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Forum staff reports, Published May 21 2010

NDSU schedules expos on precision agriculture

The North Dakota State University Extension Service has scheduled Precision Agriculture Expos in conjunction with the NDSU Research Extension Center Field Day tours on July 12 at Casselton and July 14 at Dickinson.

The expos will include educational presentations, exhibits, field demonstrations, ride and drive demonstrations and user sharing sessions.

Precision agriculture includes management practices that allow farmers to be more precise in field operations and apply crop inputs more efficiently. A global positioning system is the basis of most precision agriculture practices. The most common GPS applications in farming are operator-assisted tractor guidance systems and completely automated steering systems.

“However, farming in North Dakota includes an increasing number of other precision agriculture applications, such as variable-rate fertilization, crop yield monitoring, section and row control on planters and sprayers, precision irrigation and GPS-guided field drainage equipment,” says John Nowatzki, NDSU Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist. “Specialized farm geographic information system (GIS) computer programs also are an essential element of precision farming. GIS programs are used to correlate crop and soil factors with satellite imagery. Farmers use remote-sensing products and in-field sensing technologies with a GPS to manage individual field sections based on potential productivity.”

The primary goals of the expos are to explore energy efficiency aspects of precision agriculture management practices and demonstrate precision agriculture technologies. More information and a registration form are available on the NDSU precision agriculture expo website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/agmachinery. The public also is invited to visit and contribute to the expo Facebook site at www.facebook.com/pages/NDSU-Precision-Agriculture/

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Expo organizers encourage people to join the discussion groups on the Facebook site to provide input into planning the events and activities for the expos.

The events at both locations will begin with the regular field day crop plot tours from 9 a.m. to noon. The tours include reports by various NDSU research scientists. More information about the Casselton field day tour is available at www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/casselto/ and the Dickinson tour at www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/dickinso/.

The precision agriculture expos will follow lunch with educational presentations from 12:30 to 2 p.m. There will be a variety of concurrent educational presentations, including the economics of precision agriculture, satellite imagery delivered on cell phones, GPS problems and concerns, online field mapping services, precision manure application practices and remote-sensing options for agriculture.

Equipment and technology companies that sell precision agricultural technology will conduct field demonstrations, have displays and feature ride and drive demonstrations. Field demonstrations at both locations will include tractor and machine guidance, section control on sprayers, row control on planters and variable-rate fertilization. At the Casselton expo, there also will be field drainage software and equipment demonstrations. The Dickinson expo will have precision haying and manure application demonstrations.

Indoor and outdoor exhibit areas will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An evening meal will be served from 5 to 7 p.m.

Industry representatives must register for exhibit space and to participate in the ride and drive demonstrations. Industry representatives must register by June 11.

People interested in attending the expos also are encouraged to register. Only people who register in advance (by July 5) will be eligible for door prizes.

Those who register will receive regular updates about the activities planned at the expos.

For more information, contact Nowatzki at (701) 231-8213 or by e-mail at john.nowatzki@ndsu.edu. Those in western North Dakota can contact Roger Ashley at the Dickinson Research Extension Center by telephone at (701) 483-2348, ext. 106, or by e-mail at roger.ashley@ndsu.edu.