remote sensing systems. Precision agriculture is heavily based on data collection, computation, and data analyses to enable improved, data-driven and local, agronomic decisions.

Precision agriculture requires not only investment in technology but continuous development and refinement of new recommendation systems, which can often require a mindset change. One of the important and often overlooked values of precision agriculture is that it enables farmers and agronomists to experiment on their own fields. The idea of continuous improvement is very natural to farmers going back to the early days of agriculture.  This is how farmers in the past selected the best varieties or learned that land parcels can have different soil properties and different productivity.

With the help of precision ag tools, a farmer or agronomist can form his or her own agronomic or economic hypothesis, develop experimental or data collection plans, conduct simple field comparisons, and draw their own conclusions. Of course, it is not always quite so simple. Many questions require several years of data from which to formulate a conclusion because temporal variation in weather can often overshadow any effect due to spatial variability.

The latest trend in precision agriculture is the use of different public or privately developed modeling and risk assessment tools to help sort out complex, spatial interactions between soil and yields from temporal variations in weather.   The so-called “system approach” to site-specific management is focused on making better, short-term (preseason, in-season and post-season) corrections as well as long-term (logistics, economic, and environmental) decisions.

The value of reliable and trusted technology providers is critical for making precision management work for farmers, not only in the US but also in Ukraine. Two-way feedback and communication between farmers and technology providers are crucial in making the best agronomic decisions.

I am glad that technology and ag solution providers like AgriLab LLC are keenly interested in trying new ideas, adopting best practices from each other gained through experience and testing, and helping Ukrainian farmers become world leaders in producing crops sustainably and economically.

Peter Kyveryga, Director of Analytics at Iowa Soybean Association