Data collection from above; getting the right stuff from flight

After flying drones for a few years, I was asked to speak at various conferences. Most of these are professional and proper affairs in which people sit quietly to listen, applaud the speaker politely, and ask thoughtful questions afterward. However, at one memorable conference at which there were people representing drones, manned aerial systems and […] Read more


Bringing it all together: linking data with field, office, vehicle

So far in this series of articles on telemetry, I’ve written about how wireless signals work, how telemetry works and what it can do. What is missing is how to actually set it up to operate. Most of the time it sounds easier than it actually is. The good news is that precision ag companies […] Read more


Talented people are everywhere, you just have to find them

A nice thing about having my own column is that I can get on a soapbox about something I believe in. Since this is a column about precision farming, it will get there in a roundabout way. A couple of news items in the past few years have made me wonder how society values talent. […] Read more



Precision ag more than tools; it’s a way of thinking

After spending a career teaching precision farming in the U.S. Midwest, I have made the switch to west coast agriculture. Growing up in Iowa, corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and pastureland were pretty much the extent of my experience in crops. There is corn as far as the eye can see in some parts of Iowa, […] Read more


Cellphones play key role in most telemetry systems

So far in this series of articles on telemetry, I’ve written about how wireless signals work, how telemetry works and what it can do. What is missing is how to actually set it up to operate. Most of the time it sounds easier than it actually is. The good news is that precision ag companies […] Read more



Who’s organizing the air waves; sorting out the frequencies

This column has been exploring the concept of telemetry as a tool for agriculture and defined it as the wireless transmission of data. Before discussing how to use telemetry in agriculture, here’s a simplified look to appreciate how it works. Wireless transmission of data is carried on electrical signals of different frequencies. Electrical signals are […] Read more


Farmers still need precision farming support

As the use of technology is expanding and more of the things we do require a computer and basic computer literacy, the younger generation would seem to have a major advantage. They have serious finger skills. On the other side is my mother-in-law; she has happy fingers. Usually something happy is good, but in regards […] Read more


Precision ag is all about how, when, where and what

Precision farming, specifically spatial analytics, is about making decisions from the data that we can glean from a field. No matter what the crop is, hundreds of types of data can be collected for analysis. Yield is the biggest one. After all, it is the net result, the outcome for the year, the source of […] Read more



Understanding invisible infrared imagery valuable

Many people are jumping on the unmanned aerial vehicle bandwagon, but that is mainly because of how cool, new and interesting it is to fly the things around. However, what farmers need to worry about the most is imagery. Of course, drones are not the only way to get imagery of a field. Everything discussed […] Read more


Making a case for adopting precision agriculture

Sometimes from my perspective as a precision ag educator, I assume that every grower that knows about precision farming, does precision farming. Ten years ago, only a few farmers had heard the term, and fewer understood it. Now at 25 years into precision ag history, it could be considered mainstream and most farmers know what […] Read more