Harvest Lessons: Listening to Learnings
October 29, 2018
I knew what I wanted to be at an early age. Growing up hearing stories about my grandfather – and watching my dad – nurturing and caring for the land they farmed instilled in me a love of agriculture that has become my life. There has never been anything else I wanted to do. Today I farm with my dad as well as a family friend, growing corn and beans in northeastern Illinois. At busy times, it’s all hands on deck, with my wife and daughters pitching in too.
As a fourth-generation Midwestern farmer, I’ve seen many seasons come and go. Harvest is still an exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking time – and one I never take for granted. My family and I anticipate how the hard work and decisions we make throughout the year will work out. While farming has changed a lot since I first started, the end goal of profitability has not. With high production costs and tight margins, everything we invest in has to have a positive impact on our bottom line.
Learning From The Past - Looking To The Future
One of the things I love about farming is that you never stop learning. You become a student of your fields, continually looking for new ways to get different results from the same acres. Over the years, I’ve learned many valuable lessons from my father and grandfather, and I feel it’s important for me to continue this legacy by applying all the knowledge I can to grow the success of what we’ve built together.
Even though I don’t consider myself on the cutting edge of technology, I have taken the time to become familiar with digital tools for farming. With so much data available, I feel it’s important to find the best way to learn from it. This time of year, harvest has so much to tell us, with the past season providing information that can shape the approach next season. Since I started using Climate FieldView™, it’s become much easier to navigate all of the learnings and chart my path.
Top Benefits of Technology on the Farm
Here are three reasons that I think top the list of why technology is beneficial to me and my operation:
- Decision Making
It’s hard to know how decisions are paying off without a reliable way of measuring results. I rely on FieldView for detailed insights. At harvest time, I analyze my yield often to compare harvest data to planting data and other inputs. I can instantly see what seed types performed best in specific areas of our fields. Like many farmers, we started harvesting early this year, and even while still harvesting, we’re already making decisions on seed purchases and placement, as well as other inputs, for next year. I wouldn’t want to be without FieldView as we’re doing this planning work.
- Test Plots
For years, setting up test plots and evaluating the results was a time-intensive and tedious process. The delays in the field felt endless and we had to stop our combine at the end of each plot. Digital farming technology has taken the chore out of harvesting test plots. No matter how intricate the plot designs, the results are instantly available and ready to share with my agronomy partners for immediate discussion.
- Time Savings
Looking back, I can’t count the times I thumbed through stacks of data trying to make sense of what it all meant for my operation. Through digital agriculture, all of our data is together in one place, and with tools like yield analysis, insights that used to take days or weeks to find now take seconds or minutes. While there never seem to be enough hours in the day, it’s nice to get a little time back to focus on my favorite people – my family.
My wife and I have three daughters at home, and my father, mother, son and married daughter and her family all live nearby. So when good things happen, like the end of a successful harvest, we get together and take time to appreciate it. I encourage you to do the same! Whether you are still harvesting or have just finished, I wish you good luck and high yields. All the best as you celebrate this important time of year and look forward to seasons ahead.
About The Author
With nearly 40 years of agricultural experience, Scott Friestad farms corn and soybeans near Morris, Ill. with his dad, Robert. He and his wife, Kristin have four daughters, Morganne (her husband, Jace), Mackensie, Marissa and Maddie, a son, Mitchell, and a grandson, Isaiah. In his spare time, Scott enjoys spending time with his family and cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals.