How to Manage Technology Integration on Your Farm
November 7, 2016
Jordan Wallace spends the better part of every working day helping growers navigate their way to technology solutions. The co-owner of GPS Ontario helps growers with the planning, evaluation and execution necessary to make precision ag work.
Wallace encounters many growers who have the tools, but lack the guidance to execute. “Using some of these tools companies put out there is crucial,” he says, noting one example of a grower who was managing farm data on a USB drive, which meant every time he copied a file over the system would duplicate steps, creating errors and more work. “The value of data increases when you manage it more often. Imagine the difference it makes if you pick up errors at the beginning of the season rather than the end!”
Support Pays Off
Some growers work with independent agronomists and crop advisors to help them deal with problems unique to their operation. Others prefer to rely on retail service providers. Either way, Wallace’s advice is: Make sure they know the business. “You have to select someone who understands what it means to provide support,” he says. “Guys will say they can do this but they’ve never done it and you spend a year figuring this out. We run into the situation of being called in but we can’t get at the data.”
One of the greatest advantages to working with an independent advisor is the way they push growers toward long-term planning, says Wallace, a Trimble re-seller with 800-1,000 farmer customers with about 150,000 acres. “The most common mistake I see is that guys don’t look three to five years out when they’re buying. They think about now and their pocket book,” he says. “They buy something basic and pretty soon it doesn’t do all the other things they want it to do.”
Wallace advises growers to ask the question, ‘Where do I want my farm to be in five years?’ That vision becomes the starting point, after which you assemble the team and technology to make it happen.