Chad Godsey works both sides of the precision agriculture fence. He helps his father, Don, and brother, Ryan, on their 3,000-acre Godsey Farm & Ranch near Wray, Colo. He also offers agronomic services, specializing in variable-rate seed and fertility mapping and farm-based yield trials through Godsey Precision Ag.
“We have several farmers in this area who collect yield data, but don’t do anything with it,” Godsey says. “We help them take that historic yield data and develop variable-rate seeding and fertility plans. Another service we offer is helping conduct on-farm research trials to help farmers hone in on the best rates for optimum yields.”
On the farm, the Godseys use a Trimble FMX monitor with an RTK signal for spring passes with a Landoll vertical tillage machine, and then make another pass with an Orthman 12-row strip-till rig before planting. They plant with one of two 12-row John Deere 1720 planters.
They use a GreenStar 2600 monitor to control seeding rates, while the FMX unit controls steering. “We have always used that setup because it was the steering control for a Cat Challenger tractor my brother had years ago,” Godsey says. “Once we had the investment in the Trimble system, we couldn’t justify the cost of replacing it. From pass to pass and even from year to year, it maintains sub-inch accuracy.”
The Godseys apply a standard rate of starter fertilizer at planting, then variable-rate sidedress 28% or 32% UAN with a coulter implement, which uses the FMX unit and a Raven controller. At harvest, the combine’s 2600 monitor follows a SF2 signal to collect yield data.
What Farmers Want From You is a series of farmer profiles that examine the scope of precision farming tools individual farmers are using on their operation, along with the frustrations that can occur with adopting new technology and how dealers can alleviate those "points of pain" for farm customers. For the latest additions to the series, visit our What Farmers Want From You feed.
Based primarily on the yield data, Godsey builds the variable-rate maps with Ag Leader’s SMS mapping system. “It’s the most color-blind software option available and they still offer free support,” he says. “Other systems require a subscription before they will help you with anything.”
Point of Pain: Spread Too Thin
As Godsey prepares and then uploads his own and clients’ map data to controllers, he’s been frustrated by the lack of support some farmers receive from their precision farming dealers.
“Farmers invest all this money and then when it comes time to use it, it doesn’t work,” he says. “In frustration, they forego using the maps. We’ve ended up troubleshooting systems for farmers so they could use our data.
“Too often, precision technicians are too inexperienced or don’t have enough time in the spring. The technology is moving so fast, and I don’t think the training and support is keeping up with it.
Compounding the problem is that some dealers are trying to offer even more service outside of their specialty, Godsey says, such as agronomic services on top of selling precision equipment.
“They are trying to do it all, when instead farmers would be better served if they remained focused on what they do best,” he says. “It’s something we’ve seen and a point of frustration for us and other farmers.”