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Master of Agribusiness

Improving Production Agriculture Efficiencies and Profitability through the Development of New Planting Technologies

Steven Turner, Geneseo, Ill., defended his thesis, “Improving Production Agriculture Efficiencies and Profitability through the Development of New Planting Technologies,” Wednesday, March 31, 2010.  Turner is a Senior Sales and Service Representative with John Deere Company in Moline, Ill.  He graduated from Kansas State University in May with a Master’s in Agribusiness (MAB). 

Over the last decade producers have been facing increasing crop input costs as fertilizer, seed and chemicals continue to rise. In order to sustain profitability, producers have been looking for new options to decrease operating costs and become more efficient. For his master’s thesis, Turner examined new planting technologies to better manage planting applications that lower related input costs.

“I wanted to better understand how planting efficiencies may be improved with new precision planting technologies, in turn, lowering input costs,” Turner said. “I visited 25 locations throughout the Corn Belt to better understand the needs of producers, conducted surveys of customers, and analyzed comments to develop new precision planting products.”

After analyzing the surveys and site visits, Turner was able to work with product designers to develop new ideas to make producers more efficient.

Arlo Biere, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Turner’s thesis advisor, said, “A challenge for any equipment manufacturer is to provide equipment that meets the needs of the customers when those needs are changing rapidly.  Change in customer expectations is being driven by the advances in information technology, especially GPS.  To decide among the myriad of possibilities today, the equipment designer must be attuned to the interest of customers and understand the potential added value in increased yield and/or decreased input costs of a development.  Steven’s work addresses those customer and economic concerns.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on K-State’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/14045.