Applegate

Mixing Mechanical Needs with Precision Aspirations

With a ‘start from scratch’ mentality, Applegate Farms in Oakland, Iowa, continues to build out the technical and equipment elements of its strip-till system.

The Applegates are no strangers to incorporating technology into their farming operation. Doug, who farms with his wife, Kathy, and two sons, Brent and Luke, have always looked for ways to leverage electronics and information in their farming operation.

They also own and operate Praxidyn, which makes and sells the Mixmate chemical blending system and Intersect cloud-based data program, which transfers in-field data to allow management from the office.

They farm 1,500 acres near Oakland, Iowa, and have moved from no-till corn and soybeans to strip-tillage. It’s been an evolution that they are continuing, not with the latest generation of precision equipment, but with tools that work for them.

“We started doing our own grid sampling in the early ’90s and in 1996 started gathering data with a yield monitor and starting building maps ourselves,” Doug says. The next year he built a wiring harness so the yield monitor could be used with the planter to track which corn hybrids were planted where.

Their first strip-till unit had an inline ripper that ran about 12 inches deep followed by a coulter that made a beautiful berm that turned out to be too loose. “The corn looked great until a mid-summer storm came through and the stalks tipped over right at the root base. We knew we had to change something,” Doug says.

The next strip-till unit started with a strip-till cart that Luke built. Using his training and experience he gained while working on 4-H and FFA projects in the…

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