Flying the Fields with James Keltgen


Fourth generation seedsman James Keltgen from Northeast South Dakota has a knack for seeing whats happening in his fields. This proud husband and father also farms west of Watertown with his dad, Myron. Since 2007, they have raised corn and soybeans together. They also perform on-farm research for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.

james-flyingBeing on the cutting edge of technology in agriculture is a place James likes to be, and that’s why he’s been eager to pilot a drone. He admits that he is in the infancy stages of flying a drone and optimizing its abilities, but he finds it exciting. James sees the benefits a drone will have for both his family’s farming operation and for their seed customers. He’s looking forward to seeing how drone services will help them create maps and customize each field situation.

Noting product emergence, plant health and lateseason plant intactness are just a few ways that James has benefitting from using a drone. The drone’s eye view also has allowed him to assess the aftermath of heavy rains or drought, which helps him pinpoint specific areas and fine tune a crop plan. 

Along with saving time, using the drone has helped James find parts of the field that either should be taken out of production or where production could be enhanced by drainage tile. Being able to pinpoint where the tile lines need to be placed has numerous benefits on the field long term, and his drone provides the ability to see changes physically resulting from installed tile.

james-flying-2James advises farmers to buy drones through a company that can provide a package, such as They have the ability to provide you with all the equipment needed and offer a warranty because you never know when you many have an incident or problem.

He finds the use of this drone from a business prospective very useful because he knows he can service his customers more thoroughly. Scouting fields all season long helps build relationships with current and prospective customers alike.