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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Digital Agriculture Program Celebrates Ohio State’s Sesquicentennial

Sep. 19, 2019
Ohio State celebrates its sesquicentennial in 2019-2020

For the past 150 years, The Ohio State University has been a leader in advancements in agriculture and engineering. And now, using precision agriculture technology, Ohio State researchers are able to show how technology can be used to create an image of a logo commemorating the university’s 150th anniversary in a soybean field.

This is the fifth year that Ohio State’s Digital Agriculture program has demonstrated GPS-guided “smart planting” for multiple hybrids of corn and soybeans. This year’s specially planted field takes the shape of the symbol of Ohio State’s sesquicentennial.

The soybeans planted to create the logo matured faster than the brighter, greener soybeans that form the image’s background.

“This being our fifth logo, we have a pretty good system down,” said Ryan Tietje, research associate and graduate student in the university’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE). The department is part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the College of Engineering.

“We had some of the same challenges that farmers across Ohio had this year: fighting with the weather and getting planting done,” he said. “We planted in the wee hours of the morning to get done before the next rain. We finished planting at 2 a.m., and it was raining again by midmorning.”

The inconsistent coloring throughout the logo represents the condition of many farm fields across Ohio. But the impact on that logo does not come close to what farmers statewide are facing with potential significant crop income losses among other hardships. The spring’s persistent rain created poor conditions for many farm fields including the logo field. Those conditions can harm crop health, slow plant growth, cause root rot, and ultimately lead to lower profits. Many farmers are still facing challenges caused by planting even as harvest approaches.

Ryan Tietje, graduate student and research associateThe conditions for 2019’s planting season are a big topic at CFAES’ 57th annual Farm Science Review, an agricultural trade show running from Sept. 17–19 in London, Ohio. Over 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the show to hear from CFAES educators and specialists in areas such as agricultural health and safety and water quality.

Representatives from the Digital Agriculture program are also attending FSR to share the benefits of new agricultural technology, such as the smart planter that’s responsible for creating the sesquicentennial field.

“Precision agriculture technologies continues to be one of the biggest drivers of research for our team,” said Andrew Klopfenstein, FABE senior research engineer. “Specifically, with technologies that go on the planter, like Precision Plantings’ vSet Select, farmers are extremely interested in return-on-investment and what technologies they should be investing in for the future as margins become tighter on the farm. This logo demonstration shows how some of these advancements work in the future of planting.”

Case IH, Precision Planting, and Trimble helped make the logo demonstration possible. Details about the Digital Agriculture program are available at

Tickets to FSR are $7 online; at county offices of CFAES’ Ohio State University Extension, the college’s outreach arm; and at participating agribusinesses. Tickets are $10 at the gate. Children ages 5 and under are free. Details on event hours, buying tickets online, and more are on FSR’s website at

by Chip Tuson

This is the program's 5th year of designing a field using smart planting technology and corn/soybean hybrids