C Spire targets partnerships to boost precision agriculture business
The carrier carried out a precision agriculture trial in Mississippi last year as part of the firm’s Tech Movement initiative
Regional carrier C Spire, which is headquartered in Ridgeland, Miss., aims to partner with farmers and smart equipment firms to provide network and information technology support for precision agriculture applications, the company said in a statement.
Last year, C Spire partnered with Precision King and JF Phillips Farm to test the approach on row crops in Tchula and Louise to determine if new automated irrigation techniques could increase selected row crop yields, conserve groundwater resources and increase per-acre net revenue for farmers.
The final test results on more than 130 acres of crops using the fully-automated furrow-style irrigation solution show that yields rose and net revenue per acre for soybeans jumped by $94.90 and by $24.92 per acre for corn while water usage declined by up to 27% for soybeans and up to 55% for corn, said Nick King, president of PrecisionKing.
The trial was part of the C Spire Tech Movement initiative, launched in 2017 with the main aim of transform the operator’s service area. Precision agriculture, smart farming and the agricultural Internet of Things (IoT) are key elements of the company’s initiative.
PrecisionKing said it plans a commercial launch of the service in time for the 2019 growing season, King said, noting that an optimal watering schedule helps retain nitrogen content in the soil, boosting yields and dramatically reducing water usage. “We’ve cracked the code on how to increase yields, save water and help farmers achieve higher profits,” he added.
“We’re really encouraged by the results that showed a dramatic decrease in water usage – about 15 million gallons – with increased yields and profits,” said Jack Phillips, owner of JF Phillips Farms, a row crop farming operation in the lower Mississippi Delta. “There are a lot of variables in growing these crops, but this solution controls risk and manages the resources to produce great results.”
C Spire President Stephen Bye said the new automated system for row crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton use moisture sensors monitored from a computer, smartphone or tablet that relies on wireless coverage to relay critical performance and analytical data. “We’re excited to support an expansion of precision farming practices.”
“We have the resources, partnerships and professional expertise to help farmers be successful as they transition from a labor-intensive, high-risk, low-reward industry to one that relies on 21st century technology to feed the world and conserve our precious natural resources,” Bye said. “Automation and analytics are the key factors that will help us deliver on that promise.”