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Tech Takeaways From National No-Tillage Conference

Navigating Disruptive Tech and a Checklist for Practical Applications.

Robert Saik, agrologist and author of Food 5.0: How We Feed the Future, emphasizes that agtech is shaping the future of farming while speaking at the 28th annual National No-Tillage Conference this week.

Agtech is already integrated into crop production. You may experience it through precision sampling, soil testing, aerial imagery, wearable tech devices, etc.

As Saik explains, agriculture is now in the wave of convergence. He says, “We went from the age of muscle to the age of machine, then we hit the age of chemistry, biotech – and convergence is what’s happening on your farm today.”

Convergence occurs when technologies like 3-D printing, robotics, precision ag, artificial intelligence, and data intersect.

The variety of technology available can be overwhelming. Chad Colby, founder of Colby AgTech, says, “It’s easy to be less optimistic when it comes to agriculture today. It’s hard to find that line in the disruptive part of the conversation and what the technology is that we really need.”

Colby references the innovative tech that seems all the rage in the industry, like autonomy, electric drive, and sensors, but recommends finding where practical technology is a fit for you on your farm.

Below is Colby’s checklist for technology that can get you started on focusing your investments to bring value to your farming operation:

  1. Create a plan for one, two, and three years in the future. This might include setting up cameras on your equipment or across your land, upgrading your phone, or updating your Wi-Fi service.
  2. Your time is the most valuable asset. As Colby says, something as simple as upgrading your smartphone can save you by giving you back precious time.
  3. Invest in items that provide data for real-time decisions. 
    READ MORE: Keeping a Pulse on Crop and Soil Health
  4. Push the limits and calculate results. You have to be willing to try new technologies, but it means nothing if you don’t calculate the results. Set goals and take it to the next step by measuring those results.
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Technology pushes us all out of our comfort zone. It’s important to be aware of the disruptive technology on the horizon, but even better to be implementing the systems that work for you.

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