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Ag tech fair shows new monitoring tools at MU Bradford Research Center, July 17


Duane Dailey
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9181

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014

Story source:

William J. Wiebold, 573-673-4128 (cell); 573-882-0621

COLUMBIA, Mo. – New monitoring technology helps farmers track crops and pastures. Four new applications will be shown at a Farmer Technology Field Day, July 17 at the University of Missouri.

The daylong event starts at 8:30 a.m. at the MU Bradford Research Center, east of Columbia. Demonstrations end at 5 p.m.

The technology might be hand-controlled in a corn planter, tractor or ATV. Or it might be flown overhead in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), says Bill Wiebold, MU Extension crops specialist. It’s a chance to see, touch, use and learn, Wiebold says.

Four major areas will be covered.

Brent Myers, MU Extension corn specialist, will show how to prepare and enter prescription maps into corn planters. The digital maps identify stress points in a field. That mainly has to do with water stress, which soil capacity and field slope affect. Data from previous harvests can pinpoint those areas.

“Farmers are accumulating lots of data,” Myers says. “We’ll show how that can be used to adjust corn planting. Commercial equipment vendors will show how maps are put into planters.”

Rob Kallenbach, MU forage specialist, has promoted the use of grazing wedges to guide movement of herds to the next pasture-grazing paddock. An ultrasound sensor on an all-terrain vehicle measures pastures for the wedge. That eliminates the grazing stick or rising-plate meter.

At 20 measurements per second, the device takes forage height and converts that to pounds of dry matter per acre. That allows grass allocation to match animal needs.

Peter Scharf, soil fertility specialist, uses nitrogen sensors to measure growing corn plants, based on color. Dark green leaves show adequate nitrogen. Yellow leaves on corn plants indicate need for fertility. The sensor turns the fertilizer applicator on and off as the tractor pulls it through the field.

Wiebold has lightweight drones that fly a video camera above a field. Remote crop scouting can be recorded. The UAV camera shows damage by insects or diseases.

Video images from Wiebold’s UAVs will be shown. “Everyone who sees them thinks of new uses,” Wiebold says. “That applies to livestock producers as well as crop farmers. Checking crops and counting cows just got easier.”

Wiebold says the UAVs can be used by individual farmers on their own land, at low altitudes. However, the Federal Aviation Administration forbids commercial use. That may change before the end of the year.

“New regulations are being written,” he adds.

Each program starts indoors to cover the basics, Wiebold says. “Then we go to the field to see the tools at work.”

Preregistration is required by calling Thresa Chism at 573-884-7945.

Exhibit space under a big top is still available. Farmers can visit with vendors during the lunch break. Lunch is included in the $25 registration fee.

MU Bradford Research Center is east of Columbia in Boone County, south of Highway WW. From the Broadway exit on Highway 63, travel east 6.5 miles. Turn right on Rangeline Road and go 2 miles. There is a sign at WW and Rangeline.

To use technology, set a navigation app for 4968 Rangeline Road.