Case IH and Cargill AgHorizons have joined forces in a project designed to provide answers to cost-benefit questions about precision agriculture.

The goal of the "FarmTwo" project is to discover what combination of crop inputs, agronomic practices and technology will yield the best return-on-investment for producers.

FarmTwo, sponsored by two leaders in agriculture, seeks to gather data and information from carefully controlled sites in Illinois, Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota and Nebraska. Producers in these locations will use various precision agriculture tools to measure the results achieved by new agricultural production techniques and technologies.

"Most of us recognize the potential benefits from precision agriculture," said Don Lamker, project coordinator for Cargill AgHorizons and manager of the company's precision agriculture program.

"We know that precision agriculture should boost farm productivity, help manage costs and protect our natural resources," he said. "But we need more hard data to quantify those benefits."

FarmTwo builds on the successful "FarmOne" research project that Case IH initiated in 1997. The new, joint project is an effort to capitalize on what is known through Case IH Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) and Cargill AgHorizons' InSite precision agriculture program. "We want to gain an even more complete understanding of the benefits of precision agriculture and then pass that knowledge along to our farm customers so that we can offer them the best guidance based on the best information," said Lamker.

Lamker noted, in today's agricultural environment, farmers have little room for error in their decision-making.

"The stakes are too high to make uninformed decisions about what seed varieties to plant, what herbicides to use, what fertilizers to apply and where," he said. "We want to take the guesswork out of precision agriculture and, as a result, improve the farmer's bottom line. Our job is to help our customers make intelligent decisions that are right for them, not for someone else."

Over the next three years, Case IH and Cargill AgHorizons will re-examine every aspect of precision agriculture to evaluate what makes the most economic sense for farmers. At the same time, this research project will test new technologies and crop management methods.

The selected research sites and cooperating farm producers are: the Phil Sundblad farm, near Albert City, IA; the Troy Lindstrom and Earnest Johnson farms, near Holdrege, NE; the Merril Stagemeyer farm, near Arapahoe, NE; the Salics brothers farm, near Blue Earth, MN; the Kahle brothers farm, near Chatsworth, IL; the Paul Taylor farm, near Maple Park, IL; and the Dave and Darryl Enns and Alan and Gary Kroeker farms, near Elm Creek, Manitoba.

"Good decision-making must be based on solid information," Lamker said. "FarmTwo will further document what works best under what field conditions. Anyone interested in learning more about FarmTwo or precision agriculture should contact their local Cargill AgHorizons Farm Service Center or Case IH dealer," Lamker said.

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