This isn’t your granddad’s tractor.
The machines on the 5,000 acres where Jim Schmidt grows corn, soybeans, and wheat record reams of data as they work. They log how much fertilizer they spread, how much fuel they burn, how much moisture is in the soil, and how many horsepower they’re producing.
Figuring out how to harness those metrics is a burgeoning “agri-tech” sector that aims to help farmers like Schmidt boost their profit margins — and harvest some environmental benefits, too.
“We are probably utilizing just the tip of the iceberg as far as what our data could be telling us,” said Schmidt, who left an engineering job to join his wife’s family farm near Junction City, Kansas. “Right now we have a lot of ways of collecting data, but right, wrong, or indifferent, we don’t have a lot of things to do with that data.”
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