Running a farm in today’s competitive environment requires a manager who can make appropriate decisions on many different topics. Appropriate decisions require information. In order to have information research is needed, and that takes time—something most managers don't have.
That's why farmers seek out professionals with information or the ability to do research and get that information. Some of the farm management areas where professionals are utilized is marketing, nutrient management—and, at least in the past 20 years or so, technology.
Tech expertise is used in a multitude of ways, including rate control, section shutoffs and machine guidance. Technology has gone from ancillary to completing a field operation to being a requirement.
On a day-to-day basis, systems must be set up and used properly or misapplication will result. Although most farmers could, if given enough time, figure out the setup, calibration and operation of these systems they rarely have the time or the patience to read the supporting materials and complete the required steps.
That's one reason there is a demand for someone who is skilled and experienced in making these systems perform. You can call a tech expert to do installation and setup as well as troubleshooting and repair.
I have heard a million times, "technology is great when it works, but a nightmare when it doesn’t." A well-trained and experienced tech professional can be the answer to your nightmares.
That's just the day-to-day. What about expertise to help analyze your data? Most systems are capable of recording sensor variables while the operation is being completed. The resulting data is valuable for record keeping and evaluating management practices. The software tools for processing and analysis of this operational data are still in the early stages of evolution. Consequently, the software operation can be complex.
To get maximum results the user needs to have patience and specialized skills. Again, farmers could, given enough time, figure out how to run this software and generate results. Some do. The key word is time. For most farmers, software and data management is low on the priority list. Yet, they still want to know what the data means to their bottom line. This is where a tech consultant can provide more value. The consultant can generate results and provide feedback. They can also be another set of eyes evaluating management systems and assist in the decision-making process.