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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Precision Agriculture Technology Leads FSR Field Demos

August 2, 2006

LONDON, Ohio -- Precision agriculture technology will be the highlight of field demonstrations during Farm Science Review, Sept. 19-21 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

Visitors to Farm Science Review will have the opportunity to see such equipment as auto-steer, nitrogen applicators, and light bar and sprayer technologies, and how they work in the field.

Various agriculture technology companies will be showcasing new GPS equipment. The field demonstrations will also include the use of variable-rate technology that allows a farmer to change product rates automatically. The demonstration of the technology is part of the effort to help farmers better manage their input applications in the face of rising fuel costs.

Nathan Watermeier, Ohio State University Extension geospatial Extension specialist will provide a variable rate technology demonstration to show basics of the technology, its components and the basis for creating application maps.

"One of the biggest challenges with variable rate technology is understanding how the equipment components work and the decision-making that goes on behind creating decision maps," said Watermeier. "You need a basis or need to justify where and when specific input rates for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals need to take place in the field. There are also constraints of equipment boom widths, vehicle speed, product and field conditions, and shapes and sizes of recommendation map parcels within the field."

Matt Sullivan, Farm Science Review assistant manager, said that Molly Caren's field plots have been planted using precision agriculture, and the technology will also be used for chemical applications and nutrient placement during the growing season, as well as at harvest.

"Precision technology is where the future is going in agriculture," said Sullivan. "We want to be on the forefront of production agriculture and be one of the leading, profitable farms in the region through the use of such technology."

Farm Science Review has partnered with Trimble Corporation in the use of RTK (real-time kinematic positioning) auto-guidance systems -- technology that allows for more accurate field work and paves the way for other processes such as controlled traffic that improve field conditions.

For more information on precision agriculture, log on to Ohio State University's Precision Agriculture Web site at

Field demonstrations highlighting precision agriculture technology will be held at 2:45 pm during all three days of Farm Science Review. Log on to for more details about these demonstrations and other events being held.

Farm Science Review is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the academic units of the university's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county offices of OSU Extension or participating agribusinesses. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 19-20 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21.

Candace Pollock
Nathan Watermeier