Professor says ag technology is only useful when farmers understand it

A University of Nebraska professor says emerging technology in agriculture can make farmers more efficient and practical if they understand how it works.

Santosh Pitla tells Brownfield as precision agriculture evolves, producers will need to know how the equipment will reduce input costs while it helps raise yields. “We talk about pounds-per-acre or gallons-per-acre so the operation we’re still thinking in terms of per-acre but with these machines it’s possible to go to higher resolution meaning per-square-foot of soil or per plant,” Pitla says.

Pitla uses ag robots as an example. “If there’s a problem with the internal combustion engine, farmers know how to take care of that or you can have a mechanic take care of that,” Pitla says. “If there is a high-end electrification component there, that’s going to be very expensive even for repair and maintenance not just capital costs.”

Pitla says UNL’s ag robot is a 60 horse-power, 4-wheel-drive machine that bridges the gap between operators in the field and fully autonomous equipment. 

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