The three of them manage 1,200 acres combined from two of their family’s historic farms, one from Justin’s great-great-great grandfather Johann S., and the other from his great-grandfather, Herb K. From when he was young, Justin had little doubt that he would farm, “I grew up sitting on my Dad’s lap driving the tractor through the field and loving every minute of it.”
While sustainable farming practices are not new on the farm, Justin is helping employ some of the newer principles gleaned from his MSU studies to complement those practices. For example, the farm has modified the practice of taking soil samples by using a yield monitor on the farm’s combine to identify high- and low-yielding spots in the fields. They can then fine-tune soil-sampling points and adjust fertilizer applications to deliver high quality wheat while boosting yields.
Through the use of precision agriculture technology, Justin estimates that his farm is averaging a 20% reduction on fertilizer use, while improving crop yields.
On most of their tractors, they also are placing a GPS receiver. Each catches satellite signals and, in effect, steers itself through the fields and plants crops in perfectly straight rows. This approach saves fuel, labor time and wear on the tractor driver.