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Precision Agriculture Summit scheduled Jan. 16-17

NDSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering is a co-sponsor for the Precision Agriculture Summit at the Farmers Union Conference Center in Jamestown on Jan. 16-17, 2012.

The summit is intended to be an opportunity for sharing precision agriculture research, technology and needs among farmers, industry, consultants and university personnel. The agenda features presentations on the economics of precision agriculture, GPS and wireless communication applications, sprayer and planting equipment, mapping, and in-field and remote sensing technologies.

The agenda and other information for the summit are at

Terry Griffin, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture associate professor of economics, will discuss the effects of economics on farmer adoption of precision agriculture. He specializes in production economics and row-crop farm management.

Lowell Catlett, New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences dean, chief administrative officer and professor, is an internationally known futurist who will speak about technologies and implications on the way we will live and work in the future. Catlett talks to corporate and association audiences internationally. He will offer his thoughts on trends in agriculture and the environment.

Col. Stephen Lynch, Department of Defense at the Pentagon, will speak about food security and its implications on agriculture. He will discuss the interactions of food, energy, water, global climate change and world economics with political systems on current and future food supplies. Lynch also will discuss how precision agricultural technologies can impact food security issues.

Scott Shearer, Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering chair, will moderate a panel discussing the equipment available for precision spraying and planting. Shearer's research includes controller area network applications for seeding equipment control systems, evaluating the accuracy of yield-monitoring technologies, developing enhanced sensing techniques to improve the accuracy and quality of yield-monitoring data, and assessing and quantifying machinery limitations on variable-rate applications.

John Pointon, director of sales and marketing with OmniSTAR Inc. of Houston will present information on the condition and health of the GPS. In addition to sharing GPS differential correction services available from OmniSTAR, Pointon will discuss issues surrounding the potential impacts of proposed high-speed wireless Internet on GPS signal reception.

Lanny Faleide, president and CEO of Satshot in Fargo, will talk about future mobile developments in precision, geospatial and remote-sensing technologies. Satshot focuses on satellite imagery and data analysis for agribusinesses and the crop insurance industry. He also will present details about Satshot's mobile application for use with the iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones.

John Nowatzki, NDSU Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist, will summarize current in-field crop sensing equipment and its uses for fertilizer applications. Nowatzki will compare the capabilities of available commercial crop sensors and discuss how this technology can be used to manage fertilizer applications during the growing season.

Several industry representatives are on the summit agenda to describe a variety of precision agriculture technologies. A panel of industry representatives will share information about current and developing telematics technologies. Telematics is the real-time transfer of data between mobile farm vehicles and farm-control centers. Telematics also is used to communicate information between mobile farm vehicles and equipment manufacturer technicians.

The data is communicated by cellular and other wireless radio signal networks. Telematics is used to transfer variable-rate and as-applied maps, weather data, precise locations and areas covered.

Another industry panel will discuss the challenges and obstacles to mapping applications critical to precision agriculture. Farmers and other agricultural businesses use geographic information system (GIS) computer programs to manage the GPS-generated digital data acquired during field operations. The system was developed by agribusinesses for efficient crop production management. GIS programs are used to manage, manipulate and evaluate remote sensing, soil variability, in-field sensors and yield-monitor data. All of this data is used in GIS programs to facilitate variable-rate applications of crop input products.

Other conference sponsors include the Red River Valley Research Corridor, North Dakota Farmers Union and Lake Region State College's Dakota Precision Ag Center. 

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North Dakota State University
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