Speakers & Sessions

In 2019, MSU Agriculture Innovation Day will “Focus on Precision Technology That Pays.” Experts will detail how implementing technology that aids in decision-making can improve yields, increase profit margins and reduce environmental impacts.

The free event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 26, 2019, at MSU University Farms in Lansing, Michigan, features nine repeating field-based sessions focused on specific issues and includes lunch. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit each session as all sessions will repeat throughout the day. 


Smart Ag: Where Is It Going?

Making data-based decisions to improve the farm’s bottom line is advancing at a rapid pace with improvements in technology. This session explores how independent technology solutions can be combined into a suite of technology options to increase productivity and profitability on your farm. Jason Witkop of John Deere will specifically explore the use of sensors for nutrient and pesticide management and briefly discuss where trends in “Smart Ag” are headed including autonomy in agriculture. Participants will learn how smart agriculture can improve production, boost the farm’s bottom line and even help protect the environment. Participants will leave with an understanding of “Smart Ag” and whether investing in it is right for their farming operations.


There's an Ag App for That

With thousands of apps available for mobile devices that help manage nearly every aspect of an agricultural operation, farmers want to know which ones are worth their time. In this session, participants will learn about several top-rated applications and see a real-time demonstration of a field-based application. Presenters will share recommendations on several useful, free apps as well as fee-based ones available for both iOS and Android devices. 


Precision Soil Sampling: Every Farm Needs It!

Several options are available for precision soil sampling, and farmers often wonder which will work best for their operations. This session explores proper technology and protocol of soil sampling fields for precision agriculture. Participants will learn how accurate soil sampling and GPS equipment aid in assessing soil fertility levels, how grid size affects fertility maps and how fertility management zones help farmers to follow soil fertility plans that allow for precise variable rate applications of nutrients. 


Remote Sensing to Develop a Prescription Map

Having timely aerial images from drones can help in day-to-day management decisions. However, the real opportunity with drones is to use multispectral images coupled with analytics to develop comprehensive prescriptions. Using images from drones, historical field yield maps and modeling can lead to broad-based prescriptions for seeding, fertilizer applications and more. Bruno Basso from MSU will show participants how all this comes together for use on the farm.


Planter Calibration: Seed Placement Pays

Proper uniform seed placement in a crop stand is one of the most important factors determining yield and profitability. While advances in planter technology have given producers tools to improve seed placement, management is still key. This session looks at seed placement, discusses the fate of seeds not planted uniformly and presents steps producers can take to improve placement, yield and the bottom line. Participants will be able to see the impact of plant spacing on crops recently emerging following wheat and crops planted in the spring. 


The Art and Science of Variable Rate Seeding

Precision GPS systems and variable rate seeding (VRS) planters give growers access to more data than ever before, but knowing which data is needed to maximize profitability can be confusing. Growers can use multi-year harvest data, grid-based soil sampling and elevation data to create a custom planting prescription with several products available on the market. Participants will learn how to evaluate various data layers, exploring which data layers should be used to create prescriptions. Presenters will give live on-screen demonstrations creating management zones using various commercially available platforms and later show the results as they walk field demo plots planted to variable and fixed seeding rates to evaluate agronomic response to seeding rates.


Yield Monitor Data and Proper Calibration

When yield monitor data is used to make management decisions, it is critical to identify high- and low-yielding areas of each field. Determining yield rates is not possible without proper calibration of the mass flow sensor, moisture sensor, distance measurement and vibration calibration of a yield monitor. Presenters will demonstrate how yield monitors work and how to use them for developing accurate yield maps, especially when using them for variable rate nutrient application, creation of management zones and other uses. Participants will learn how to calibrate a monitor at four flow rates and how improper calibration could over- or under-estimate yield.


Feeding Crops with Sensor-Based Variable Rate Nitrogen Technology

Variable Rate Nitrogen Application (VRA-N) is a management approach for applying the correct amount of nitrogen in the right place based on spatial variability across the field. Real-time sensor-based VRA-N adjusts the application rate on the go, based on reflected light from crop foliage at sidedress time. Improvements in sensor-based VRA-N have convinced many corn growers to apply nitrogen based on this technology rather than utilizing traditional techniques to feed the crop. Presenters will evaluate and compare the economics and effectiveness of on-farm, real-time VRA-N with single-rate applications based on grid soil sampling, crop yield potential, pre-sidedress nitrogen test (PSNT) results, in-field chlorophyll readings and other best practices. Participants will have an opportunity to interact with the VRA technology, learn about the economics and accuracy of VRA-N versus single-rate applications, and take home practical recommendations for implementing VRA-N technologies.  


Using the Michigan EnviroImpact Tool when Applying Manure: Environment and Economics

Manure is a good source of nutrients for crops and it is important for farms to focus on ways to reuse this valuable resource for crop production. With better planning of manure nutrient applications, farmers can protect the environment and reduce the use of commercial fertilizers while saving money. The Michigan EnviroImpact tool shows daily runoff risk across Michigan using National Weather Service data about precipitation, soil moisture, temperature and landscape characteristics. Presenters will discuss how the tool works and how farmers can use this information as a decision-support tool to effectively plan short-term manure application.


Focus on precision: Technology that pays

July 26, 2019

The Michigan State University (MSU) Agriculture Innovation Day is an annual event that focuses in-depth education on critical topics


2018: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies