Autonomy is an evident theme in the list of top articles, blogs, podcasts and videos posted to the Precision Farming Dealer website in 2021.

Our content engagement editor sent me a list of 33 items in 8 categories that were our highest read, watched and listened to items of 2021, and 19 are about precision agriculture companies’ investments in autonomy or autonomous products. As I said about an autonomy timeline compiled by Bill Lehmkuhl, owner of Precision Agri-Service, an independent precision dealer group headquartered in Ohio, autonomy is closer — and more necessary — than you may think. (By the way, the autonomy timeline was one of our top-performing Technology Corner segments this year.)

Precision Farming Dealer talked with Lehmkuhl for another top-performing piece of content, the article titled “Preparing Your Dealership to Sell & Service Autonomous Equipment,” in which he pointed out the many critical hurdles ahead of his customers that he believes autonomy will address. Autonomous farm equipment has the potential to reduce labor shortages, get more done in a narrow planting window, take away some of the many tedious jobs to free up people managing operations and reduce soil compaction by utilizing lighter equipment.

It makes sense that so many dealers are looking at these articles as they prepare their businesses for an autonomous future. It helps to draw on a network of peers when making decisions, and even if the future is uncertain, it’s better to start thinking about autonomy now, rather than be left behind as customers seek dealerships with autonomous offerings. I think the title of our #4 most read article of 2021, although it’s not directly about autonomy, sums up the mentality that dealerships should have as agriculture becomes increasingly automated: “Don’t Rely on Rearview Success to Drive Precision Prosperity of the Present.” 

Keep scrolling to see our list of top articles, videos and podcasts of 2021. I hope you discover at least one item on this list that captures your interest and gives you a new piece of knowledge to help you in managing and growing your precision business. Happy New Year, and here’s to a successful 2022!

Top 5 Articles of 2021

  1. John Deere Execs Reveal Details on Green-On-Green See & Spray Ultimate
    During the John Deere second quarter 2021 earnings call, Cory Reed, president of production and precision ag, revealed Deere’s See & Spray Ultimate, a green-on-green solution powered by AI, was being tested and scheduled in limited production for 2022.
  2. 9th Annual Precision Awards Program Honors Top North American Dealer
    The 2021 recipient of Precision Farming Dealer’s 9th Annual Most Valuable Dealership was Van Wall Equipment, based in Perry, Iowa. Farm customers, precision equipment suppliers and employees nominated a total of 14 U.S. and Canadian dealerships for the award in 2021.
  3. Preparing Your Dealership to Sell & Service Autonomous Equipment
    Autonomy is on the horizon for the ag equipment industry. In this article from April 2021, two dealers provide insight into how dealerships should plan for the future and an autonomous equipment fleet.
  4. Don’t Rely on Rearview Success to Drive Precision Prosperity of the Present
    Three highly successful dealerships — all previously recognized by Precision Farming Dealer’s Most Valuable Dealership program — share how they’ve worked tirelessly to not only maintain the standards and innovation they were initially recognized for, but also improve on them.
  5. Cash Flow, ROI are Key Drivers in the Future of Farming
    Minnesota grower Zach Johnson details the farm continuity plan he’s working on with his father and what’s driving his decision-making as he prepares to take over the 2,600-acre operation.

Top 5 Blogs of 2021

  1. Adapting to a Shifting Market
    Executive editor Kim Schmidt comments on how dealerships are “mainstreaming” precision through the whole dealership on the heels of the announcement of CNH Industrial’s acquisition of Raven Industries.
  2. Battling Burnout and Building Stability
    During a roundtable discussion at the 2021 Dealership Minds Summit, a group of dealers came to the consensus that call volume is the leading cause of burnout for their precision teams. Kim Schmidt shares tips from their discussion to battle burnout in this blog.
  3. Using Ag Data to Prove Crop Damage in Court
    Attorney Todd Janzen of Janzen Agricultural Law in Indianapolis explains how precision agriculture data led to a $485,644 verdict for the farmers he represented in a court case over crop loss and field tile damage.
  4. Are NFTs the Answer to the Ag Data Ownership Question?
    The NFT, short for non-fungible token, craze hit an all-time high in 2021. In this blog, Todd Janzen examined how NFTs could protect farmers’ ownership rights to their data.  
  5. Put the Pro in Proactive, Not Procrastinate
    Former Precision Farming Dealer managing editor Jack Zemlicka shares some of the pre-planting shortages that dealers encountered in the spring due to supply chain disruptions.

Top 5 Most Listened To 2021 Podcast Episodes

  1. Succeeding with Interns from Outside of Ag
    Karl Huebner, integrated solutions manager for Deere dealer Hutson Inc., and Andrew McCallister and Connor Smith, former Hutson interns who were hired on full time, share how they are attracting people from outside of agriculture as interns and mainstreaming precision through their internship program.
  2. Pairing Predictable Precision Tasks with the Power of Robotics and Automation
    Michael Langemeier and Michael Boehlje with Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture detail what role dealers will play in bringing next-generation technologies to their customers, along with the types of skill sets needed to adapt to the changing farm technology landscape. 
  3. How Precision Technology Is Creating More Environmentally Friendly Agriculture
    Curt Blades, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ senior vice president of agriculture and forestry, talks about key findings from a precision agriculture study conducted by AEM and other organizations and how they translated their results into terms people outside of ag will understand.
  4. Rantizo Introduces New Model for Drone Adoption
    Michael Ott, CEO of Rantizo, shares some background on the ag tech company and how they are looking to grow their network of drone service and work closely with precision farming dealers who already have established relationships with farm customers.
  5. The Future of Farming with Bear Flag Robotics
    Igino Cafiero, CEO and co-founder of Bear Flag Robotics, discusses Bear Flag’s acquisition by Deere & Company this year, how dealers will interact with Bear Flag’s technology, what’s next in the development of the company’s autonomous offerings and the future of farming.

Top 5 Most Watched Videos of 2021

  1. Rantizo 3 Drone Swarm Water Trial
    Drone pilots with Rantizo conducted a water trial using a 3 drone swarm at the 2021 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. 
  2. Combine Syncs with Driverless Tractor using Raven Industries' OMNiDRIVE
    Raven Industries demonstrated OMNiDRIVE, an aftermarket technology kit for autonomous driving, at the 2021 Farm Progress Show. The kit allowed a driverless Case IH Magnum tractor pulling a grain cart to sync with a Case IH AFS 7140 combine.
  3. 360 Yield Center Introduces Autonomous Irrigation System
    In this Technology Corner segment, Gregg Sauder, president of 360 Yield Center, demonstrated the 360 RAIN autonomous irrigation system at the 2021 Farm Progress Show in August.
  4. Hemisphere GNSS Unveils Outback Guidance MaveriX Guidance & Steering Software 
    Roland Moelder, product manager at Hemisphere GNSS, explains the new Outback Guidance MaveriX guidance and steering software that can be used during planting, spraying and application. 
  5. How Product Specialists Can Help Your Sales Team
    John Crumbaugh, combine specialist with Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners, a 27-store John Deere dealership with locations in Missouri and Illinois, explains why his dealership has adopted a "specialist" model and what benefits it brings to the sales side of the business.