Precision ag technology can be used very effectively to aid in the battle against herbicide-resistant weeds, says John Fulton with the Auburn University Precision Agriculture Program.

“Technology can play a role, especially in the area of saving money or at least making more informed decisions,” said Fulton at a recent weed resistance meeting held in Decatur, Ala.

Scouting remains an important factor to help insure that a grower is making the most informed decisions possible, says Fulton. “Whether it’s you the grower or a consultant, getting out in the field and collecting additional information is important in making better decisions,” he says.

Tools and technology are available that can help in cost savings, he adds. “Producers need to reduce input costs but also to maximize yields and profits at the end of the year. These are the types of inputs where precision ag technologies can have an impact. Growers are spending a lot of money producing a crop, and the amount increases each year,” he says.

Timing is critical in making spray applications, says Fulton.

“But if I can put a sprayer out there applying my herbicides and squeeze in another 50 acres at the end of the day, that’s a big thing. Technologies such as guidance and automatic section control can make you more efficient, save time, and have an impact on labor and inputs. If you haven’t adopted these technologies, you can pencil them in and see how they’ll work for your operation,” he says.

Data collected from trials conducted over the years illustrate the savings that are possible from using precision agriculture technologies, says Fulton. A guidance system alone has been shown to save up to about 12 percent on average, he says.

“You can get a larger savings, and some people don’t do quite that well. Much of it is dependent on the operator and what you were using previously. But 12 percent is a big addition when you look at what you’ll invest to get into guidance,” says Fulton.

Savings from the use of automatic section control — averaged on a country-wide basis — totals about 4.5 percent. “If you look at your pesticide bill at the end of the year, and multiply it by 4.5 percent, that’s what expectations could be,” he says.