COALINGA, Calif. — West Hills Community College will be offering their Advanced Precision Farming course as an on-line condensed course with hands-on labs. The lecture part of the course will be offered online from Nov. 14, 2016 to Dec. 16, 2016 with the hands-on lab part to be offered on three weekends: Nov. 19-20; Dec. 3-4; and Dec. 10-11 at West Hills College in Coalinga, Calif.
Clint Cowden, Director of the West Hills Farm of the Future, notes “This schedule should allow access to a wider audience of industry people that want to learn more about precision ag, but can’t take the time for a full semester.”
The course will be taught by Terry Brase, new to West Hills College but with 20 plus years of experience in teaching precision ag.
“This will be a course for that person that knows a little about precision farming, just enough to be dangerous. This will be a step up to make it useful," Brase says.
Anticipated topics will include precision ag software, guidance systems, wiring harness troubleshooting, telemetry, control systems, tractor based displays/monitor and the use of unmanned aerial imaging systems (drones). The weekend laboratories will meet on the college farm and include activities such as the installation and calibration of an auto-steer guidance device, mapping and collecting field data, building and repairing a harness cable and capturing orchard images with a drone.
“The hands-on activities is an important part of the class. Any precision farming course has to include practical and real world experience with technology. These full day labs allow us to do that” says Brase.
The course is a compilation of the best activities and topics from courses that Brase has taught at other community colleges. Field collection activities come from a course called Geospatial Data Collection. Installation of an auto steer device and constructing a data cable are two activities from Advanced Precision Ag Hardware. Advanced Precision Ag Software, Digital Imagery/Remote Sensing, and Ag Spatial Analysis are other courses that will have a part in this class.