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assess hybrid and variety performance, population effects, crop protection materials and anything else tied to yield. The Hudsons fine-tune yield data from multiple sources to gain as accurate of a production picture as possible. Com- bine-gathered data, they point out, is representative of yield in the field but it isn’t a perfect measurement of weight and moisture, Curt says.

Comparing and adjusting harvest yield data sources pro- vides them with a very accurate assessment of yield and bet-

real-time visual representation of what’s going on with each

row instead of just displaying numbers on a screen…

ter decision making information for management, as well as historical data at a very high accuracy level. Farm-wide yield data is shared only with respect to the

analysis of specific applications. Plot-yield data, for in- stance, is shared for analysis with their seed supplier to aid in future hybrid and variety selections. Yield data is also shared with the farm’s agronomic advi- sors to help build variable-rate planting prescriptions.

Future Goals The Hudsons look back at historical data to identify pro-

duction challenges, but they look forward to find the solu- tions. They’re continually looking at state-of-the-art tech- nologies that may provide some of those answers. In the short term, among the precision agriculture tools

they will consider is Precision Planting’s DeltaForce auto- matic downforce-control system for their planter. Weights and sensors on each row allow for independent response to changing soil conditions. “Advancements in planting systems, from DeltaForce

to variable-rate populations and beyond, will increasingly make farmers micromanagers,” Christopher says. “In theory, every aspect of our planting is going to be managed to finer detail than today by eliminating some, and limiting other, final yield deterrents.” Christopher would also like to test Monsanto’s Field-

Scripts variable-rate seeding prescription. Through Field- View, the product takes farmer inputs for yield-management zones with Monsanto seed-by-environment data to come up with a prescription that would be executed by the planter control system. To improve labor efficiency at harvest, an autonomous

tractor harvest system is also on the wish list. The tech- nology would enable the combine operator to communi- cate with a driverless tractor, prompting it to follow the combine in the field and pull the grain cart alongside for grain unloading.

The Hudsons are also interested in the possibilities of- PRECISIONFARMINGDEALER.COM ••••• 2013 039 The iPad gives you a

fered by Trimble’s ConnectedFarm program that allows live access to all farm data from any compatible web browser, along with wireless information transfer vehicle-to-vehicle or between office and field. The continued growth, refinement and implementation of autonomous farming systems have the potential to re- duce human capital requirements for crop production,” Christopher says. “If we can reduce a full time laborer dur- ing harvest, there’s obviously a financial savings to our op- eration for not only the labor, but the human error factor — assuming the autonomous systems are error minimal.”

Unique Dealer Relationship The Hudsons’ aggressive approach to adopting precision

farming technology has led them to forge a somewhat un- usual relationship with their precision farming specialist. While Christopher says he and his dad initially relied

on Bane-Welker and Zimmerman to help with installations and upgrades, that isn’t so much the case anymore. The Hudsons are savvy enough to handle most hardware hook-ups on their own, which means Zimmerman serves as more of an advisor/emergency contact than a typical preci- sion specialist. “Because of where we are with precision, it’s a non-tra-

ditional reliance we have on Evan,” Christopher explains. “He gets paid to make service calls and do certain things, but he’s also been able to give us firmware updates we can do ourselves, because it saves us time.” Since both Christopher Hudson and Zimmerman are

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