Raven Industries is always working on something. During the recent NAFB Convention’s Trade Talk, I met up with Raven’s Marketing and Business Development Manager, Ryan Molitor. He expressed Raven’s desire to continue to add new technologies to the precision marketplace as well as improve on their existing products.
“One of the things we really invest a lot in is training our dealers on not just supporting and servicing our equipment but helping them better educate growers on the benefits of precision ag technology. It’s pretty diverse from a technology standpoint. There is a lot of different technology out there. Growers and producers have a lot of diverse needs also. It is important to talk to them and understand their individual operations and where the technology can fit for them.”
Raven introduced many different technologies earlier this year. Ryan said the feedback they have received from their beta testers has been great. In my interview he discusses their direct injection technology, data management for ag retailers and producers and their multiple hybrid planter control. Their newest precision equipment to hit the marketplace is their yield monitoring system and Ryan shares what growers have said about it’s acute accuracy.
On the farm in Victoria, Andrew tells me that over the last decade or so they have really started to see advances in their own technologies and how the land is responding. He was one of the first to begin using technology in his production.
Genscape said a unique combination of spring floods and flash droughts, coupled with an unusually long growing season, have conspired to make this year’s annual corn forecast the most difficult on record. However, the company said through its Landviewer technology, is able to simplify the complexity of predicting forecasts.
“Given the unusual circumstances around this year’s growing season, we feel our NASA satellite and big data initiatives are even more important,” said Dr. Steffen Mueller, director of spatial grain analytics at Genscape. “We are back to our original prediction of 13.3 billion bushels, and we have the hard data to back it up.”
Genscape said its LandViewer model offers next generation data acquisition techniques, integrates NASA satellite imagery, and the industry’s most unified ground-based crop yield verification – called “ground truthing – with extensive analysis by experienced soil/agricultural scientists.
Normally at this time of year, the USDA incorporates Farm Service Agency (FSA) lost acreage data; however, this year that analysis has not available to market participants because of the temporary government shutdown. Genscape said because it is able to incorporate NASA satellite imagery with best-in-the-industry ground truthing data, their latest forecast is the only known model to currently account for this market intelligence.
Jeff Barnes, Greenway Equipment, a John Deere dealership, is their manager of farm technology. He says yesterday’s announcements from John Deere of their new Developer.Deere.com portal and the MyJohnDeere Data API is a big step for the company. I talked with him to get his perspective on what the company is doing.
He says their dealership has been actively involved with John Deere as the new data transfer system has been developed. “Now it’s time when we really need these tools to come together to build out things so our customers can take that data and use it in their operations.” He says this is making precision ag easier and helping more growers make use of the data they create during the season.
Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. In this week’s program we’re going to learn about FieldSync from Jen Cochran. We visited yesterday to talk about their mobile, cloud-based, technology and applications for agriculture.
FieldSync™ builds software solutions for businesses that want to “lower costs, improve efficiency, increase revenue, and gain valuable oversight and visibility to their operations.” One of the key ag industry segments they offer support to is livestock. Tracking your livestock can be a tough job. FieldSync has the tools that you need to get the most out of your day and your operation. Entering critical data about your animals on a mobile device saves you time and money. Our customers are able to check in and check out livestock 50% faster. They’ve also tackled source verification, and are able to track treatments, pulls, and weight gains on an individual basis. Built in reports and alerts make it easy to react to critical and time sensitive situations.
Beyond livestock FieldSync also offers a lot to any farm operation including row crops with features like:
Keep accurate records of employee and contractor timecards and expenses
Agricultural equipment is the heart of success. Keep complete data on record showing equipment history, incidents, mileage/hours and maintenance
Use custom built forms (no tech staff required) to collect field and crop data such as treatments, field prep, planting, trials, production and post-production notes
Track details on farm and field assets such as tools and irrigation equipment, including location and chain-of-custody
Easily built reports based on your criteria
Listen to my conversation with Jen in this week’s ZimmCast to learn more about FieldSync here: FieldSync Your Data
All these concerns marked the way for the entry of the new world of agriculture management practices. Precision farming can significantly reduce the amount of nutrient and other crop inputs used while boosting yields. Farmers, thus, obtain a return on their investment by saving on phytosanitory and fertilizer costs. The second large- scale benefit of targeting inputs in spatial, temporal and qualitative terms reduce concerns of environmental impacts. Continue reading →
“The 2510L enables customers to maximize crop yields through more accurate and timely liquid fertilizer placement,” says Travis Harrison, product specialist from John Deere. This latest model is available in two different models with vertical folds that are 30- and 40-foot with a side fold widths up to 66 feet. There are 18 spacing and control options and Deere is offering one of the largest tank options, up to 2,400 gallons.
John Deere offered the media a look at all the new equipment a few weeks ago and farmers got their first look at the Farm Progress Show. Orders have already started rolling into dealers all over the world as fertilizer application just got a bit easier with in sync sidedresser capabilities.
We did get to hear from a high ranking official in the Argentine government during the IFAJ Congress this week – but not in English and there was no opportunity to ask questions.
Lorenzo Basso’s title is Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture of Argentina, so not exactly the equal to Tom Vilsack in the U.S., more like Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden.
Some interesting takeaways from his comments:
Argentina is able to feed ten times its population of 40 million people
Argentina is the number one exporter of soybean oil, soybean meal, biodiesel, pears, lemons, lemon juice, and honey.
Four pillars for “smart agriculture” they are adopting in Argentina are:
- No till practices – 80% of farms now
- Crop rotation – working on that, nearly 50% is soybeans
- Biotechnology, pesticides and stewardship
- Precision agriculture technology – growing rapidly
Poultry production in the country has adopted new technology and become more competitive but beef industry needs to do more to produce more calves since birth rate for calves is the same as it was 50 years ago.
Last year at Farm Progress Show, Monsanto previewed FieldScripts, the company’s first product from the Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) platform. This year, we got to actually see how it worked in the field – sort of.
“Our original plans were to harvest the first FieldScripts here at the Farm Progress Show,” said FieldScripts launch lead for Monsanto Dave Rhylander at a media event on the eve of the show. When weather caused planting to be delayed in the spring, they moved to a shorter season hybrid. “Then we had that cool weather in July and early August and it just slowed everything down and we couldn’t get it harvested.”
Ever able to adapt, Monsanto was still able to put on a good demo for the media with recently planted fields and had several Ground Breakers farmers on hand to talk about their experiences with FieldScripts this year. “We had about 150 farmers that tested this in the four states of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana,” Dave said. “We’ve had great feedback from them as far as simplicity, how it worked in the cab, and we’re very excited to hear now how the yields are going to be.” Interview with Dave Rhylander, Monsanto
Jamie and Kristyn went on the tour of the field trials and will be sharing interviews and video from company representatives and growers about both FieldScripts® and Ground Breakers® Field Trials Under Permit for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybeans.
Most people can relate to having tons of data that is hard to manage, such as digital photos, for example. You may have photos in various places – like on your desk top, your lap top, smartphone, or server – but not organized in one place so you can easily catalog, view or share them.
That is a dilemma facing modern farmers collecting and using increasing amounts of digital data to run their operations and precision agriculture extension specialist Dr. John Fulton with Auburn University says addressing data management is a key issue for production agriculture. “Getting data off the machine automatically is the number one barrier that farmers say is keeping them from moving forward in data management,” said Dr. Fulton during a session at last week’s John Deere Product Intro for the media.
Fulton says bigger machines have led to more data. “There’s more to it than guidance systems, it’s rate control, variable rate, section control – all that technology’s built-in,” he said. “But how big is not really the question, it’s the processing that’s really limiting us” and that will need to be addressed on the software level. “Getting it down to where it’s organized, where I can view it, simply bring it up when I’m on the road,” he said. “The key to success is being able to visualize the data.
Dr. Fulton says farmers have told them in surveys that they need wireless data transfer that is automatic, simple and web-based, and they need local support to make it happen and he thinks the introduction of wireless data transfer for MyJohnDeere.com is an example of what is coming.
As more farmer are using new technology in precision agriculture, they are gathering increasing amounts of machine and production data. With that comes the need for moving, storing, and utilizing that data more efficiently between people and devices.
Kathy Michael, product manager, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, says with the introduction of Wireless Data Transfer and data sharing on MyJohnDeere.com, overall data collection, transfer, and management will be much easier. “Wireless Data Transfer is really exciting for our growers. They’re eliminating the use of USB sticks to get that information to their machines and get that documentation data back from the field.”
Kathy says full introduction of the wireless data system will be coming in 2014 but farmers can get a preview at the fall farm shows, starting with Farm Progress Show next week. Interview with John Deere's Kathy Michael
Kathy gave a demo for dealers at the product intro event in Columbus this week, which you can watch here:
Using an iPad for precision agricultural applications is a fast growing use of the most widely used tablets. But it also brings concerns over how to protect the devices as they’re transferred from home to truck to tractor or combine. One way is with a rugged Drop Tech Series case from Gumdrop Cases. Here’s me with one I just got for my iPad mini in orange and blue (Go Gators!). These cases provide maximum protection that includes screen and port protection, shock absorption and drop protection.
So how about a real world ag application. You can look to Precision Planting customers who use iPad to access their FieldView App, which allows them to view real-time planter data as they go through the field and sync to the cloud so other farmers can access the data and monitor the operation. The FieldView app brings the farmer’s field to life on high-resolution maps. Farmers can view spacing and singulation as well as ground contact and row unit weight, making analysis much easier. The Gumdrop cases provided Precision Planting with a case that can withstand weather conditions and protect against any possible damage in the field.
“With the ruggedness of the cases, our farmers are able to take their iPads with them from the tractor and use the device as a crop-scouting tool throughout the season and then put it in the combine to monitor harvest operations in the fall,” said Sean Arians, Product Marketing Manager of Precision Planting.
You can find Gumdrop Cases here. I’m liking mine and will be taking it on the road with me this week to the 2013 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Charlotte, NC.
On August 6, the Genscape LandViewer team released its corn supply predictions to clients, estimating the corn supply to around least 12.6 billion bushels. Other crop advisory groups as well as USDA is predicting the corn crop to be closer to 14 billion bushels, a number that Genscape believes is too high. The USDA is releasing its latest crop report on Monday, August 12, 2013 at noon EST.
“For the supply to meet the high predictions from groups like the USDA, contributions from historically highly productive county-clusters would be necessary, and that doesn’t seem likely,” said Dr. Steffen Mueller, senior director of Genscape’s LandViewer group.
According to Genscape, traditionally highly productive county-clusters, such as many counties in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, show severe problems this year. In addition to modeling analysis, the LandViewer team has conducted multiple ground verification trips and has surmised that these problem areas will not likely recover to the level necessary to help the country meet the USDA’s total supply estimate. In addition, the national corn crop is an average of three weeks behind, and it will have much higher risk for frost exposure.
LandViewer’s prediction is based on a high resolution geospatial data model combined with extensive ground truthing. Using satellite technology, LandViewer has developed a spatial-based algorithm to predict corn supply on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Corn yield and supply predictions for each of the monitored 1,100 counties were shared with clients on August 6, a week in advance of the USDA reports. The information is useful for grain buyers to master local supply shortages or surpluses. For national grain investors, the LandViewer parcel-by-parcel platform has also proven to be a useful tool to identify risk associated with isolated county clusters.
During their recent First in the Field event, media had the opportunity to jump behind the wheel of all the equipment. But a highlight for many was the chance to see the PLM auto-guidance system in action. I brought my camera along and captured the precision technology in action. Check out how it feels to be behind the wheel and listen to a New Holland representative talk about all the perks of a PLM program.
During the InfoAg Conference the 2013 PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence were presented, sponsored by the PrecisionAg Institute. Announcing the awards was Paul Schrimpf, Group Editor, Croplife Media Group and posing with each of the winners is K. Elliott Nowels, Meister Media Group. First up:
The PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence shed light on some of the most important people and programs that have helped agriculture realize the full benefits of technology to improve agronomy, efficiency, and stewardship in crop production.
The next award presented during the awards luncheon was:
I learned all about GEOSYS during the 2013 InfoAg Conference by visiting with Dave West. The company just announced their Field Profit Planner, a comprehensive tool for farmers and their advisors who pursue high efficiency farming.
The new cloud-based GEOSYS Field Profit Planner service gives growers quick analyses of their individual fields while also providing insight into productivity across the entire farm. Unique to the GEOSYS platform, profit analysis for each field is included as part of the standard package. Each grower’s individual field costs and yields can be used to calculate returns on each field or variable rate technology (VRT) field zone. The data is displayed in an easy-to-use format.
Dave says GEOSYS uses the latest tools in agronomy so are enabled to make the best decisions for their operations.
“We’re not actually making those decisions for a grower. Our tools are meant to give the producer or decisionmaker the best information to make the best decisions,” he said, adding GEOSYS has been in business around the globe for 25 years. And over the past decade, they have put together a database on satellite imagery that is what Dave characterizes as the most effective tool for measuring variability in a field. That’s a lot of information at the fingertips of GEOSYS providers. “Being able to take that, build the algorithms to it and process it, and deliver visual tools that will act as either a substrate for a conventional solution or a precision ag, variable-rate solution, that’s where we play.”
Dave says GEOSYS’ information can tell a subscriber what’s going on in the soil, past performance, variables, and where to plant crops, just to name a few items. He added the data really helps producers who need to be able to anticipate and react to the variables in those fields. Dave said knowing what to do in the various parts of one field can significantly cut down on the costly inputs, such as fertilizer and seed. The company has an Apple-based app for mobile devices.
Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. In this week’s program I’m sharing a conversation with Brian Arnall, Oklahoma State University. Brian was one of the presenters at the 2013 InfoAg Conference on precision agriculture.
Brian’s presentation topic was “Ag Apps for Smart Phones and Tablets.” That certainly got my attention.
Brian is keeping a list of apps he finds that are focused on agriculture and it’s growing fast. When he was asked to do this presentation in January his list (narrowed by topics he’s concerned with) had about 20 apps on it. By last week’s conference he was at 50 and added 4 the morning of his presentation! I hope you’ll enjoy hearing some of his thoughts.
It’s all good at the 2013 InfoAg Conference on precision agriculture. Attendance is at a record above 1,100 at current count. Two years ago it was at 700! And now the conference is moving to every year and will be in St. Louis, MO in 2014, Union Station Hilton, July 1-3.
Steve Phillips, Southeast Region Director for the North American program of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), the host organization for the InfoAg Conference, welcomed us to this year’s event this morning and I visited him on a break. He says that the increase in attendance is something they are seeing at other precision conferences where exhibitor participation is up, sponsorships are up and media coverage is up. With the pace of new technology introductions and adoption a decision was made to go to every year to keep up. A big attraction this year are unmanned aerial vehicles which I still call drones. Several companies are exhibiting them and I hope to visit with them before the event ends.
This three day conference is brought to us by the International Plant Nutrition Institute. It has grown so much that it will be moving to an annual conference instead of every other year. Attendance is a record this year and I’ll find out actual numbers later. I’ve been told there over 200 more registered than last conference.
In the lead up to the 2013 InfoAg Conference you might want to get the app so you’re ready. You can get the app for iOS right here or for Android right here. If you’re attending InfoAg I’d like you to have it before attending my session on Wednesday afternoon!
The conference will be held July 16-18 in Springfield, Illinois at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. This is all about precision agriculture for farmers, consultants and anyone in the crop production industry. We’re expecting the largest exhibit hall ever with 101 booths and 68 vendors. There will be 77 other presenters besides me so there’s a lot to learn at the event.
With the app you can build a personal conference program, view the full program and see other program options.