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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Firm SST Software Helping Farmers Manage Data

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:32:23 CST

Oklahoma Firm SST Software Helping Farmers Manage Data An Oklahoma-based company is looking to help farmers manage their costs and maximize their yields. SST Software based out of Stillwater is a precision ag software, services and provider. CEO Matt Waits said today they are working with agronomists to create variable rate fertilizer recommendations and variable rate seed applications. They are also using yield data from the combine to understand the spatial variability in the field. Waits said that data can be used to improve on-farm decision making.

The development of precision farm technology is allowing farmers to take a more in depth look at the variability in each field from the difference in soil types, fertility needs and production potential within an individual field. Waits said right now a lot of the data can be collected at varying resolutions, so how small and detailed that information is will depend on the technology being used. He said some of the planters allow for seeding rates to be controlled for each row and yield monitors are also getting more detailed in looking at the variation of yields across the entire header width. Waits said they can take all of that data down to a very small segment like ten meters and look closer at soil types and soil fertility levels. That kind of information can be used to make comparisons within a field.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Waits at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.

SST Software believes the future value of precision ag technology will be around getting local insights on a field from the larger data set from the local region. He said there are a limited number of hybrids and seeding rates a farmer can use, but if you can find comparable fields and look at what other farmers are planting and their farming practices, in anonymous fashion, then he thinks that can help deliver better insights and decision making for each field.

With all of this data, there are concerns over the privacy of each farm and farmer. First and foremost, Waits said we have to be good stewards of the data as any farmer will want to know that anyone they provide their data is going to treat that data responsibly and they will disclose how that data will be used. He said there is a lot more value for the farmer than there is concern.

"I think we can really unlock a lot of profitability for the farmer by improving decision making and that opportunity outweighs the fears that are out there," Waits said.

SST was founded in 1994 by David Waits. At that time he was a professor in the geography department at Oklahoma State University and saw the application for this technology in agriculture. For the past 15 years SST Software has recognized the need for standards for data collection, so they started building their own data collection standards into their own tools. Now the industry has recognized the need for these standards and SST is leading the effort. Waits they have been licensing their data collection standards on the market. SST has also established protocols in how to administrate data. This includes who controls the data and who can have access to the data.

In the near future Waits looks for the data collected on a farm to be used in combination with climatology and weather forecasting models. He expects this will help a farmer at any point in the growing season make an informed decision about inputs, practices and timing.


Ron Hays interviews Matt Waits, CEO of SST Software
right-click to download mp3


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