The Growing Importance Of Precision Ag

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Precision agriculture is poised for some significant market growth this year and beyond. If you don’t believe me on this point, take it from Jay Vroom, president of CropLife America.

As I mentioned in last week’s enews column, I met with Vroom for breakfast on July 8. Besides talking about the going-ons in the nation’s capital, summer plans and the upcoming fall trade show circuit, the conversation at one point went to technology. Vroom had recently visited with a grower where he learned first-hand how the grower was using technology to keep tabs on his crops.

“He had an iPad with a program on it to track where his individual seeds were planted in the field,” said Vroom. “This program not only showed where the seeds were, but noted where there were skips, too.”

Vroom went on to point out that the use of iPads was growing in the ag marketplace, which should bode well for precision agricultural practice growth going forward. “Using an iPad for a grower is a natural because it is not only portable but visual,” he said. “And if you know anything else about growers, they like being able to see things for themselves.”

Many of you will undoubtedly see this for yourselves if you are attending this week’s InfoAg Conference in Springfield, IL. Not only will visitors get the chance to see all the latest hardware and software offerings for this marketplace, but hear sessions from precision ag industry leaders and first adopters on their experiences with some fast-paced technologies. Naturally, we at CropLife will be covering much of this conference in print and online in the weeks to come.

[Poll: How important is precision agriculture to your business?]

And future growth seems assured. One of Vroom’s final points on precision ag is that the marketplace is now attraction the attention of new players. “Originally, precision ag was all about the hardware companies, but that’s starting to change,” he said. “Now, you are seeing software and app people take an interest in this market. Eventually, I think there will be little difference left between what’s called traditional and precision agriculture.”

Sfiligoj is the Editor for both CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines. He travels regularly to cover industry events and has been dedicated to the ag retail industry since he joined the staff in 2000.

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