Big Data, Water Quality Focus of Conservation Tillage Conference March 3-4

Lake Erie (Photo: Thinkstock)

ADA, Ohio – As more farmers gain access to and use big data to increase yield production, questions remain about how to keep that data from potentially hurting their farm profits later.

Finding ways to make sure data gleaned from precision agriculture -- which is a farming management concept that uses technology such as satellites and GPS tracking systems to help farmers increase yields -- doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is just one of the topics to be discussed during the Conservation Tillage Conference, March 3-4.

The annual conference, offered by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, will feature workshops and discussion on numerous farming issues, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and an organizer of the CTC conference.

While farmers’ use of precision agriculture is increasing as more growers learn about its impact on yield potential, Reeder said, there are still questions about privacy issues.

“Big data is booming onto the agricultural stage right now and farmers want to know more about its use, including the good and the bad,” he said. “The challenge facing farmers and agri-business is working out a way to use big data while maintaining security for the individual farmer.”

Big data is just one of many topics farmers can expect to learn more about during the two-day CTC conference. More than 900 participants are expected to attend the conference, which is organized by OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms of the college.

In addition to a “Corn University” and a “Soybean School,” the conference will offer the latest research, insight, tips and techniques on conservation tillage including cover crops, no-till, soil quality, soil health, seeding technology, water quality and nutrient management, Reeder said.

The conference will feature some 60 presenters, including 20 CFAES researchers and Extension educators, as well as farmers and industry representatives.

Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) continuing education credits are available, with an emphasis on soil and water and nutrient management hours.

New to the conference this year will be a day-long discussion on water quality, particularly on ways to keep phosphorus and nitrogen from impacting Ohio’s water quality, Reeder said.

Starting with a session on the “Magnitude of the Phosphorus Problem for Lake Erie and Other Water Bodies,” the goal of the discussions is to “get together some of the best scientists, researchers and engineers who have experience with the issue to come up with concrete solutions to keep nutrients on the land where they belong,” he said.

Other conference topics include:

  • Managing crop residue removal
  • Agronomics for high yield corn and soybeans
  • Soil health benefits of continuous no-till
  • Variable rate seeding
  • Using gypsum to reduce phosphorus problems

The CTC conference will be held at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. The full schedule and registration information can be found at Participants may register online or by mail. Registration for the full conference is $85 (or $65 for one day) if received by Feb. 21.

Information is also available from county offices of OSU Extension.

The conference is sponsored by OSU Extension, OARDC, Gypsoil, the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Soybean Council, John Deere, Ag Credit, Pioneer, Seed Consultants, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Ohio No-Till Council.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Randall Reeder