Yield of dreams: Workshop focuses on modern approaches to farming


Photo by Enxun Zhu

The EZ-Steer can be attached to a tractor to help it drive automatically.

By Enxun Zhu

With the development of science and technology, agriculture is also improving. 

Precision agriculture uses modern machinery, computers, GPS and sensors to reduce labor, conserve water and increase yields.

Precision agriculture can suggest the best planting plan by analyzing water, fertilizer and soil, effectively saving money while protecting the environment, said Brad Guckian, a precision agriculture specialist at Apple Farm Service in West College Corner, Indiana. 

With precision agriculture, overseeding or uneven seeding can be avoided,” Guckian said. “Water, fertilizer and soil environment can also achieve a good balance.”

Precision agriculture doesn’t just make planting cheaper, though. The technique also makes planting more efficient.

“There is no need to worry about excess water or fertilizer, and it also saves many resources,” Guckian said. “Lots of technologies also reduce a lot of workloads, which makes people’s jobs easier.”

Apple Farm Service will hold a day-long Precision Academy at the Hueston Woods State Park Conference Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. Experts scheduled to speak at the event include Tracy Intihar, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture; John Fulton, professor of food, agriculture, and biological engineering at The Ohio State University; and Jim Love, light robotics manager and herbicide specialist at Beck’s Hybrids seed company.

A free catered breakfast and lunch are included with a free RSVP. Registration is required by Dec. 20, and can be found  at the Apple Farm Service Website

Kate Harbin, a sales administrator at Apple Farm Service, said the service sold kits to allow tractors to drive themselves and computers that monitored their route over the fields. 

“These tools are applied to the existing agricultural equipment, so the initial purchase of these instruments will cost some money,” Harbin said. “But that money is quickly saved through the farming process.”