University of Missouri Extension is offering an eight-week online course on managing farm machinery using precision agriculture, Jan. 12 through March 4.

“The course will provide participants the tools to develop a plan for incorporating precision agriculture technology into existing equipment lines,” said Kent Shannon, MU Extension natural resource engineer.

The focus of this course will be the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to control machinery and store information, he said. “Planters, combines, and fertilizer- and spray-application equipment are now commonly equipped with Global Positioning Systems.”

The class will be available in three delivery formats: Interactive Television, Internet or a combination of both.

Participants can view the course’s 12 ITV sessions at the Mexico Telecenter, 2900 Doreli Lane, or the Portageville Telecenter, 147 State Highway T. Others may opt to use the Internet for some or all of these sessions.

The ITV sessions meet 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 12 to Feb. 23.

The last four sessions will take the form of one all-day hands-on lab Feb. 25 at the Delta Research Center in Portageville, Mo., and March 4 in Columbia, Mo. (location to be determined). This lab will cover setup, diagnosis and maximizing the use of GPS technology.

The $300 course fee covers online access, handout material and participation in the hands-on lab, which includes lunch.

Registration deadline is Jan. 5.

For a registration form and program information, see http://extension.missouri.edu/boone/precisionag. For more information, contact Kent Shannon at (573) 445-9792.