The Latest Farm Tech to Consider When Buying Acreage

First Financial Bank
If your farm is looking to expand through a land purchase, it’s obviously important to check out factors like soil quality, drainage, irrigation rights, and existing structures. We also encourage you to take a hard look at the technology capabilities a prospective property offers.

Outdated tractors or lack of infrastructure elements like pole barns and 3-phase power can drag down productivity on even the best acreage. The new precision agriculture innovations – from AI-guided smart farm equipment to aerial crop analytics, ground sensor networks, and automated irrigation – can be complete game changers for your efficiency and bottom line.

That’s why progressive growers now weigh factors like machine age and tech infrastructure every bit as heavily as soils and barn conditions when considering a purchase. Agricultural advancement has always come from adopting the latest tools and thinking, and the rapid pace of today’s emerging technologies demands planning if you want to maximize success when scaling up your acres.

As your financing partner, First Financial Bank aims to help build that foundation for long-term prosperity on purchased ground. As a rule of thumb, if key machinery like tractors and combines are more than 10 years old, it’s likely time to budget for upgrades after purchase. The newest systems highlighted in this guide show how rapidly modern technology can transform an operation. We think you’ll get excited at the possibilities after reviewing the innovations that might fit your situation. First Financial stands ready to help you assess the best land you can buy.

Precision Tractor Automation

Newer tractor models boast GPS auto-steering, telemetric data streams to the cloud, and even artificial intelligence to optimize inputs and yields. While such “farm tech” carries higher sticker prices, the efficiency gains often provide a rapid return on investment. For example, GPS-enabled tractor guidance provides centimeter-level accuracy in field passes, minimizing double coverage that wastes inputs and reduces yield potential. AI optimization of hybrid selection, planting rates, and fertilizer can often improve yields. Of course, investing in data connectivity also allows seamless monitoring from your smartphone for real-time analytics and early diagnostics.

Aerial Crop Analytics

Advanced aerial data solutions are another emerging technology rapidly being adopted by leading-edge farmers. Relatively affordable drones equipped with multispectral imaging sensors and analytics can scan your crops every week – detecting subtle variation in soil conditions, moisture stress, emerging pests, or nutrient deficiencies down to one-square meter resolution. The season-long data stream and digital models help guide highly targeted fertilizers, irrigation, fungicides, and more for substantially improved yields.

View land purchases as opportunities to build your capabilities while scaling production.

Ground-Based Moisture & Nutrient Monitoring

Efficiency isn’t limited to the air, either. New moisture monitoring technology is making wise water use easier than ever. Companies now offer affordable wireless soil probe networks for installation across your fields. The probes constantly measure moisture levels in the root zone and transmit the readings to an easy-to-use phone app. Checking crop water status anytime on your smartphone helps determine precisely when and how much to irrigate each part of your acreage. Efficient irrigation scheduling can improve yields while saving substantially on water expenses. The payback period more than justifies the reasonable installation cost.

Irrigation Automation

Major efficiency and labor savings come from add-on automation controls for your existing pivot, lateral or pipe grid irrigation – starting, stopping, and adjusting speed/flow based on soil moisture data and weather conditions without human intervention. This allows concentration of water volumes where and when needed most. In this type of technology, soil moisture sensor data is continuously uploaded to the cloud and assessed by algorithms that activate specific valves and zones just before deficiency levels are reached. GPS positioning allows the systems to start up, accelerate, decelerate, and stop in precise locations for optimized uniformity and efficiency. Pressure transducer feedback loops also automatically adjust pump speeds and valve openings based on flow rates and pipe conditions.

Conclusion

The breadth of agricultural innovations today enables unmatched precision management. Adopting these technologies through equipment upgrades or integration into newly purchased farming properties is key to profitability. Equal weight must now be given to technology foundations and infrastructure when considering farmland acquisitions – not just soils, acreage scale, and existing structures. Prioritizing advanced equipment and analytics adoption will maximize productivity and returns on investment.

The bottom line is that agriculture is being revolutionized by increased connectivity, automation, AI, and sensing. Carefully evaluating where these force multipliers can be integrated into your operation is essential to stay profitable. View land purchases as opportunities to build your capabilities while scaling production.

As you work with your First Financial lender to evaluate financing for a potential farmland purchase, be sure to discuss budgets for modernizing equipment and technology as well. With the right infrastructure, each new acre under management will become an additional profit center. First Financial stands ready to help build the foundation for success.

 

Want to learn about other trends in agriculture? Check out this article. Ready to discuss your plans? Let’s chat!

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