Summer Precision Ag Training

Insights WeeklyDid you know Ag Leader offers a variety of SMS training sessions to help answer your questions about the software? That’s right, whether you’re more comfortable listening in on a webinar from your home computer, or attending an in-person, hands-on classroom training session, Ag Leader has a variety of courses to fit your needs.

Jessica Ahrens, software training specialist, says the software is always changing and customers need to stay up-to-date on the new features in order to best utilize them for their operations.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Ahrens says Ag Leader provides a wide variety of training for customers. Find out what’s available to you.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Ahrens says the training enables customers to troubleshoot and answer questions on their own instead of spending time on the phone with software support specialists, even though they are always available as a resource.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Be sure and sign up today for your training!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Fix-A-Flat

20140414_085725Living in a small town most of my life, I’ve spent countless hours driving the back country roads whether they be rock or gravel. On Sunday afternoon when we were kids, dad would pile us in the old brown pickup that had a hole in the floorboard by the stick shift and take us for a drive. He’d show us this old place and that old house, we’d get stuck in mud as we learned to drive and I was always amazed at how he could get us out. I thought I was “big time” when I got to shift…he would tell me “up one and over one” to get to second gear.

But spending that much time on rock roads also meant flat tires. When the road grader would come by, he would loosen things on the road that may have bounced out of those old trucks we used for Sunday drives. Nails, screws, pieces of metal…whatever had been tossed in the beat-up old truck bed which also had holes in it!

The first flat tire I ever had was when I lived in Omaha and at the time, mom and dad had AAA so I called them, used mom’s name, and they fixed my flat and I went on my way. Since then, I’ve had numerous nails and slow-leaking tires, but I take them to the filling station for patching. I know back in Driver’s Ed I learned how to fix a flat and could probably do it in a pinch, but am thankful I’ve never had to.

Things were different back when Grandpa’s family owned their first vehicles. Listen as Grandpa recounts a story about this tire-patching kit and what all it entailed.

Listen to Grandpa explain

Makes changing a tire today sound easy!

Until we walk again …

Caught on Camera

My beautiful pictureAs you may know, my son has a Lego digital camera and for $25 and in a few months, has caught more funny moments and captivating pictures than I have in the past year. He may not be into sports, or music, or crafts…but this little man has a talent.

Back “home”, I used to loves seeing a single tree that grew on the south side of the highway before I got to Rockport, on my way to and from Kansas City. With the floods a few years back, the tree has since been cut down.

But my son, the good road-trip partner that he is, had his camera out once again a few weeks ago and snapped this picture somewhere along I80 around Kearney. His talent is starting to shine through! (And I did very minimal Photoshop work on this!)

I think we may have found new scenery to admire while driving. There’s something about a lone tree in the middle of a field touches my heart.

Until we walk again …

Extended Tech Support Hours

Insights Weekly Whether it’s good (hopefully!), bad or “help me before I throw this thing out into the field and run over it”, Ag Leader’s customer support staff wants to hear from you. And during busy seasons such as planting and harvest, customer support specialists are on hand extended hours to be sure that across all time zones, day or night, if you have a question in the field you can get an answer over the phone.

They may be called the silent heroes of the day, but Jordan Dittmer, Ag Leader Machine Guidance Support Supervisor, says, “We’re here to help. If you have something going on and you don’t tell us, we can’t help you. We want to hear from you.”

Listen to Dittmer explain

So think of these silent heroes as your next door neighbor, even though they may be thousands of miles away. In fact, most of the support staff are farmers just like you!

Listen to Dittmer explain

You can find Ag Leader’s 2014 Tech Support Extended Hours schedule here.

On behalf of Ag Leader’s support team, we wish you a safe, successful 2013 planting season!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Spring 2014 Pre-Planting Checklist

Insights WeeklyAlthough spring hasn’t fully arrived in many parts of the country, the polar vortex days are thankfully behind us. That means we’re all getting antsy for the warm, sunny days of May. Until then, this would be the ideal time for pulling the planter out of the shed to ensure your planting setup is ready for trouble-free field operation.

The first step will in getting ready for spring will be powering on your display to manage data, update firmware and create a backup. Nick Ritland, Ag Leader hardware tech support representative, gives a high-level check-list of some things to keep in mind before you get to the planting season.

Listen to Ritland explain

Current display firmware can be found here and should be updated prior to the start of the season. Guidance firmware can be found here.

Once your display is ready, move to the components located on the planter. Each of the links below will give you a step by step guide to confirm your clutches, population monitoring, hydraulic drives and Hydraulic Down Force are working as they should.
SeedCommand Pre-Season Checklist
Planter Task Controller Quick Reference Sheet
Clutch Control Module Quick Reference Sheet
Seed Tube Monitoring Module Quick Reference Sheet
Planter Population Monitoring for Kinze PMM
Hydraulic Seed Control Quick Reference Sheet
Hydraulic Down Force Quick Reference Sheet

Ag Leader also recommends looking over the physical components and setup of the planter. Ritland reviews some of the key “to-do” list items.

Listen to Ritland explain

Continue reading

Going Once…Going Twice…SOLD!

imageThis week Aunt Jeanette writes:

…to the great-great-grandson of the original homesteader.

Approximately one month ago, Dan and I attended a land auction and came home as the proud owners of 160 acres of farm ground that has held his family’s roots for several generations. In 1870, Dan’s great-great-grandfather and his bride traveled in a covered wagon from Pennsylvania to the Little Blue River valley in south central Nebraska where they homesteaded and began farming. The piece of land we purchased came into the family in 1915 and is just a mile east of the original homestead.

The fertile soil in the Little Blue River Valley made a perfect place for this young couple to begin farming and raise a family – two sons and two daughters. (Now, just between you and me, I had to learn to love this flat, treeless land where the creeks and rivers seem to flow on the surface of the ground. Believe me, it was not love at first sight! I grew up in the southeast corner of Nebraska where there are hills, abundant trees, and creeks and rivers that are cut deep into the earth, providing endless entertainment for my two brothers and me while we were growing up.)

image2The layout of this newly purchased farm is perfect for center pivot irrigation. The pivot is being built as you read this and hopefully it will be up and running by irrigating season. Although farming practices have changed dramatically in the last century and a half, the basic goal remains the same – to be good stewards of the land that has been entrusted to us. The ability to irrigate crops, the knowledge of which herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer to use, and which seed hybrid is appropriate for the type of soil are all integral pieces of this farming business. Up-to-date equipment and technological knowledge are also helpful in keeping up with the ever-changing times.

Family farms and heritage are becoming a thing of the past as children and grandchildren move away in search of “the good life” and choose to sell their land. However, for Dan and me, “the good life” is right here, embedded in the soil his ancestors called home. I am grateful Dan and I happened to be in the right place at the right time and circumstances allowed us to keep this piece of 99-year-old history in the family.

Until we walk again …

Using SMS Software on Your Tablet

Insights WeeklyThis week we caught up with Kaleb Lindquist, Ag Leader software sales specialist, who gives us an update on how growers can now utilize SMS mobile software from any tablet device they currently have.

Kaleb says SMS mobile can be used on any laptop with a Windows Operating System or tablet with the full version of Windows.

Listen to Lindquist explain

Kaleb also says you can take your tablet out to the field, attach a GPS receiver to it and that will enable you to do soil sampling, scouting or general coverage logging.

Listen to Lindquist explain

Ag Leader will begin holding SMS trainings this summer, but if you have questions prior to the spring planting season, be sure to ask your dealer or call Ag Leader customer service.

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

A New Land

2553_10200759166482125_1402896317_nThink of anywhere in the world you’d like to live. Did you come up with a foreign country, somewhere across state lines, or did you choose right where you currently are? Where is “home” to you? I have always lived by the words that home is where the heart is… and what you make of it, not just the simple fact of geography.

My two children and I recently moved four hours away from “home”, still in Nebraska. Everything is new: the house, the school, the daycare, the schedule, the people, the landscape. We’re in the heart of cattle country, which is nice because my children can still grow up around agriculture and take tractor rides.

And it is quickly becoming home to me. Sure, bringing my decorations and antiques from the old house helps, but when I step outside and breathe the fresh air, I know it’s where I’m meant to be. When I look out off the back porch and see deer and turkeys running through the pasture, see the millions of stars at night and the moon coming in through my bedroom window, I know I’ve found my place.

The trees are starting to bud and there are signs of spring all around us – and the children are having fun riding bikes and pushing dump trucks through the dirt (yes, even the little girl in pink pants and boots is in the dirt!). This is the nearby lake, just east of my running path. Hopefully sometime soon it will look like the picture.

My run takes me along the gravel path, but it always leads back home. Just like it used to.

Until we walk again …

Nutrient Management with OptRx

Insights Weekly At the 2014 Commodity Classic, Ag Leader Technology sponsored a learning session focused on using crop sensors to find out what your crops need.

Ag Leader did a study in 2009 that showed the advantages of using their OptRx crop sensor technology. OptRx Crop Sensor Product Specialist Chad Fick says this product has been around for six years now and growers are showing more interest as nutrient management becomes a bigger concern.

Chad says OptRx can be a helpful tool for farmers. Listen to Cindy Zimmerman’s interview with Chad from Commodity Classic.

Listen to Fick explain

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

My Favorite Things

Today Aunt Jeanette writes:

Flowers on houseplants and robins in the yard,
Bald eagles flying overhead, the time change – so hard!
Days working outside, and loving the sun,
These signs of spring are the cause for some fun!

imageWhen the temperature reached 75 degrees a couple days ago, I had an urge to go outside and look for those first signs of new life under the mulch. I am glad the opportunity did not arise, because the next day the temperature dipped to 27 degrees and we had a mixture of snow and rain. I guess it’s best to leave that tender, beginning life protected a while longer. Ah, March in Nebraska!

I know spring can’t be too far away because this particular houseplant always blooms about the same time we set our clocks ahead an hour. It is my personal signal that warmer days will be coming soon.

The plant is one that I started from one grown by my paternal grandmother. I can still picture in my head exactly where it sat in Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I thought it was the most fascinating plant. However, I had never seen it bloom so I was very excited when I saw that first unusual flower (tiny and white on a long stem).

Both sets of my grandparents were avid gardeners and had green thumbs. My parents still enjoy their garden and share their abundance of produce with family and friends. Me – I am not such a great vegetable gardener, but my houseplants and outside flowers and plants are among my favorite things!

Until we walk again …

What’s New in 5.2?

Insights WeeklyThis February, Ag Leader released the latest firmware of 5.2. There are a lot of updates and improvements in the latest firmware and no matter your operation, there will be a feature you will enjoy! The first thing that you will notice about 5.2 is the home screen has changed. It has a green backdrop, but that is just the beginning! There are added tabs that make adjusting the operation more convenient. Growers can now change operators, configurations, fields, products, and rates, straight from the home screen. Also, you can access the grower/farm/field and configuration settings by selecting the wrench next to the tabs.

AgLeader5.2Also in the new 5.2 firmware is “Events”. This mode is most convenient for custom applicators that do not want to log data to a specific field. Event mode allows data logging without being tied to a specific grower, farm, or field. This mode will allow operators to load the run screen with fewer button presses.

Another new optional feature that was added is headlands. Growers can use this to make AutoSwath work in different portions of the field. This option can help operators keep their field mapped more accurately and cut back on overlap.

Another new feature is managing guidance patterns. In the new 5.2 firmware growers have the ability to group guidance patterns together. This feature allows you to move from adaptive curve, identical curve, straight path, or pivot guidance lines without having to load the new guidance line into the display. This function will be most convenient for growers that use multiple lines in one field.

Ag Leader recommends upgrading to 5.2 before spring, as well as making a backup of the display before the season starts. We wish you a safe and successful planting season and enjoy the 5.2 firmware!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Angel On My Shoulder

ResizedImage951393623387436Today Aunt Jeanette writes:

When I left early last Sunday morning to make the acquaintance of our newest grandson, I knew the weather was questionable. When traveling to the western Nebraska Pine Ridge area this time of year, bad weather is almost expected. I usually like to drive on Highway 2 because it is slower paced than Interstate 80. However, being anxious to see the family I haven’t seen for two months and also meet our new grandson, I opted for I80.

The farther west I traveled, the worse the driving conditions became. Slush, ice, snow, fog, caution signs on the interstate – this trip is definitely not going to make the list of the top ten smartest things I have ever done! Probably the worst thing was that everything was the same color. My normally red car was coated with ice, slush, snow, and salt, making it a dirty gray, just like every other vehicle on the road. The sky and road surface all blended together into that same gray color.

The flow of traffic had slowed dramatically. Nobody was going much faster than 55 or 60 miles per hour – except the semi that passed me. The driver had barely gone around me when he edged back in a little too quickly. Instinct told me to tap my brakes to avoid having the front of my car clipped by the trailer. Everything would have been okay – except for a nasty patch of ice. I slid into the other lane, my car spun sideways, and I took an unexpected side trip down into the median. I could not get out immediately, but when I saw an opportunity, I returned to the westbound left lane. There was no choice but to get back into the flow of traffic and keep going.

Now, I know there had to be an angel on my shoulder. How else can I explain the fact that there were no cars or trucks when I was sliding across lanes or returning to the interstate? My Uncle Keith used to say he had angels watching over him during his lifetime. He must have been watching and sent one of his angels to help me out just when I needed it!

Until we walk again …

Water Management Software from Ag Leader

Insights Weekly

Kaleb Lindquist, Ag Leader software specialist, recently joined ZimmComm’s Cindy Zimmerman at the National Farm Machinery Show to talk about water management.

“SMS Advanced from Ag Leader allows for directional flow arrows, elevation, slope, water shed mapping and printing,” says Lindquist. “There’s also a water management module that can create a tile plan so growers know if it will be enough tile to drain their fields.

nfms14-agleader1“A lot of growers don’t know this kind of software is available, but it’s extremely user-friendly and once they see it, they realize how much it can help them in their operation.”

Listen to Lindquist explain

Lindquist says you can only do tile once, and it needs to be right the first time. Growers can make their initial investment back in less than a couple hundred feet of tile run.

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Water Management … An Ongoing Issue

Insights Weekly Today with input costs and costs of fertilizer and seed being as high as they are when you don’t get the crop planted and a good emerged crop with a good stand to it, you don’t get the max benefits out of the crop that you can. Too much water is a big proponent of this as well as not enough water and this is where water management comes in.

One of the solutions is adding tile to fields. Ag Leader has some precision ag technology, such as the Intellislope tile plow control system, that can raise the success rate of water management. Ag Leader also has software, such as the SMS Advanced Water Management module, that can help develop a tile plan and then analyze the data at any given moment or over time once the plan has been executed.

Every farm is different and tile systems can be put in during the fall or spring. Listen to ZimmComm’s full interview with Luke Bunkers about water management here.

Listen to Bunkers explain

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Through the Eyes of a Child

My beautiful pictureHave you ever crouched down on the floor and been eye-level with a 19-month old? Did you take a look at the world around you to understand how intimidating it may seem? How TALL the counter is (especially if there’s a candy bar just within arm’s reach), and how far away things seem?

I’m reminded of this when I’m in the car, too. It’s a magical day when your infant grows into a forward-facing car seat and the world around them changes and they’re no longer seeing things in reverse. But I’m also careful when I say, “Look out the window at that cow!” My daughter cranes her neck to see and hope that she’s able to take in the beauty I can see out of my own window.

For his birthday, I got my son a Lego digital camera. He has taken pictures of French fries, friends, his sister, my parents’ dog, and his favorite for some reason, our red couch. He’s a photographer in training! Last night when he wanted to take pictures of his cousins and found the camera was full, we plugged in the USB to pull a few off and free up some space. As I was deleting blurry ones (and ones of me in my workout gear!), I came across this picture. After harvest, he must have taken his camera in the car and I didn’t notice. For a $30 camera in the hands of a 5-year-old, I thought this was quite the scenic image!

I don’t know if he had to hold the camera up in the air because his booster seat sits too low, but from his perspective, this was a picture worth taking. And I think it’s a picture worth writing about.

Until we walk again …

Managing Varying Soil Types

Insights WeeklyGrowers in many states have spent the winter months in drought conditions, and there’s non way to tell what Mother Nature has in store for the spring planting season. If we get rains like 2013, what if there was a way to improve your changes for a better harvest despite too much soil moisture? Well, there is a way to do just that: Ag Leader’s new Hydraulic Down Force System.

Ag Leader’s Brett Buehler explains that one of the big issues growers face during planting is that the seed is planted at the proper depth. When the seed is not optimally planted, it can negatively impact yield. While there are technologies on the market to help address this, Buehler said that many of them have limitations that the Hydraulic Down Force System overcomes.

Listen to Buehler explain

The technology, says Buehler, is excellent for the grower who has varying soil types his field.

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Bring Back Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer!

1559585_768172473202759_1152660037_nToday Aunt Jeanette writes:

We have had another unusual winter here in south central Nebraska – as has most of the country. The snow and ice have not caused many problems for us, however, the cold temps have been another story. When I think of baby calves being born into a cruel negative 25 degrees (or more) wind chill…well, it just makes me shiver.

When I found these pictures, I thought you might like a little breath of summer blown into your winter, too. It gives us all something to look forward to.

1456591_728759803810693_1581077793_nOur grandkids from Chadron, Neb., are quite the cattle showmen. Ranch life in the Nebraska panhandle is anything but lazy, however I know it can get a little crazy! The kids are responsible for their own show calves – for the most part. They do their own chores, feeding, washing, etc., with help and guidance from their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. You get the picture – it is a family affair and a wonderful way of life.

These pictures were taken at the Junior National Hereford Expo in Kansas City and the Wyoming Junior Hereford Show, both held during the summer of 2013. Hannah’s heifer, Belle, is the brand new mother of a calf born Feb. 11. Daisy, Wiley’s heifer, had the misfortune of losing her calf at the same time that awful blizzard hit western Nebraska the middle of October 2013.

Now, those of you that are old enough to know the song, forgive me if you have it stuck in your head! And here’s to the early arrival of spring and/or summer!

Until we walk again …

Entry-Level Display from Ag Leader

Insights Weekly ZimmComm’s Joanna Schroeder recently caught up with Ag Leader’s Josh Rasmusson about the Compass display, a simple and affordable precision farming display that offers guidance and virtual terminal capabilities.

Learn more about this new product offering which was just launched in November 2013 in Joanna’s full interview with Josh.

Listen to Rasmusson explain

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Click here to view the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show photo album.

Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology

Ag Leader’s AgFiniti Connects Via the Cloud

Insights WeeklyAt this week’s 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show, ZimmComm’s Joanna Schroeder caught up with Ag Leader’s Kaleb Lindquist, member of the software sales team, about the new AgFiniti cloud-based platform which allows growers to send and receive data files wirelessly from the cab. Guidance lines, prescriptions, as-applied maps and other data files can be sent and received wirelessly and backed up on a secure AgFiniti account. Files also can be accessed from a grower’s smartphone or tablet in the field or at the office and shared with trusted advisors such as dealers, coops or farm managers.

Learn more about this new product offering from Ag Leader in Joanna’s full interview with Kaleb.

Listen to Lindquist explain

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Click here to view the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show photo album.
Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

YolkWe’ve all heard the saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. That quote goes on to say if you take the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green. I think like an animal that is corralled by a fence, we sometimes feel there’s something better out there – just out of arm’s reach. Our fence may be a job we’re not completely satisfied with, a car that has a few dents, or a house that has old carpet and is in need of a good makeover. But in farm terms, I like to believe that where the cow is standing is the greenest because it’s been fertilized. (Yes, pun intended!)

Best of luck telling a cow that the grass isn’t greener over at the Jones’s when she’s spent all day chomping on dried clumps of grass or weeds! This week, grandpa recalls a story of a yolk they used to put around a cow’s neck to stop her from trying to reach through the fence.

Listen to Grandpa’s story

No one is putting a yolk around our neck in the literal sense of the word, but maybe we need to let go of wanting to stick our heads through the fence and water/fertilize what we already have to make it grow!

Until we walk again …