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Start with your needs, not the tech – Arable Farming – Oliver Wood

Identifying which crop management issues you want to address should be the first step when considering an agritech investment on-farm, says Oliver Wood ...

Oliver is precision technology manager at Hutchinsons, which has its own precision farming system called Omnia.

“There may be a fundamental problem which needs sorting out before any gains can be made in new technology, such as the need for drainage or addressing a pH issue. By understanding your farm’s agronomy needs, you can then devise a system which helps you improve performance.”

Increasingly, Mr Wood works with machinery dealers, technology providers and farmers to ensure any investment will deliver gains in production or improvements in soil health.

“It is important for the farmer to know what is possible and available and the technology providers to understand the needs of the farmer,” he says.

“Working with the local dealer is vital as they will be the main suppliers of tractors, harvesters and other equipment that can be linked to provide as much useful and usable data as possible. Compatibility of systems is vital if you are to get the most out of your investment in agritech or precision technology. It is also important to remember excellent agronomy knowledge is essential if you are to best interpret the data you generate or use precision technology effectively. For many, that will involve the use of a tech-savvy agronomist.”

Variable seed rates have delivered some of the most impressive agritech gains, according to Mr Wood, and are a good entry point for investment in precision systems.

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