USDA’s Days Suitable for Fieldwork

(Terry) I am Terry Griffin. I am the Cropping Systems Economist here at Kansas State University. Today we’re talking about some of the work that we’ve done in 2015 with Days Suitable for Field Work that come from USDA. Today though, we’re adding some information about Kansas corn. We’re talking about Days Suitable Field Work and harvest progress, planting progress to answer the question, how much equipment do we need to farm X number of acres? So, that is if I’ve got 2,000 acres and we’re farming corn, sorghum, soybeans and wheat, how many tractors, how many combines do we need to do that in a timely manner? The majority of my research is in precision ag. And I often get the question of farm sizes. Is this only for our larger farmers, or can smaller, medium size farmers take advantage of that? Well, you may have heard a lot about Big Data in the media recently. And we would argue that Big Data is an opportunity for even the smaller and medium sized farmers to have an advantage with this. And the reason is if you think about how larger farmers have information generated from their own farms that they can use for decision making processes, well now with Big Data being that farms are aggregating data into a community both smaller and medium size farmers can take full advantage of that opportunity. And so to combine data in a lot of ways has given us information about not only the product and how it performs in its environment, but also how it performs across a variety of farmers. So now with Big Data in the community aggregation of that data, the farm become a variable. So now we know how products perform across multiple environments and for different farm management practices. And so that’s telling us how products, what products should be used for different farms, in different locations. So in particular Kansas, if you’re…those of you in Kansas know this full well, but those outside of the state may not know that Kansas has a lot of different climatic regions, OK? Northeast Kansas is very different than southwest Kansas or southeast Kansas for that matter too. So, in the last many years of agriculture research we’ve been moving to state level, multi-state level recommendations for farming practices moving away from that localized information. Precision ag and in particular Big Data is helping us to get more localized recommendations for farming which has been a good thing especially for Kansans. I would encourage you to visit our website in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. All of my research and extension outreach is on this website, as well as my colleagues, so there is a full spectrum of agricultural information across crops, livestock, policy and so forth.

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