“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.”
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – call them UAVs or drones or just remote-controlled airplanes – have been around for decades, but using them for agricultural practices is just really starting to take off.
A good crowd showed up for a session on UAVs sponsored by Farm Industry magazine at the recent National Farm Machinery Show where University of Kentucky (UK) mechanical engineer Dr. Suzanne Smith was one of the presenters. The UK recently announced the formation of an Unmanned Systems Research Consortium (USRC) to advance unmanned aerial, ground and underwater systems, and to explore commercial applications for the technology in Kentucky.
“It’s faculty members from across the university,” says Smith. “From ag, ag engineering, forestry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science – all working together to advance technologies – and we’re working with companies.”
She and other panelists entertained lots of questions from the audience at the NFMS which indicated a great deal of interest from farmers in using more advanced UAV technology. “It’s very exciting right now,” she said. “In the end it’s really time-saving and efficiency, and that’s what everybody is really looking for.”
Have you ever wanted to be able to see what is happening every day weather-wise on each of your fields? The Climate Corporation was at the National Farm Machinery Show telling farmers about a free tool they have to offer that can do just that. You may recall that Monsanto acquired The Climate Corporation in October and NFMS is one of the first shows since that time where they have been out talking to farmers about their products.
The Climate Corporation monitors 30 million fields in the US Corn Belt. According to Jeff Hamlin growers can sign up for free Climate Basic at www.Climate.com. With this account farmers can locate each of their fields and then will be able to see what growth stage the plants are at, how much rain the field has received, and soil moisture in each of the locations entered. The information can be seen from your computer, phone or tablet.
Farmers can also invest in Climate Pro which is a more advanced system which includes satellite imagery of your crops, nitrogen recommendations, and planting recommendations. These programs can be incorporated with precision planting software or just included in your Climate Basic account.
Glass Atlanta. That’s where I was this weekend following the MapShots Customer Conference. This event was really for the public to get their first look at Glass, wear it and learn about it.
In the venue there were demo stations set up to cover different applications and uses for Glass. I brought ZimmGlass with me because I had questions.
This is the first station where you get to try on Glass and learn about the basic functions and operations. We had two technicians there to work with us. This photo was taken with ZimmGlass.
From there we could demo a translation application which would be very helpful traveling abroad. Other stations set up included one for music using Google Play, one to get your photo taken wearing Glass and more.
I shot a video with ZimmGlass and wandered around the various stations so you can see what the event was like. These are great opportunities and I’m glad to see Google providing the opportunity. I’m more confident in using my Glass and will continue using it on the agriblogging highway.
The use of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to fly over crops and livestock to maximize profits is one of the hottest topics entering the agriculture sector. He shared how this is all possible using examples of his work at the university.
“About 80% of the money that will be spent on the unmanned aircraft systems will be spent in the area of agriculture. There are ten times more applications in agriculture then there is in any of the other application areas.” He continued by saying, “They are predicting this will be a $100 billion industry by the year 2025.”
He said agriculture applications for drones in development include data collection on crop health, vigor and yields, tracking the spread of invasive plant species and monitoring cattle feedlots. Data collection of field images by cameras mounted on drones within an inch of accuracy.
When asked where he saw drone use in agriculture going in the next five years he said it was hard to say because interest was growing so rapidly, but “it will blow your socks off.” The economic potential of drones is tremendous in terms of precision agriculture but will not be realized without approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Wondering what it could cost you? Dr. Price said a fixed-winged aircraft could run a couple thousand dollars to $12,000. Other models might be under a thousand up to $7,000-$8,000. Will you start saving to increase profits in the long run?
How many of you received a new smart phone for Christmas? Just raise your hand. Hmm. Quite a few I see. How do you like it? What don’t you like? Feel free to chime in with your comments. I’ve played around with a lot of devices and have settled on two that I really like and thought I’d share some comments about them.
Regular AgWired readers know that I’ve been carrying a Samsung Galaxy Note II. That is for sale now. Why? Because a phablet doesn’t fit my one-handed phone lifestyle. I want to be able to text with one hand and the Note is just too big. I definitely didn’t need or use the stylus. When I first got it I thought I’d like the extra screen space but quickly found out that wasn’t the case.
Of the two phones that are the subject of this post, the iPhone is my favorite. Two of the biggest reasons are that the iPhone camera takes better photos and the apps are more intuitive and user friendly. That’s my experience and both are important to me. I take a lot of phone photos, many of which appear on AgWired and my social media accounts. Another reason is that the 5S processor (A7) is fast, way faster than my iPhone 5 which Cindy is now carrying. Everything runs faster. When I turn it on it connects to the network faster, apps like Mail run faster. And faster is better in today’s world.
I think that outside of these reasons I would be happy with either device. At this point the Google Play store has a version of almost all the iTunes Store apps I use the most. I’ve been able to set both devices up to be nearly identical from this standpoint. This allows me to use an app I’m familiar with on both for times when I only have one or the other on me or am only in an area with service for one or the other. Continue reading →
Like a story out of the future, except that it is now, comes The ZimmGlass Project. At least that’s what I’m calling it for now. What is it? We’re going to find out together over a period of time in which I experiment with Google Glass! Glass is basically a computer you wear on your face but that’s just just the short description. With its functionalities it is much more and that’s what I’ll be experimenting with.
I am one of the newest members of the Glass Explorers Program. Like Bruce Rasa, I want to find ways that this gamer changer technology can be incorporated into agricultural applications that will improve efficiencies and help farmer and company bottom lines. I’m looking for companies that may want to work on a test project that would include using Glass as part of an existing application or to develop a new one. You can be sure I’ll find a way to incorporate the device into online agricultural and social media.
This will serve as the first in a series of posts on my use of Glass and I welcome feedback and ideas you may have.
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.
At today’s NAFB Trade Talk, John Deere’s had a big announcement about their MyJohnDeere platform collaborating software developers and companies. Cindy spoke with Product Marketing Manager for John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, Chris Batdorf, during the fast-paced event.
“Last summer we introduced a product called Wireless Data Transfer and that helped to do away with the USB stick and seamlessly transfer production data on and off the machine to MyJohnDeere platform. What this new announcement means is now we are working with the software companies out there. Then with their customers permission, tap in to this information and serve it up on their applications.”
Customers are able to view and manage this information from smart phones, tablets, and computers when and where they need it. Chris went on to share how this new technology will increase efficiency and make the job of the farmer easier overall.
“Their able to use applications that make sense to them, but we are doing a lot of things through the MyJohnDeere platform that customers are going to see in the coming year around showing the information actually on that platform. Making it a one-stop shop, helping them to not only see their John Deere equipment but other equipment as well.”
Earlier this year we had a preview of this announcement when Chuck attended John Deere API Integrator Conference. Here a link to that post.
For companies or developers interested in connecting their applications to MyJohnDeere platform visit Developer.deere.com. More information on MyJohnDeere, Wireless Data Transfer, and JDLink, check out MyJohnDeere.com or contact your local John Deere dealer.
To help producers more accurately monitor the condition of their grain during harvest and in storage, John Deere introduces the GT-30300 Grain Moisture Tester. This new hand-held device provides direct readout of moisture and test weight for 20 different grains in seconds, without pre-weighing the samples, at the touch of a button.
According to Barry Deiters, product manager with John Deere Merchandise, the new GT-30300 Grain Moisture Tester is the most accurate and advanced hand-held tester available. “The tester measures the moisture of harvested or stored grain from 5 percent to 45 percent with repeatable accuracy to plus or minus 0.2 percent and test weights with repeatable accuracy of 0.5 lb. per bushel, without having to pre-weigh the samples.”
The tester also measures the temperature of stored grains from 40 to 120 degrees F with repeatable accuracy to within 1.0 degree. Other features include a backlit LCD display for easy viewing of data, automatic temperature compensation and USB port and cord to make software updates and downloading data easy and convenient. Each unit comes with an attached swiper for grain leveling and heavy-duty carrying case.
Cogent3D, makers of iCropTrak, have taken soil sampling to a whole new level for farmers this fall.
Aaron Hutchinson, Cogent3D president and co-founder, says they took the best practices from their dedicated soil sampling apps and feedback from soil sampling customers to upgrade iCropTrak Soil Sampling capabilities. “iCropTrak is the third generation of our farming technologies that we’ve built,” he said.
With the recent App store updates, Aaron says soil sampling has been refined to make it significantly faster to operate and easier to create and collect grid and zone sampling. “So that somebody who might be a seasonal worker or a full-fledged professional can get the most from our tools,” he said.
Aaron tells me that they are working on another release for Spring will increase the performance of the technology by a factor of ten. “So we’re ready for the new MyJohnDeere.com data connections that everybody’s been hearing about, as well as being able to deal with some of the very large amounts of data that people are starting to collect on their farms,” he added.
iCropTrak is sold in over 50 countries and Aaron says they recently spent a month in Africa, where six of the ten fastest growing countries in the world are located, and next week they will be at Agritechnica in Germany.
iCropTrak is an iPad/iPhone mobile app and personal cloud combination that lets you customize the features of the application including its sampling and scouting forms. iCropTrak mobile app can be found in the Apple iTunes store and the custom cloud can be purchased directly from iCropTrak sales team. You can also check them out on Facebook or through their ad on the AgWired mobile app.
I spoke with Cory Reed, Senior VP of John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group, about the release of GHI’s 4th annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®). “The primary metric we use to look at productivity is total factor productivity – how much are you growing outputs versus the inputs you are putting into it,” he said, adding that technology is a great way to enhance that which is why John Deere is focused on being able to make it easier for farmers to grow the productivity of their operations.
Pam had a seat at the global roundtable in 2010 and she was pleased to reconnect with some of her fellow alumni during the symposium. “There were 20 of us from all over the world,” she said. “We’re all still working and engaged in agriculture in some way to be a leader and to explain why it is biotechnology is so important as a tool for food security.”
Pam was also very pleased with the focus on agricultural biotechnology at World Food Prize this year with the winners all being scientists who have pioneered its development. “Biotechnology is size neutral, it’s good for everyone,” she said, adding that World Food Prize is a great place “for the personal stories and the truth to get out.” Interview with NCGA Chair Pam Johnson
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.
Truth About Trade and Technology (TATT) is a non-profit advocacy group led by farmers who support freer trade and a farmers freedom to choose the tools, technologies and strategies they need to maximize productivity and profitability in a sustainable manner. Since 2006, TATT has brought farmers from different countries together during World Food Prize week in Des Moines to attend the event and share their knowledge and experiences with each other. This year there were 16 farmers from 14 countries at the Roundtable, all with different backgrounds and experiences but common challenges and aspirations.
Mary Boote, Chief Executive Officer for TATT, is the one who organizes and brings these farmers together and hosts them while they are in Des Moines for the World Food Prize. Mary says since they started the roundtable, they have hosted 98 farmers from 63 different countries and she takes great pride in the fact that alumni want to stay in touch and work together as they go back to their countries. Listen to my interview with Mary here: Interview with Mary Boote
TATT chairman and Iowa farmer Bill Horan says the farmers sitting around the table have such similar stories to tell, yet they have so much to learn from one another. “Farmers, large and small, around the world seem to be dealing with some of the same issues – access to technology, credit, trade barriers,” said Horan, adding that the farmers from other countries bring lots of new information back home. “When these folks go back to their own country, they’re treated like rock stars.” Interview with Bill Horan
During the Truth About Trade and Technology (TATT) Global Farmer Roundtable, we learned that Kemin is the largest grower of marigolds (yes, that not so fragrant flower you often plant in your flower beds) to extract the Lutein, a naturally occurring carotenoid – which happens to help prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration. So, Kemin Industries grows the marigolds to extract the lutein to your vitamins and nutrients so that the largest growing section of the population can keep their sight longer.
Another crop that Kemin cultivates for its molecular benefits is rosemary, which is full of antioxidants. It’s weeded by hand and due to the high concentration of essential oils, bacteria and insects generally stay away. Oregano and spearmint are also grown by Kemin for research in the MidWest and around the world. They have fascinating ways of doing cross pollination and with their rosemary production they have just been recognized for sustainability.
“I’m always reminded by what Dr. Borlaug used to say, that hunger never sleeps, and that means we can’t sleep either,” said Dr. Robert T. (Robb) Fraley, Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto.
Dr. Fraley recalled a visit with Norman Borlaug towards the end of his life just a few years ago and how excited the “Father of the Green Revolution” was to hear about molecular breeding and gene sequencing. “And Norm says ‘I can see how the Green and Gene Revolutions are going to come together,’” said Fraley. “From a science perspective, that’s exactly what has happened.”
Fraley says explaining the importance and safety of biotech crops to the general public is a big challenge for the industry. “This is important to all consumers,” he said. “We’ve got to talk to consumers in the context of food security, food prices, the benefits of an affordable food system, the urgency of these tools for the rest of the world and the fact that by farming more efficiently and using less inputs, we dramatically reduce the impact that agriculture could have on the environment.” He also advocates the use of social media to communicate with the public and recently started his own Twitter account.
Dr. Fraley will be honored this week with the 2013 World Food Prize along with fellow biotechnology scientists Marc Van Montagu of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium, and Mary-Dell Chilton of Syngenta Biotechnology.
Kemin Industries Worldwide hosted the 2013 Truth About Trade and Technology (TATT) Global Farmer Roundtable just ahead of the start of the World Food Prize in Des Moines today. Kemin is changing the world by taking their molecular technology and using it in different products around the world. You probably don’t even know that you’ve even consumed one of their products.
R.W. and Mary Nelson started the company in 1961 with a mere $10,000 investment. Today the company has nearly 2,000 employees with revenues exceeding $500 million. They have operations in more the 90 countries and about 200 patents.
Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. In this week’s program we’re going to talk about Glass, as in Google Glass.
Will this new technology be coming to a farm near you? It has actually been used on farms as part of a Google Explorers project being conducted by Bruce Rasa, Inventive Branding. Bruce was one of a select few chosen my Google to receive and use Google Glass prior to the actual public launch of the product in 2014.
Google Glass (styled “GLΛSS”) is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.
Bruce spoke to a group of software developers during last week’s John Deere API Integrator Conference. He gave us a “what if” scenario for how you might use a device like this on the farm that included several videos with farmers who used Glass on their farm. He’s got some great ideas that I think you’ll enjoy by listening to this week’s program.
Grower engagement on both the people and services level is important for BASF Crop Protection to ensure they are doing all they can to help farmers grow smarter, market smarter and live smarter.
During one of the breakout sessions at the BASF Global Press conference in Germany this week, we heard from (left to right) Hannes Lutz – vice president of business development; Kaleb Hellwig – U.S. innovation specialist; and Elmar Groiss – global head of information technology.
Hannes explained that they have found four main fundamentals that farmers have in common. “First, farmers feel they are in a competition … with their neighbors and on the world market,” he said. “Second, they are part of a community. They want to be connected with their neighbors, other farmers, and experts.” They also believe they are food providers and stewards of the land. Interview with Hannes Lutz, BASF Crop Protection VP of business development
Among the ways BASF is engaging with growers is through a new position called the Innovation Specialist, which Kaleb says is the best job he has ever had in 17 years with BASF. “I travel every day, meet customers, help identify some of the challenges and problems they have, and then put plans together to help them solve that,” said Kaleb, who is based on the western side of Missouri. Interview with Kaleb Hellwig, BASF Innovation Specialist
When it comes to services, BASF has a couple of new technological developments in the works, according to Elmar. One is DigiLab, which offers a microscope quality digital camera combined with a tablet application that helps identify plant diseases. “Farmers in the field can take a high quality picture of the disease, have an on-tablet comparison with a library, but they can also send it back to BASF experts to get detailed analysis,” he said. DigiLab is now being used in Brazil and is expected to be available in the United States soon. Interview with Elmar Groiss, BASF Global Head of Information Technology