Goyings Farms strives to be a leader in innovative agricultural practices that incorporate precision and conservation. We were one of the first large farms in the area to successfully implement no-till planting practices into our soybean and wheat crop rotations. We were the first farm in Paulding county, and the second farm in the state of Ohio, to utilize Real Time Kinematic (RTK) auto steer in our farming operation. This technology not only allows our operation to be more efficient but also allowed us to be the first farm to incorporate strip-tillage into our corn production.
Strip-tillage has allowed our operation to significantly reduce the number of passes across the ground in preparation for a corn crop. Contrary to our historical practices of up to five passes across the land; fertilize, plow, disc and land level twice, we now cross the ground once. Our strip-tillage practices differ largely from some other strip-till practices in the area as well. While many other strip-tillers work the ground from 6-8 inches deep in a narrow band, our strip tiller works the ground between 12-14 inches deep. Due to the sub-soiler based shank that our tool utilizes, the soil profile between the strips is also lifted breaking the compaction layers while minimizing surface cover disturbance. Also incorporated in these strips is our fertilizer application.
The fertilizer required, based on soil tests, not guesses, is placed directly in the tilled strip. 2014 marks the first year in which variable rate application has been added to the toolbar. Now, all fields are sampled on 2.5 acre grids. This ensures that the correct amount of fertilizer is placed on every changing acre. By doing this, the fertilizer is readily available to the corn plant that will be planted directly on the strip in the spring. The accuracy of this placement is only possible due to RTK auto steer. RTK auto steer give us pass to pass and year to year accuracy of less than an inch.
Our auto steer system also allows us to capitalize on another important conservation practice, controlled traffic. By synchronizing many of the sizes of our pieces of machinery we can benefit from a controlled traffic program. The basic idea of controlled traffic is to keep all tracks across the ground limited to a specific set of “tram lines” across a field; thereby eliminating the compaction from the vast majority of the field. While on the subject of compaction, it is also worth noting that nearly all of our machinery utilize track undercarriages to minimize compaction of the soil.
Another piece of machinery used to aid in our precision farming practices is a set of sprayer booms mounted to one of our tracked Cat tractors. The main reason for this purchase was to eliminate much of the compaction that had been occurring due to the use of a wheeled sprayer operated by a local co-op. In addition to the compaction issue, the new sprayer also allows us to lower our fertilizer and chemical costs with an auto boom system. This system controls the application rates and coverage areas of the sprayer based on GPS guidance. The system minimizes overlapping of chemicals and fertilizers by automatically turning off boom sections if they are crossing an area that has already been previously sprayed.
Finally, we utilize GPS based yield mapping on our combines, scales on our grain cart and truck scales at our grain site. This allows us to keep precise records of exactly how much crop was harvested from each field, as well each section of the field.