An estimated 250 people came to the Iowa State University Southeast Research Farm at Crawfordsville to experience the newest developments in precision agriculture on Sept. 17, 2009. The Precision Agriculture Expo was unlike any other Iowa show – with equipment of all colors demonstrating auto-steer, variable rate and auto-shutoff, and satellite guidance options.
"Extension provided a learning environment through the Expo where everyone came together – farmers, equipment dealers and agribusinesses," says Jim Fawcett, an ISU Extension field agronomist and co-planner of the Expo. "With harvest on the horizon, we had a small window of opportunity to share the latest technology and demonstrate how it works. We wanted to get the information to farmers as they were thinking about their equipment needs and preparing to purchase equipment this fall."
Farmers came to learn more about the latest technology
The educational experience included tractors of all colors – John Deere, CaseIH, and New Holland - in field demonstrations, and equipment dealers and technology businesses showcasing their merchandise through educational exhibits and demonstrations. Twenty exhibitors joined ISU Extension to share the latest advances in precision agriculture.
Rob Stout, a Washington County farmer, came to the Expo to learn more about the latest technology. He started using precision agriculture on his farm 13 years ago and has added some over the years. "We want to find out about the most recent advancements in the new satellite technology and how to adapt it to our farm," says Stout. "We have added a little over the years, but there are a couple of steps we need to make to be where we want to be.
At the Expo, Stout and other farmers rode and drove auto-steer equipment and saw the exactness of the GPS guidance. Greg Brenneman, ISU Extension ag engineer and Expo co-planner says the demonstrations were a big attraction. "The demos helped farmers see how they could effectively and efficiently till, plant and spray their fields," Brenneman says. "One field demonstration showed the accuracy of using GPS while tilling a strip in the fall and essentially come back to exactly that same strip and planting the next spring."
One in two farmers now uses some type of precision ag
Matt Darr, an ISU ag engineering professor at Ames, spoke to the Expo crowd during the lunch hour about the advancements made in precision agriculture the last 18 years and how additional technology can be adapted to add more benefits. "One in two farmers now uses some level of precision ag, and as we look to the future, that adoption rate will just continue to grow," says Darr.
"Farmers are finding more and more innovative ways to use the technology to make their job easier and become more profitable and efficient," he adds. "This Expo gave them an opportunity to see equipment in action and to see what a variety of dealers had to offer and ask questions of the various ISU Extension specialists who were on hand– all in one location."
To learn more about this southeast Iowa event ISU Extension organized as the Precision Ag Expo at Crawfordsville, you can view the video at http://video.extension.iastate.edu/2009/09/23/advances-in-precision-agriculture-expo/