From mapping to marketing, the Precision Agriculture Conference at the University of Missouri on Feb. 5 will explore new opportunities as part of MU Ag Sciences Week.

Registration for the conference at Holiday Inn Select in Columbia is at 8 a.m., and the program begins at 8:45 with welcoming remarks by John Gardner, associate dean for extension at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The keynote address at 9 a.m. features Ted Macy of MapShots, Inc. Macy is a pioneer in the field of precision agriculture, said conference coordinator Kent Shannon, MU agricultural engineer.

"He started out as a producer, and now he is a consultant," Shannon said. "He has been dealing with software since precision ag started. He has his own company that develops software for precision ag purposes."

Shannon, associate director of Missouri Precision Agriculture Center (MPAC), said Macy "will be showing us more user-friendly software that producers can glean a little more information from."

After Macy speaks, Nick Huston of Weaver, IA, will talk about how certification by the International Standards Organization (ISO) gives farmers a better opportunity to market their commodities overseas, Shannon said.

Huston manages an ISO-certified grain elevator that ensures true identity preservation of grain. "Basically these are standards that the producer would have to follow to show every step of production the crop has gone through," Shannon said. "These rules or standards are international, so folks in the European market can be sure that what they buy has met certain production practices."

Following Huston's presentation, Minnesota precision ag producer Todd Golly will address the question, "What is Precision Ag Doing For Me?"

MPAC co-director Glenn Davis, MU Extension Precision Ag specialist, will provide an update of the Farm Research and the Precision Ag Master Program.

Missouri precision ag producers Lynn Fahrmeier of Wellington, MO, and Brian Schnarre of Centralia, MO, will share the results of their on-farm research and demonstrations along with Charles Ellis, University Outreach and Extension agricultural engineer from Troy, MO.

"They're all participants in the Precision Ag Master Program," Davis said. "Lynn has been involved in using stalk counters mounted on the combine, so he can get maps of his field that tell him the number of plants that survived to the end of the season. That's an important piece of information to have, in addition to yield, if you want to find out what's going on."

Schnarre has "rigged up a conventional fertilizer spreader to do variable rate spreading," Davis said. "He has controllers now to vary, on the go, the amount of whatever he's spreading according to a map."

The conference concludes at 4:30 p.m. after a panel discussion of new opportunities for precision ag in the new millennium. For more information or to register in advance, call Kent Shannon at (573) 884-2267.

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