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February 6, 2018 • Page 4 shop online at www.missourivalleyshopper.com SD Is Poised To Benefit From Precision Agriculture BROOKINGS, S.D. - By the end of this year, $4 billion will be spent globally on precision agriculture with satellites, sensors, machines, data, and drones. It's a collective industry opportunity and offers challenges which South Dakota is ready to embrace. As Director of Operations for the Applied Technology Division of Raven Industries, Sarah Waltner was the keynote speaker at the recent South Dakota Corn Growers annual meeting in Sioux Falls. Waltner grew up on a family hog farm and says she spent a lot of time in the hog barns, in the family fields and neighbor's fields. She graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from South Dakota State University. "Precision ag is the basis for what we do," Waltner said in her remarks. She explained, "Precision ag is based on observing, measuring and responding to inter- and intra- field variability. It combines agronomic practices with farm machinery technology and with actionable data." Farmers have to be profitable, Waltner said. It used to be that nitrogen was applied at the same rate across the field. If one field or a corner of a field had highly productive soil, applying more pounds of nitrogen was worth the increased input expense. If the soil is rocky or sandy, there would be a lower yield because the base soil will not yield much, no matter how much nitrogen is applied. Precision where it will be in 5 to 10 years. The has helped create, define and redefine ag gives farmers a way to analyze the key thing is figuring out the intersection precision agriculture. The product lines needs and the variable rate equipment between what money farmers will pay are directed toward precision ag. Waltner allows a prescribed application of applied for their technology, how much do they said, "We are about the application and nutrients where needed and at most benwant to spend on data, and how much system approach, making sure that we eficial rate for the crop. do they pay for agronomy services, and can help the farmer take action on his Waltner referred to a study done by how certain they are of a return from that data with our technology." the industry which shows there is a 10 to investment." Over half of those who work at Raven 15 percent saving in inputs for GPS- guidFarmers have made investments, but grew up on or are connected to a family ed steering because there is less overlap 65 percent say they are not using the farm in some way. The workforce is not or application in unnecessary areas. technology to its full potential. Dealing from Silicon Valley. Many of the engineers There is a 10 percent savings when using with this is a real opportunity and also a are using the equipment they design in variable rate application. This is because real challenge. the evenings or on the weekends on their nutrients are only applied where needed. Ag is the largest sector of South family farms. This provides a close conIn another study, 85 percent of corn grow- Dakota's economy. Raven sees training nection between the products and the ers polled believed they were more profit- those in the future workforce as vital to farming community. Raven designs prodable after adopting more technology. the success of precision ag. The company ucts that are simple to use and because Farmers are bombarded with comrecently donated $5 million to help pay many of the engineers use the product plicated questions, Waltner said. Do I for the construction of a Precision Agrithemselves, it is designed with the user spend money on GPS or not? What about culture Facility at SDSU's main campus in experience in mind. section control? What do I do with the Brookings. "The biggest hurdle in the future will data? What kind of data do I use? Do I get Waltner says the development of the not be the technology but bringing usable my imagery from the sky or from in-field SDSU Precision Ag program will yield and simple data to advance the pracsensors? Really good things are happennew research, new job opportunities and tices," Waltner said. "If I am a farmer with ing in the industry, but it comes down to likely new companies. Graduates of the only 40 growing seasons in my lifetime, a question about how the technology can program will go back to their communiI don't want to take a lot of risks. Growwork together to help the farmer. ties and become an important part of the ers shy away from what is good for them Specifically, no one person or company state's workforce. when they have to measure the risks. can solve the problem of data overload. "Training is huge, retention is huge," When 20 different companies are telling Technology is very complicated. Waltner said. "With more and more them 20 different things, there is almost "We have gone from no data, or not complicated technology, we need a more too much technology available. Ag retailmuch data, to so much data that it freezes developed workforce who understand ers need to be trained to help farmers the farmers," Waltner said. "Precision the challenges of precision ag. Workforce Save $30 on a Summer AC Tune-Up! make the best decisions which would ag is different from when it started and development is important to the progres- improve their yield and reduce input sion of the state." costs. It's important to marry the technolRaven's background ogy with simplicity to improve yields and/ Just give us a callsaid Raven was founded by Waltner and we’ll or lower input costs." four qualified who worked at General scientists The advances in technology are driven send out a Mills in the Twin Cities. They moved to by increasing needs for the agricultural ServiceSioux Falls, SD, in 1956, and the company products. As populations grow, few counTechnician like began as a designer tries are able to expand the land they Tyler, to make sure your and manufacturer of high-altitude research balloons. Sioux farm. Improved farming techniques are AC unitFalls was chosen as the company needed needed to meet the demands, Waltner is ready for those an airport willing to work said. From state and economic benefits to hot summer South Dakota with balloon Tyler Reiser launches. The area was welcoming to this the development of a highly trained workdays and save $30!* the industry. Technician force, South Dakota is well-positioned to new company and Service From that product line, Raven grew benefit from precision agriculture tech13 years experience into a diversified technology company nology and adoption. with three divisions: Raven Applied Technology, Raven Engineered Films and Raven Aerostar. Since 1978, Raven Applied Technology Farm & Heavy Duty Equipment February 12 - 21, 2018 Lowest Prices of The Year on When You Want Comfort...You Want Kalins When You Want Comfort… You Want Kalins! Vermillion: 605-624-5618 *Rebate offer only available to Vermillion Light & Power customers. Call for full details. 69 years as a Premier Lennox® Dealer 96 years in the Business 400 years of Heating and Cooling Experience = Your #1 Choice in Yankton! Yankton Vermillion Sioux City 605.665.4348 605.624.5618 712.252.2000 kalinsindoor.com NATURAL TASTES BETTER In-Store Specials All Natural - Chemical Free Tobacco 3 50 $ 28 $ 1509 E. 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