Blog & Tools

Broadband connectivity helps boost agricultural productivity

In a couple of years, as restrictions on U.S. airspace are reduced, don’t be surprised to see small, unmanned aircraft flying over farm fields to check crops.

Such experimental, image-capturing devices exist. They are expected to eventually go mainstream and have beneficial applications for agriculture.

Obviously, advances in technology do not just serve businesses, organizations and institutions based in towns and cities. There is an array of impressive, high-tech equipment already being used on farms and ranches in the Sioux Falls region and beyond.

SDN Communications is proud to offer broadband connectivity to help support agriculture, which is South Dakota’s biggest industry and a huge economic force throughout the Upper Midwest.

Farming by phone and computer

Some companies offer equipment that allows farmers to control irrigation systems with a smartphone app. Farmers can check soil-moisture conditions remotely and turn on the water, as needed.

Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries Inc. is one of the premier developers and global distributors of precision agriculture equipment. Raven’s products include field computers, application controls, GPS-guidance and assisted-steering products, automatic boom controls, and planter and seeder controls.

“Technology is becoming more and more a part of our customers’ everyday operations,” says Raven Marketing Supervisor Ryan Molitor.

Raven’s ag technology is built largely around GPS, which, in turn, allows farmers in tractors to electronically apply exactly the right amount of fertilizer, herbicide, or insecticide to every square foot of ground.

Meanwhile, field computers collect planting, growing, and harvesting data, which helps farmers adjust procedures to improve future productivity.

“Our technology allows them to be more efficient,” Molitor says. “At the end of the day, they’re going to get higher yields.”

SDN has ag-friendly services, too

Raven is hosting an Innovation Summit on June 4-5 at the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center and at the Innovation Campus (invitation only). June 6 will be Grower Day, which will be open to the public.

This is the second year for Grower Day, which includes product demonstrations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Innovation Campus in Baltic to help growers learn about agricultural technology.

Raven’s Innovation Campus will also provide the backdrop for an upcoming SDN advertisement about agricultural technology.

With a network of more than 22,000 miles of fiber optic line, SDN provides broadband connectivity that can help many farmers, ranchers and other agribusinesses. Raven is among SDN’s broadband clients.

SDN also has telecommunications equipment that can help farmers and ranchers increase efficiency in their business operations.

In addition, Managed Video Surveillance is available to help farms and ranches remotely watch and protect assets such as livestock and equipment. It mixes SDN bandwidth with high-quality cameras, software and centralized data storage. Users can view images from up to 64 cameras concurrently on up to six video feeds as well as monitor and control the entire system remotely.