In order to provide more space for order fulfillment and finished goods storage, Ag Leader Technology, Inc. announced that it has opened a new distribution center in Ames, Iowa. As Ag Leader’s product line continues to grow and the business expands into more overseas markets, the company has outgrown its current fulfillment facilities.
“In order to meet demand and deliver our line of products across the world,” explains Al Myers, president of Ag Leader Technology, “We have opened a new distribution center located just down the road from our corporate headquarters.”
Ag Leader has continuously seen an increase in the volume of product moving through the company due to many factors, such as new product introductions, expanding market presence and increased sales.
“We’re very excited to have the extra space, as it will help us to serve our customers better,” says Myers.
The distribution center was designed with the same lean concepts used throughout Ag Leader’s manufacturing areas. This includes storing products with high runners close to the center of the fulfillment area, as well as minimizing the amount of lifting and moving of products throughout the shipping process.
“All of these changes minimize the time necessary to pick an order,” explains Chad Heuer, Operations Manager at Ag Leader, “And also allow Ag Leader to fill orders faster and with greater accuracy.
The transition to the new distribution center was completed without disrupting the flow of product to customers.
Ag Leader Technology is pleased to announce the Fall 2013 issue of Insights magazine. The quarterly magazine helps growers and precision farming industry professionals get more out of their precision farming tools and to learn about the latest technologies.
This issue highlights articles about SMS software, vegetable production, drainage tile, a Michigan grower highlight and reports from the field.
Head’s up for the holidays! The Tech Support call center will be closed Nov. 28-29 for Thanksgiving. They will be back to normal operating hours on Dec. 2 from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday until Christmas Eve.
From everyone at Ag Leader, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Stephen Frerichs, AgVantage, LLC, works with the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers on its Leadership Institute in Washington, Dc. He attended the Agronomics Vision 2014 conference to provide a Farm Bill update and learn about what this year’s priorities are for ASFMRA.
I sat down with him to talk about the work he does with ASFMRA members when they visit Washington, DC for the annual Leadership Institute.
Ag Leader Technology, Inc., a leading manufacturer of precision farming equipment and software, continues to expand the ISOBUS capabilities of the Ag Leader® Integra and Versa™ displays with the addition of Task Controller for planters. ISOBUS provides a universal standard for communication between tractors and implements allowing for plug and play compatibility within the operation’s fleet – regardless of equipment color.
ISOBUS Task Controller enhances the communication capabilities between the tractor and ISOBUS-compatible planter by enabling swath control, prescription rate control and as-applied mapping. These features use a GPS signal to determine the planter’s location in the field and automatically turn the rows off when entering already applied areas and end-rows. When exiting these areas, the rows will automatically turn on, resulting in substantial cost savings on seed as well as increased yield.
“With many of our customers operating with a mixed fleet, the ISOBUS Task Controller allows them to hook multiple colors of equipment together and have full control of planting operations through the Ag Leader Integra and Versa displays,” says Brett Buehler, Product Specialist. “We are continually adding new features and compatibility to our displays to provide our customers with the tools to achieve optimal planting results,” he adds.
One goal of the Ag Leader SMS Software team is to provide training opportunities and resources that are effective regardless of the users SMS knowledge and fit into their busy schedules. This is why they have put all of their resources in a simple, single location for growers to get to: sms.agleader.com (or go to agleader.com and click Support).
At the beginning of every month, Ag Leader offers free online webinars that growers can sign-up to attend. If you don’t have time to attend during our scheduled times, there are pre-recorded versions that have been posted for you to watch at your convenience. These serve as great precursors before attending one of the online or classroom trainings that will be held throughout the winter, which you can now sign-up for.
Under the SMS Resources page, here are links to other resources such as:
- Documentation: i.e. getting started guides and manuals
- YouTube tutorials: videos that describe individual tasks like reading in files and exporting field and product names, prescriptions and crop plans, guidance, and variety tracking information
- Discussion Forum: a dedicated discussion board for SMS products where you can ask questions and get answers from Ag Leader and other SMS users
- Spatial Data Links: links to assist you in finding other data to import into SMS or used for other purposes in your operation
As we move deeper into the fall and harvest wraps up in some areas, growers and ag-professionals shift their focus towards other fall activities, like soil sampling. Ag Leader’s SMS Desktop and Mobile Software can assist with this activity helping you setup soil sampling sites and navigate to those while in the field. After you have collected these samples and acquired the results from the lab, many of us use this data to create site specific fertilizing prescriptions either based on our own formulas or those of a state university like…Iowa State, Kansas State, Purdue, Mississippi State, Ohio State and many other Universities publish.
Luke James, Ag Leader Software Sales Manager, gives us an overview of how the software works when it comes to soil sampling to create variable rate fertilizer prescriptions.
Farmers across the Midwest are in the thick of corn harvest right now, but still keep in mind that there are some pre-harvest calibrations that you should run. Even if you don’t think you need to recalibrate everything on the combine, it is a good idea to check to make sure everything is functioning properly.
The first calibration you need to do is the temperature calibration. The yield monitor needs an accurate temperature in order to calculate moisture accurately. It is a good idea to leave the combine parked in the shade for an hour or so before doing calibration, or do it first thing in the morning. It is best to have the combine the same temperature as the air around it.
The next calibration you need to do is the vibration calibration. For this calibration, the combine header needs to be attached. The vibration calibration teaches the yield monitor the difference between grain hitting the impact plate and the vibrations of the combine going through the impact plate. You will need to do this calibration for each crop type.
Calibrating the header stop height is next. You will need to teach the yield monitor the maximum and the minimum header heights, and then you will set a height at which the area logging on the yield monitor will turn off. When you pick your head up at the end of the pass, the yield monitor will quit logging area and keep your yield more accurate. You will need to do this calibration for each crop type.
Harvest is upon us and hopefully that means you are seeing the hard work that you’ve put in all season starting to pay off! As you watch the bushels on your yield monitor, do you question the factors that make some areas of the field more productive? Are you thinking about ways you can maximize profitability across all areas of your field? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, the next logical question is how do you go about making that happen?
The answer – by using your data to make better management decisions in the future. While there is not one solution that will work for all of us, if you don’t take the time to look at your data, you won’t find any answers! The SMS Desktop Software can help you analyze your data and make future seasons more productive. Whether you increase profit by optimizing your fields fertility levels with soil sampling and variable rate application or you decrease input costs by creating variable rate planting prescriptions, the SMS Software can help you accomplish your goals.
Not sure how to get started? Let us take the guess work out of it for you, by attending one of our classroom or online trainings this winter. We have trainings scheduled in several locations across the U.S. and online trainings can take place no matter where you are located! These trainings help you to gain hands-on experience in processing data, creating maps and reports, building field boundaries, creating prescriptions and populating your field displays with all the needed data for the next crop season. To learn more about our trainings please go here.
Have a safe harvest and we look forward to seeing you this winter!
Seems like just yesterday we discussed the benefits of pre-season planting preparation, and now we find ourselves staring a pre-harvest checklist straight in the eye. But keep in mind that servicing your precision ag equipment prior to harvest is equally as important as in the spring.
Ag Leader Technology is helping to give growers a few tips on where to start:
• Create a backup of your spring information
• Verify that you are running the latest version of SMS
• Read in any remaining files from earlier this year
• Export information out of SMS Software to your precision ag display
Luke James, Ag Leader Software Sales Specialist, says taking the appropriate steps to check your equipment before harvest will save you time and money in the long-run. Listen to James explain.
Once you have finished inspecting your yield monitoring components and have properly calibrated your machine you are ready for fall harvest to begin!
Tech Support will begin weekend hours for the 2013 season starting Sept. 7 for any questions you may have. Tech Support can be reached Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. year round at 515-232-5363.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Ag Leader is proud to announce the release of SMS Basic/Advanced v13.0 and SMS Mobile v7.0. Here are just a few items that are included in this update:
• Enhanced support for Ag Leader® Integra and Versa™ displays; as well as for ISO 11783 displays and displays from CNH®, John Deere™, and Precision Planting.
• Added support for Ag Leader Compass™ displays
• Added support for importing LIDAR elevation data
• Added option to show direction arrows for heading/degree based maps
• Added option to show surface contour lines
• Enhanced Water Management tools
• Enhanced 3D Terrain View and Terrain Analysis
• …and many more. To learn more about this update, you can find the release notes by clicking here.
Luke James, Ag Leader Software Sales Manager, explains the new features and updates in more detail for both the Basic and Advanced software.
1. From an agronomy standpoint, what do you consider to be the biggest issues facing growers today?
Companies breeding new varieties and coming to market at a faster pace
The tremendous amount of information that is available for them to consider
Weed resistance is a real problem in our area and will continue until the farmer takes steps to start using different chemistry on their crops.
Companies are coming to the market with newer varieties so quickly that it requires me as a dealer to really keep up with the changes so that recommendations can be made to fit the customer’s needs.
The information pipeline is so full that it is sometimes hard for the farmer to make a decision on what he needs. That is where we have to spend more and more of our time to keep up with the technology so that we can make the right recommendation for the farmer to be profitable.
2. Tell us about how growers in your area are using precision agriculture. Our growers are basically using precision agriculture for steering. We are starting to see more strip-til application being done. This is helping us as a dealer show them how they can use the equipment they already have to monitor their applications and remove clutter in the cab.
3. What benefits are growers seeing by using precision ag on their farms? Give us some examples. One of the best examples we have here is the farmers that are using strip-til are using smaller applicators than their planters. Ag Leader has the accuracy to strip-til 12-30 inch rows and come back with their 16 row planter and be right where they need to plant.Continue reading →
The recently announced SMS Water Management Module from Ag Leader boasts a variety of features to help take the guesswork out of planning a tile system. So what are some of the new enhancements?
• Use the new Tile Plan Editor features to create ideal field tiling plans without the difficulty of manual calculations.
• Easily validate that tile runs are sized appropriately to meet drainage capacities.
• Export premade tile plans to field display for efficient in-field installation.
• Share tile plans with others using mapping programs like Google Earth.
• Edit, move and expand existing tile runs to create an update tile plan.
• Create the best field tile plan by comparing multiple installation plans for cost and drainage efficiency.
Aaron Friedlein, Certified Crop Advisor and Ag Leader product manager, explains the basics of field drainage tile and why it is helpful for growers.
Growers looking for a simple and affordable precision farming display now have an entry-level solution, thanks to the new Compass™ display from Ag Leader Technology, Inc.
The Compass display was designed for growers who want a display to use primarily for guidance. With a built-in lightbar, the Compass display provides on-screen guidance and coverage mapping that allows operators to improve pass-to-pass accuracy and easily track where they have been in the field, reducing costly gaps and overlaps.
Mike Olson, Ag Leader North America Sales Manager, was on hand to talk about the new display during Farm Progress Show. He says Compass is simple to operate and set up guidance operations. “The user doesn’t need to know how to set up field information within the display to operate, with the new event feature they can simply create a new event each time they enter a field and go.”
Users can simply connect the Ag Leader Wi-Fi Adapter to the Ag Leader® Integra or Versa™ display to access a wireless internet network in the cab through any mobile hotspot of their choice, such as a smartphone, dedicated hotspot or a tablet.
Watch below as Ag Leader’s David Wilson demonstrates just how simple it is to get to AgFiniti and beyond!
AgLeader Technology is on site at the 2013 Farm Progress Show highlighting their latest and greatest technologies for the upcoming spring planting season. New equipment being talked about in the AgLeader Technology tent include their AgFinity and Compass.
Russ Morman is with AgLeader Technology and he tells us that it’s a hands on demonstration where you can not only learn about their latest ideas, but also see how they would work on your farm and field. He did mention to stop by and see them for an ice cold bottle of water to help battle the heat and humidity. Stop by their booth 518 on the show grounds to see the latest that AgLeader has to offer.
That’s right – the Farm Progress Show is just four short days away – are you ready? Amidst the hustle and bustle of trying to fit it all in a day or two, be sure to catch up with Ag Leader Technology at Booth 518.
Mike Olson, North America Sales Manager, says a team of about 20 Ag Leader experts (including tech support specialists) are heading out to the show on Sunday and will be on hand during the week to answer any questions growers might have about existing equipment or adding to their operation for the upcoming harvest season.
And of course, farm shows are a great way to learn about new product offerings. Olson says Ag Leader will be making some exciting product launch announcements from the show, but wouldn’t give us the specifics. Guess you’ll just have to stop by the booth and find out for yourself!
1. From an agronomy standpoint, what do you consider to be the biggest issues facing growers today? I think the biggest challenge from an agronomy stand point is accurately collecting data of what has been done and what the results are from those inputs. There are a ton of choices the growers make everyday and if they cannot go back at the end of the year and look at whether those choices were the right ones or not from the data then they go on guessing. Still every year is different and it is a risk but if you can way the goods from the don’t works so not to repeat then you can make better educated guesses. Managing the data in a way that is useful and not just numbers takes time.
2. Tell us about how growers in your area are using precision agriculture. Growers in our area are using precision agriculture all year long. They variable rate nitrogen based off yield data they have collected from several years and zone soil testing. They variable rate phosphorous and potassium based off grid soil tests and crop removal rates from the yield data. They use steering controls to be straight and minimize passes across a field. They are seeding with variable rate seed maps to maximize yield potential Swath control on planters, air seeders and sprayers to minimize overlap. They are also using crop sensors to vary nitrogen in crops. Yield monitors are used to collect data from what happened that year (you only have one opportunity to record what your crop yielded in each part of the field for that given year). The growers are also using precision agriculture in the water management side of things to tile or do surface drainage.
3. What benefits are growers seeing by using precision ag on their farms? Give us some examples. They are able to put inputs in the correct spots to maximize the yield. It doesn’t always work but you can hit the 80% of the time rule. We have some growers that have done basic yield monitoring for about 15 years and with our rotations here it can take up to 10 years to get enough data to do good yield consistency and maximum yield maps. They now are able to look at those maps and make better as well as quicker decision on how to deal with those fields and crops.
4. What do you believe is on the horizon when it comes to technology and agriculture? I think there is a lot room for improvement in the quality and reliability side of things for technology. It has to remain cost effective, work well and be simple. There are not a lot of people that are out here servicing things so the ones that are work hard and long hours to keep up. Remote service and trouble shooting are on the near horizon. Wireless communication that is cost effective and efficient is needed. It is here but there is room for improvement. I also don’t see the removal of the human in the tractor (aka autonomous) factor as near as it sometimes is broadcast. I don’t think the reliability of the electronics and the amount of electronics that required to monitor all the things a human does it practical yet.
5. What’s your best piece of advice to a grower who might be looking at using precision ag products? Find a dealer that will take care of you and look at your whole operation not just one part of it. Together lay out a plan and ease into it at a pace that you as a grower can handle, not the dealer. I would recommend starting with a yield monitor. It is the best information you can use to make decisions. Second would be swath control on a sprayer or planter. That saves money on inputs and damage to your crop. The payback there is short. Steering controls are nice but they are really just “icing on the cake.” Service, support and a company that stands behind their products are important.
Check back next month to “Get to Know” another Ag Leader dealer!
Insights magazine is a magazine entirely devoted to precision farming. Designed to give you more in-depth information about what’s happening today in precision agriculture, this publication will show you how you can capitalize on the technologies now available to make your operation more successful and profitable.
In addition to precision ag information, we will also introduce you to folks who can tell you firsthand just how beneficial precision farming practices have been to their operation. In addition, we’ll share valuable agronomic information from experts across the country so you can use to make informed decisions in the field. And we will take you inside Ag Leader so you can meet the people responsible for developing Ag Leader’s line of innovative precision farming products. As always, you’ll be the first to know about new products, local training opportunities and much more!
Sign up for a free subscription or download the Insights magazine here. Currently Insights magazine is only available for subscription in the United States and Canada.
Over the course of the past couple of years, Ag Leader has watched how the computer industry and the way they host peer groups in an effort to educate dealers and facilitate idea-sharing sessions, trying to see if it was a good fit for the precision agriculture industry. The genesis for peer group sharing has been around for decades, and being in a developing industry (precision ag is only a mere 20 years old), Ag Leader felt it mutually beneficial to develop the Precision Ag Peer Group program for dealers to help them grow their businesses. The purpose of the groups is business and personal growth driven by execution.
Michael Vos, Ag Leader territory development manager, says peer groups help dealers network, discover new and innovative ideas (that’s what precision ag is all about, right?), learn about business practices across the country and improve on their leadership and management skills.
Vos says people understand the big idea behind peer groups but until you experience them for a day, you don’t really know their true value…the results are encouraging. Contact your Ag Leader territory manager today if you are interested.
Ag Leader’s marketing communications team will be hitting the trade show floor at the upcoming Ag Media Summit, the largest meeting in the United States of the ag industry’s top writers, editors, photographers, publishers and ag communicator specialists. And there to get the news out about Ag Leader’s new video, website redesign and product offerings will be Jenna Royer, marketing communications manager.
Royer says Ag Leader is excited about a new video, debuting at Ag Media Summit.