🚜 Farming News

  • Virginia Farmers Share the Best Farming Technology

    As technology improves (and lowers in price) each year, more and more agricultural problems can be solved by adopting a new digital technology. For farmers, new technology can make their farm safer and more efficient with less work on their part. Many farmers are embracing technology that gives them data to make better decisions that make their farms more profitable and sustainable. The number of new digital products and services available can be overwhelming, so here are two of the top tried-and-true recommendations from Virginia farmers.

    Why to Consider Digital Agriculture Tools

    Agricultural drones and Geographic Information System (GIS) farming are digital agriculture tools that can make your business more profitable and can have tremendous benefits for the environment. These tools can help Virginia farmers to use less water and fertilizer and make more informed decisions about their property. Because of this, farmers will be lowering the chemical runoff from their crops into local water sources, which helps to protect the nearby ecosystem. While investing in digital agriculture can cost farmers up front, farmers make up this cost in increased efficiency in other areas.

    Using Drones for Precision Farming

    Drones aren’t just a fun toy – they can make your farm significantly more efficient! Drones allow farmers to quickly check over livestock and crops to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Checking the farm on the ground is much more time-consuming, and certain problems can be hard to spot from this vantage point. For example, using a drone to photograph crop fields regularly can help Virginia farmers to quickly and easily check for spots that aren’t being properly irrigated or that are suffering from disease.

    Choosing the Right Drones for Your Virginia Farm

    There are two primary types of agricultural drones: mapping/surveying drones and crop-dusting/spraying drones. Mapping drones make the process of surveying your crops much easier. New models have software that allows the farmer to simply indicate the area that they need surveyed. Then, the drone programs its own flight path. As it flies, it automatically takes pictures which are tagged with the GPS coordinates. Crop-dusting drones carry tanks of fertilizer that is sprayed on crops. These drones have greater precision than most tractors, which reduces the amount of fertilizer needed.

    Using GIS on Virginia Farms

    Geographic Information System (GIS) creates visualizations of data and performs analyses that help farmers to make more informed decisions for their land. GIS is great for making maps that show multiple variables or layers of data. Virginia farmers use this tool to simultaneously consider many agricultural variables: amount of rainfall, slope, soil type, direction of the wind, or elevation to name a few. This tool helps farmers to make more informed choices about where to plant specific crops as well as crop management. Since farmers can make better choices using GIS, it can help prevent the risk of erosion, drought, and flood and make the farm more sustainable. It can also be used to estimate crop yields, monitor crop health, and maximize production. 

    When used correctly, GIS data can be a tremendous resource for farming in Virginia. There are many sources of GIS data that can be accessed online for free, and other sources that charge a fee for use. To find GIS data relevant to your property and needs, check with local government agencies and universities. You can also search for private companies with repositories of GIS data.

    Big Takeaways on Digital Agriculture

    While farmers may be hesitant to spend money on new technology and data tools that they aren’t familiar with, using drones and GIS can save Virginia farmers big in the long run. Agricultural drones can add so much value to a farm, from highlighting hard-to-spot problems to minimizing human contact with fertilizer chemicals. Farmers can use GIS to make more informed decisions about where to plant specific crops, build new structures, and graze livestock that protect the land in the long run. These tools can help to make farms as efficient, sustainable, and profitable as possible. 

  • Growing Up In The Summer Gardens

    As a child, I think Easter was probably my favorite holiday. No, I didn’t receive presents like I did on Christmas morning. No, I didn’t get a bagful of candy after trick or treating in several nearby neighborhoods. Continue reading

  • Farming Isn’t Just Dirt

    It’s true, farming isn’t just about dirt. If someone asks what you think about when you hear the word farm, the most likely mental images that first appear are flat fields of golden winter wheat, high corn stalks glistening in the morning dew, or cows lined up head deep in the feed trough. Farming is more than growing crops and raising livestock. Farming teaches you lifelong emotional, mental, and physical lessons to carry with you through all walks of your life. Continue reading

  • This Fall, Get Your Virginia Farm Ready for Winter

    While Virginia winters are mild compared to those in the northern United States, cold weather can nonetheless bring many dangers for farmers. As climate change increases the intensity of storms, Virginia farmers should prepare their farms for potential emergency weather conditions. Winterizing your farm will help protect you against costly winter accidents and can save you a lot of money on your energy bill.  Continue reading

  • Farming Grapes for Virginia Wineries

    Virginia’s soil and temperate climate are ideal for growing wine grapes, but since Virginia’s wine industry has taken off in local years, local wineries can’t seem to get enough fruit! Many farmers in Virginia looking for financial security are transitioning to growing wine grapes since the demand is only going to grow in the next few years. Wineries generally buy grapes by the ton, so farmers can easily sell off their entire harvest to a single buyer. Whether you’re considering buying a farm in Virginia for the first time or transitioning your current farm to wine grapes, consider this advice on finding the right winery to sell to and how to pick the best wine grape varieties for your farm. Continue reading

  • What You Need to Know When Starting an Organic, Sustainable, or Regenerative Farm

    While farmers are affected more than most by the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change, many farmers still use farming techniques that degrade the environment. In the face of rising temperatures, desertification, and declining soil and water quality, many farmers are choosing to fight for the health of their land and the local environment by choosing safer agricultural practices. Organic farming, sustainable farming, and regenerative farming involve environmentally-conscious practices that aim to preserve or improve the health of local ecosystems. Whether you have been farming for years but want to transition to organic, sustainable, or regenerative farming to protect the health of the community and ecosystems, or you’re new to farming and excited to adopt practices that can help combat global warming, these tips will start you on the right track to operating a successful farm.  Continue reading

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