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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Ag Leader AgFiniti Now Available

classic14-agleader-agfinitiAg Leader Technology’s new cloud-based platform AgFiniti® was a hit at last week’s Commodity Classic where growers were happy to learn that it is now available for them.

“AgFiniti is an affordable and reliable solution for wireless connectivity in the field because it allows users the flexibility to choose the best wireless service carrier in their local area and hotspot device,” said Luke James, Software Sales Manager. He adds that what really makes AgFiniti stand out from other solutions on the market is data privacy. “We know growers value their privacy and that’s why with AgFiniti the data is 100% theirs,” he said. “We’re independent, just like the grower’s independent. We value that.”

Learn more in this interview with Luke from Commodity Classic: Interview with Luke James, Ag Leader

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

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.

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.

The Value of Data

Ag Leader Tyler AndersonWhy should we care about data I asked Tyler Anderson with Ag Leader during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show. Anderson said we should care about data. So I asked the next logical question, “How do we know if it worked?”.

“We can check to make sure the data worked by reading the information we’ve recorded out in the field in our SMS Advanced Software program,” explained Anderson. “By looking at the maps we can make sure we’re not having any mechanical problems we didn’t see out in the field, but we can also confirm we’re actually getting results from the practices we’re doing.”

This, said Anderson, is what Ag Leader calls “the value of data”. He explained that growers spend all this money on precision technologies and farm equipment but how do you know if it’s actually having an effect? Using Ag Leader’s SMS tools, a grower can start analyzing various elements of the data or even analyze data across the entire operations.

Anderson said the data is also valuable because not only can you look to see what happened during the current year, but also using it to plan for the future.

Learn more about the “value of data” in my interview with Tyler Anderson: The Value of Data

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

Ag Leader’s Luke Bunkers on Water Management

Water management. An ongoing issue for growers across the country and around the world. To learn more about some of the big water management issues in agriculture, I turned to Luke Bunkers with Ag Leader who spent some time with me during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show.

Luke Bunkers Ag LeaderToday 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, explained Bunkers. He noted that 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, said Bunkers, is adding tile to fields. Ag Leader has some precision ag technology, such as the Intellislop 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 give moment or over time once the plan has been executed.

“The tile plan gives the grower an idea of what the whole system is going to look like including how many feet of tile, what the discharge of that system is going to be, how much water is that system going to be able to handle so Ag Leader encompasses all sides of water management with these two technologies,” explained Bunkers.

Bunkers stressed that every farm is different and tile systems can be put in during the fall or spring. He is going to be participating in some tile clinics during the next few weeks in North and South Dakota put on by Hefty Brothers.

Listen to my full interview with Luke Bunkers: Ag Leader's Luke Bunkers on Water Management

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

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

Head to the Clouds with Ag Leader’s AgFiniti

The big trend in the data world these days is the “cloud”. The cloud is a way to store your data in a safe, secure place and have access to it anywhere you may be. Ag Leader recently headed to the “clouds” with their new AgFiniti precision technology and to learn more, I spoke with Kaleb Lindquist during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show.

Ag Leader Kaleb LindquistLindquist explained that AgFiniti is a cloud-based solution, or platform, Ag Leader developed to make the growers, dealers and the agribusiness community’s life easier. “It’s designed to interconnect everybody,” said Lindquist, “whether that be the grower to the dealer, the grower to the agribusiness or vice versa.”

So seriously, what is the cloud? Lindquist explained that it is a metaphorical term for a remote server somewhere. Data is uploaded to the cloud, in other words to a remote, secure server so your data is not housed on your physical desktop. The data is safe, secure and backed up regularly (so if your hard drive in your desktop or laptop computer crashes you still have all the data you stored in AgFiniti).

Here is how it works. Using a wiresless hot spot, a grower can take a file from his or her display (both Integra and Versa) while he’s out in the field, upload it to AgFiniti and bam, it’s there. Then the grower can call his agronomist, tell him or her he’s uploaded a file and the agronomist (with the grower’s permission) can instantaneously pull down the file, review it and then give the grower some recommendations. Is there any more instantaneous way to share data other than having the agronomist with you on the farm? Nope.

I’m waxing lyrical because I’m having fun in AgFiniti’s cloud. You will too once you learn more about this precision ag technology.

Listen to my full interview with Kaleb Lindquist: Head to the Clouds with Ag Leader's AgFiniti

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

Let Ag Leader’s Compass Guide You

Ag Leader Josh RasmussonAg Leader introduced the Compass display last fall during the Farm Progress Show and in the few months it’s been available, it has seen great success. To learn more about the technology, I spoke with Josh Rasmusson with Ag Leader during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show.

He explained that the Compass display is their new, high-definition, 7 inch touch screen with a guidance display. He also noted that you can incorporate other Ag Leader precision technologies such as OnTrac2+, GeoSteer or the assisted steering, ParaDyme for your high-end hydraulic system.

Rasmusson told me that nearly 50 percent of farms in the U.S. aren’t using any type of precision technologies but the Compass display is designed for entry-level users – an easy way to ease them into the world of precision ag.

“The Compass display would be a generic lightbar for them to use in a tillage scenario or a spring scenario if they wanted to do coverage mapping,” explained Rasmusson. “There is a built in guidance so they don’t have to use markers, and you can also incorporate the steering into the system.”

In fact, says, Rasmusson, the system is so easy to use a grower can figure it out in around an hour. If not, Ag Leader has 24/7 free technical assistance available.

Listen to my full interview with Josh Rasmusson: Let Ag Leader's Compass Guide You

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

Ag Leader’s Hydraulic Down Force Improves Planting

It’s hard to forget the spring of 2013 when growers had more rain then they could handle. For some they lost crops, for others the seed was planted a bit late. But 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.

Brett Buehler Ag LeaderTo learn more about how this precision technology works, I spoke with Ag Leader’s Brett Buehler during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming show. As explained by Buehler 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.

For many growers, last year’s crops were planted in wet conditions. (During planting the soil gets compacted and in essence turns in to cement so the roots can’t grow deep enough to access the water and nutrients they need throughout the growing season). “Last year was the perfect storm. We had a wet planting spring and it got dry during the summer. So the guys who used our Hydraulic Down Force System last year had tremendous yield,” said Buehler.

Planters still come from the factory with springs that growers have to adjust and it is hard to determine what the right adjustment is when field conditions can change in less than 50 feet. So unlike the air bag option that some companies have developed, Ag Leader went with a hydraulic actuator that in essence allows the planter to react nearly instantaneously.

“So instead of taking 30 or 40 seconds to compass the air to get the right amount of downforce,” explained Buehler, “we can react within a second with the hydraulic down force.”

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

Listen to my full interview with Brett Buehler: Hydraulic Down Force Leads to Up in Production

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

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

Ag Leader Proud to Sponsor Iowa Power Farming Show

Ag Leader had a great 2013 and 2014 is shaping up to be even better. I caught up with Mike Olson, Ag Leader North America Sales Manager, who gave me an overview of what 2014 will bring as well as spoke to me about their sponsorship of the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show.

Olson said they have been an event sponsor for the past five plus years and the event in is their backyard (they are located in Ames, Iowa) so Iowa Power Farming is a good show for AgLeader Mike Olson at 2014 Iowa Power Farming Showthem to sponsor. He also noted that it’s become the third largest farm show in the country, is very well run and has been very successful.

“We’re really proud to be a part of it,” said Olson. “We have a lot of our customers who come in and share their experiences and learn about new technologies, and it just a good way to meet our customers and spend time with them.”

During the show Ag Leader held some educational seminars including one focused on “AgFiniti– Ag Leader Technology’s Cloud-Based Platform,” presented by Luke James; “Designing a Tile Drainage System Using Your Precision Ag Data,” presented by Aaron Friedlein; and “Put Your Mind at Ease and Your Seed at Proper Depth with Hydraulic Down Force,” presented by Brett Buehler.

Precision agriculture has really grown over the past few years but Olson said that an estimated 50 percent of farm operations don’t use any precision ag technology. He said because of this there are a lot of great opportunities for people to get started and the technology has gotten a lot easier to use. He said the technology is also less expensive and some of the equipment like tractors and planters are easier to interface with. “So people who aren’t in it yet shouldn’t be scared to get into it,” said Olson.

He noted that another big trend in the industry is the value of data and more operations are beginning to see the value in collecting and analyzing data. In addition, for those farmers who have been using precision technologies, Ag Leader continues to innovate and has launched some great new products including AgFiniti and Ag Leader Hydraulic Down Force.

Listen to my full interview with Mike Olson. Ag Leader Proud to Sponsor Iowa Power Farming Show

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

2014 Iowa Power Farming Show Round-up

Tom Junge 2014 Iowa Power Farming ShowThe 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show is in full swing this week in Des Moines, Iowa and according to Tom Junge, show director nearly 25,000 people are expected to attend the third largest farm show in the United States. The show expands 7 acres and features exhibitors from 29 states and 4 Canadian Provinces; represents 750 companies and more than 1,800 booths. Junge says there is an exhibitor waiting list of more than 100 companies.

Junge said the show has been growing each year for the past six plus years and people are driving from out of state to attend. “People are finding out how good the show is and how many exhibitors we have here and once they talk to their neighbors they seem to come the next year,” said Junge.

The farming show features a plethora of different agriculture products ranging from tractors to skid steers, combines to sprayers, planters to utility vehicles to grain trailers, landscape and turf equipment and outdoor power equipment. In addition, there were companies showcasing their precision ag electronics, management software and ag-related accessories.

Junge said that show also features seminars and workshops and new this year are workshops on covercrops. He said that out east they are doing a lot of this although Iowa may be lagging a bit behind the trend. Due to the interest of this topic, over the three days there will be 45 one-hour sessions on just this topic alone. In addition, AgLeader hosted some precision ag seminars and Stewart-Peterson gives the attendees updates on the commodities markets.

Special thanks to Ag Leader for sponsoring ZimmComm coverage of the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show.

Listen to my full interview with Tom Junge who gives a great overview of the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show. 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show Round-up

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

Tech Support Excels During Busy Spring Season

Insights WeeklyThis week we caught up with Scott Andrews, Ag Leader Customer Support Manager, who tells us a little more about what Ag Leader tech support is doing to gear up for the busy upcoming spring season.

1. With the spring rush almost upon us, what is Ag Leader doing to prepare to be ready to answer grower calls?

Ag Leader support is continuously reviewing how we can better help our customers. We continually train our staff on our products so that we are able to support our customers. We are tweaking our staffing so that we have the right resources in place to handle the types of calls we receive during planting season, and then we’ll re-tweak for applications over the summer and harvest in the fall.

2. What do you believe makes Ag Leader stand out above the competition when it comes to tech support?

Our helpful staff is what makes the difference. Every tech support representative is here because they want to help our customers.

3. When growers purchase precision Ag equipment, it comes along with tech support. They’re purchasing peace of mind. Why is this so important for their investment?

Farming can be challenging enough when equipment functions properly and weather cooperates. Knowing these aren’t guaranteed for our customers, we strive to provide quality, timely support so that customers can focus on their operations.

4. Tell me about the tech support team. Who are the people behind the product?

There are about 50 tech support staff who either grew up in ag or decided to pursue ag as a career. They are men and women from around the country ready to help our customers have a successful year.

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.