Just north of the Missouri River near Carrolton, Mo., Marc and Meagan Kaiser of Kaiser Family Farms run a multi-generational soybean and corn operation that uses the latest precision ag technologies to help drive on-farm efficiencies and sustainability.
Meagan, also a soil scientist, along with her husband Marc use precision ag tech to help the family identify leading soil condition indicators and potential modes of action during the growing season.
“In the tractor, we’re using precision planting tools and variable rate seeding applications based on soil sampling data that we’ve tracked by field,” says Kaiser. “And during the growing season, we track and optimize nutrients and foliar feeds that we use in the sprayer to ensure we’re appropriately applying any fungicide or herbicide.”
Putting the puzzle pieces together
Meagan believes tracking and analyzing these inputs helps the farm with continuous improvement but admits that aggregating all these data points into one central place can be challenging.
“It’s no easy task to accomplish, and it takes time,” says Kaiser. “We are always looking for new software and programs that might simplify the process. All of our equipment is John Deere, and we use their My Analyzer tools plus a third-party software that helps to piece it all together.”
Kaiser says they compile data to support future operational decisions after harvest.
“At the end of harvest, we’ll arrange the data that we’ve collected in-season and overlay that information against our yield maps to compare modes of action with the biggest improvement that can be replicated across other fields.”
Additionally, the Kaisers place a premium on using test plots to evaluate and analyze precision ag tech practices. “We are running several side-by-side comparisons by test plots, such as seed varieties and different applications, to evaluate these costs of production by practice and yield performance,” says Kaiser.
Bringing these pieces together allows the Kaisers to build a business and operational strategy that uses key insights and data from the various precision ag tech systems on the farm.
Precision ag tech also equals sustainability
Precision ag tech is also more than just dollars and cents to Marc and Meagan. They believe ag tech plays a significant role in stewarding their Missouri land and on-farm sustainability.
“Our water management is critical depending on the growing year. If we have proper irrigation and balanced soil conditions, it helps us get a few more bushels. It reinforces why we do precision sampling and why we work so hard to balance our soils: because when we have a high water holding capacity, it’s better for the crops.”
As precision ag technologies continue to move into the marketplace, Meagan believes the emergence of these platforms will play a critical role in shaping how the Kaisers manage their farm’s operation and environmental footprint.
“Precision ag tech is the next gateway in sustainability – being able to consume data instantaneously and make real-time decisions that help farmers operationally and environmentally.”