Technology curve appears to be bending toward younger farmers

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Farmers can have a tremendous amount of information about their crops with the click of a mouse or tap of an app these days. Whether they want or can use that knowledge is often a function of age and technological bent.

That’s what Jeff Hollowell, field agronomist for Mississippi for DuPont Pioneer, discovered when he talked to growers about Pioneer’s new Encirca Yield services platform at the company’s Union City, Tenn., Field Day, July 30.

“There’s been a wide range of response from people who are on the tail end of their careers and are not interested in new technology all the way to the son or grandson it’s being handed off to who are very interested in this new technology,” said Hollowell, who manned the Encirca booth for DuPont Pioneer during the field day.

DuPont Pioneer's Dan Uppena briefed growers on the features of the new Encirca Yield service platform during one of several educational sessions at the field day

Hollowell said he and other Pioneer representatives talked to field day attendees outside the session, asking them if they had an iPhone and showing them the process of loading the app to their phone and signing up for an account.

 “There was quite a bit of interest in how to go through that process from the younger side of the crowd,” he said. “Their interest, for the most part, was the field-applied side or going out into the field, take the note, which is what that app is used for, and have that point geo-referenced so they can go back to the same location.”

That would be instead of them having to back to the office and write that information down so it saves them time and they’re concluded with that information right there in the field. And that also allows them to share that information with someone in their farming operation or close to their operation. That was one of the key points they were asking about – can I share this information by email?”

Transferring information via and app or other messaging device would allow the other person to act on that information in a much more efficient manner.

The app allows for free texting and photo uploads. “The growers we talked to today wanted to know if they could take a picture of an insect or a disease and send it to someone,” he noted. “The recipient could then help them identify it and possibly treat for it.”

While Palmer amaranth or pigweed is a prime topic of discussion in the Mid-South, Hollowell didn’t hear it referenced as much in Union City. “The conversation was more about weeds or insects in general,” he said. “If you go 100 miles north or south of here the discussion will be more specific to that weed. Right here in this area, it’s not so much.”

The Encirca Yield platform relies on several innovative enabling technologies that mimic crop production throughout the growing season, according to a DuPont Pioneer spokesman. Several universities and USDA are providing enhanced crop modeling, advanced soil mapping and hyper-local weather data.

One of the key features is the nitrogen management service Encirca provides. Pioneer agronomists estimate growers can lose an estimated $50 to $60 per acre by applying too much or too little nitrogen. To learn more, visit http://farmindustrynews.com/precision-farming/predicting-nutrients-yield-management or encirca.pioneer.com.

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