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Source: Iowa Chapter of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers July newsletter article by Dan Manternach, President, Perfect Fit Presentations LLC

Precision Ag (PA) technology began in the early 1990s with widespread use of yield monitors in combines that would generate maps of fields based on the grain flow into the hopper as the machine moved up and down the fields. Early adopters of precision ag technology were often described as being on the "bleeding edge" of adoption because the costs so often exceeded any measurable increase in profitability.

That's no longer the case. In fact, Forbes magazine ran a 2019 feature with the headline: "By Raising Productivity, Ag Tech Boosts the Value of Farmland." In that article, Bill Lapp, president of Omaha-based Advanced Economic Solutions noted "Widespread adoption of technologies that have increased output per acre, as well as reducing production costs, have been the primary catalyst for rising land values in the U.S. and globally."

The technology has advanced so far that actual field data from farmers participating in the FINBIN program headquartered at the University of Minnesota can now be sorted into those aggressively using precision ag tech and those who don't and then compared for differences in yields, income, variable costs, fixed costs and returns. FINBIN covers all major farm crop and livestock enterprises; I chose soybeans for example purposes. First, I defined "aggressive users" of precision ag tech as utilizing four specific PA technologies: who used data from yield monitors the prior season to guide variable rate planters, variable rate fertilizer applicators, variable rate chemical application and auto-steer guidance technology.

Then, I compared FINBIN participants using those four technologies in their soybean production to a separate sort of FINBIN participants who didn't use any of them in soybean production.

To read the rest of the article click here.

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