Ohio State’s John Fulton Gets Technical with Ron Hays - Talking Precision Ag and All Its BenefitsMon, 25 Feb 2019 15:36:40 CST
During the recent All Crops Conference in Norman, Okla. hosted by Oklahoma State University Extension, Ohio State University Associate Professor, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering John Fulton spoke to producers in attendance about precision agriculture and how new technology is being used to increase productivity and maximize cost-savings and efficiency. He spoke after his presentation to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays to break down some of the major points of his lecture. You can listen to that complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
If nothing else, Fulton says the one thing producers should understand about the growing presence of advanced digital technology in modern agriculture, is how it can directly affect their operation’s viability and impact their decision-making process.
“Technology has really enabled us to do a better job of placing inputs, managing inputs at the field level and we’re starting to see where the data can inform decisions being made on our farm operations,” he said, underscoring how the information that this technology gleans from production helps to direct and guide a farmer’s strategy. “There is a tremendous amount of connectivity today. Farmers will hopefully be able to tap into available data to make decisions.”
To fully take advantage of these tools that exist today, Fulton insists that every farmer who is willing to invest in the technology should develop their own individual digital strategy.
“That means… what technology are we using? What data is that technology collecting? Where am I saving that and how can I share that information if I choose to do so – who am I sharing that data with…,” he said.
Naturally, these questions lead to others, especially some that raise concerns of how secure these new tools are when it comes to protecting valuable information. Fulton advises producers to seek help from two sources. First, for one’s own knowledge, he recommends obtaining the Ag Data Transparency Tool that was recently created by the American Farm Bureau. This tool allows producers to review different technology providers to see how they utilize information collected on the farm. Producers can use their own discretion using this report on which companies and which tools they choose to work with.
In addition, Fulton also strongly recommends producers seek the help and advice of a trusted advisor that can help them manage, organize and leverage their data to generate solutions that can be implemented in their operations and hopefully create more cost and operational efficiency.
One key to staying up to date with technology is really quite simple. Fulton says that with the universal versatility of smartphones, much of what is being done in the field is through a hand-held phone or tablet device. To stay the most efficient, he advises you upgrade your devices to the newest models at least every two years or so. However, this will present a challenge for some in the industry one day, he says, as large equipment becomes more and more integrated with digital technology. There will come a point when the industry will have to find a way to keep machinery updated at the speed of innovation. Despite some legitimate concerns, Fulton says science will continue to improve and thus improve the ag industry as it matures in its relationship with applied technology.
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