Precision agriculture good fit for current economics

Row crop farmers are having to play their cards close to their vests given the current low commodity prices and the growing prospects the outlook may not get much better any time soon.

That doesn't mean they have to stop spending completely, according to those who make their living providing precision agriculture technology. The new technology doesn't cost anywhere near as much as a tractor but it can significantly improve efficiency and yield.

That was the message Ag Leader representatives were giving growers who attended the Ames, Iowa-based company's "Where Technology Meets Dirt" Road Tour in Clarksdale, Miss., and in Indiana this summer.

"I think the adoption (of precision farming technology) has slowed a little bit because of the current commodity markets, but, realistically, this is where we see some of the best sales opportunities," says Bret Berghoefer, Ag Leader director of sales and marketing. "That's because growers are not looking at large capital expenses such as tractors or combines.

"They're really trying to optimize the equipment that they have, and that's where a lot of this precision farming technology comes into play to optimize their planter, to optimize their sprayer, reduce input costs. Those who really want to optimize their equipment are taking advantage of the technology today regardless of the commodity markets to continue to advance their profitability at their farms."

Berghoefer says Ag Leader's research and conversations with growers shows most of its equipment has an ROI of less than two years. "They can see that they're reducing their input costs; they're spending less time in their fields; they're managing their data better. So they can see that return, and we show them that it might be a $5,000, $6,000 or $10,000 investment, but they'll get that that investment back in two to three years with a lot less expenditures on input costs."

During the Road Tour event, Ag Leader representatives demonstrated how the company's 2015 line of products and services can be used on their farms.

Al Meyers, president and founder of Ag Leader Technology, helped pioneer the precision farming industry with the development of the Yield Monitor 2000, the first widely adopted and successful piece of precision farming equipment, nearly 30 years ago.

From Meyers' work bench in his garage in Iowa, Ag Leader has grown into a company with several hundred employees located at its headquarters in Ames and in offices across the country.

For more information about the company, go to



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