Farmers look for new farming methods at Great Bend expo

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – Steve Millage, a Colorado farmer, started farming in 1975. He’s seen how the industry has changed, for the good and for the bad.

“The state of agriculture right now is in the toilet,” he said.

However, it didn’t take Millage long to realize the value in new technology.

“I farm dry land corn,” he explained. “When I first started farming, I was hoping for 40 bushel an acre, and now I’m hoping for a 100 bushel an acre.”

Millage said it’s due to learning about new technology and starting new farming methods.

Many vendors at the Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo hope to help farmers, like Millage, with their new innovations.

“Farmers are having a tough time with the economy right now, commodity prices are down in the tank,” said Sam Thier, with VisionHawk Unmanned Aerial Systems. “They need an edge.”

Thier spent the day talking to farmers about the benefit of drones and aerial imagery on farms, but him and his brother are taking it to the next level.

“We take the image, we analyze it, we identify the problems, we quantify the issue, we put it into an easy to understand report for the producers,” Thier said.

It doesn’t stop there. The brothers are about to launch a phone app, that they say could be an agronomist’s best friend.

By holding a smartphone up to a plant and using facial recognition technology, the application would be able to identify what disease is affecting the vegetation.

Thier said he enjoys talking to farmers about the use of technology. For Millage, it’s technology that keeps him optimistic about the ag economy.

“It’ll get better, there’s new things coming out,” said Millage.

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