Raven showcases new innovations

schwiesow-denton-raven-picPrecision farming technology is constantly changing, so we stopped by the Raven booth at Commodity Classic to find out what’s new.

Denton Shwiesow, sales manager for Raven’s Applied Technology Division, visited with us about enhancements to Slingshot, new grain cart management and multi-hybrid planter controls, and the redesigned Vortex anhydrous ammonia system.

AUDIO: Denton Schwiesow (3:07 MP3)


Pioneer, Deere announce data share agreement

DuPont Pioneer and John Deere have announced a new data share agreement.

The companies are linking Pioneer Field360 services, a suite of precision agronomy software, with John Deere Wireless Data Transfer architecture, JDLink and MyJohnDeere.    According to a Pioneer news release, it will make the data exchange process faster and more convenient for growers and enable them to make  seed, fertilizer and other input purchasing and management decisions with the latest field data.

The companies expect to roll out the service next year.

Winfield introduces new mapping capabilities

Technology is a star at the 2013 Farm Progress Show. Dave Gebhardt, Director of Agronomic Data and Technology for Winfield, tells Brownfield he would like for farmers to leave the Winfield exhibit with the impression that Winfield can almost do it all through data driven solutions for farmers for a more profitable acre.

Dave Gebhard 08282013

The R7 tool is an interactive service introduced in 2012 that provides farmers with important field-performance information. It can highlight any field and show the variability in yield potential and divides the field into zones.

The Field Response Map and The Profitability Map are two new mapping capabilities incorporated in the R7 Tool to help farmers make better informed decisions. These maps are used as a scorecard, evaluating yield and enhancing planning.

Conversation with Dave Gebhardt 08282013

Farmer on precision ag’s returns

Brian Watkins, Ohio farmer, presenter at InfoAg 2013Precision agriculture has the potential to help farming operations prosper but what is the return on investment? Northwest Ohio farmer Brian Watkins farms with his family and uses precision ag tools, “You have to take a systems approach. It’s not just buying a piece of hardware or a piece of software and thinking it’s going to solve your problems.”  Watkins grows corn, soybeans and pigs.

In time, he says, the return is evident, “We’ve been doing this for a long time and I do feel like we’ve gotten to the point where we know how to use the tools. We’ve gotten a lot of help with that as well. If those things are the case, then the return on using them is very significant.”

In the case of auto steer and swath control, he says, they can pay for themselves in a year if used properly.

“You have these really small numbers in terms of sort of overlap and correction and precision in operating the machine. But, when you multiply that over a lot of acres and with the high prices of inputs and the high price of grain it adds up. It adds up quickly.”

AUDIO: Brian Watkins (5:00 mp3)

GeoSys offers satellite based crop imaging

David Scott, GEOSYS™_EDITGeoSys, Incorporated displayed its satellite-based ag information technology at the 2013 InfoAg Conference in Springfield, Illinois. David Scott, Senior Account Manager for GeoSys in the U.S.says they offer two platforms: GeoSys field profit planter and the Geosys crop health monitor. In this interview, he explains both.

AUDIO: David Scott (10:00 mp3)

AutoCopter helicopter takes three images

Donald Effren of AutoCopter Corp, far right, explains his UAV pre-flight before InfoAg Conference in central IllinoisAutoCopter™ Corporation of Charlotte, North Carolina makes Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and is focused most recently for their use in agriculture.

Don Effren is president of the company which has a patent pending on a UAV that takes three types of images that are available to the farmer within five-minutes of the UAV’s landing.  He says theirs is the only device that does that.

Effren’s UAV helicopter was recently demonstrated prior to the InfoAg Summit in Springfield, Illinois.

He tells Brownfield Ag News they are working with several U.S. clients but also have prospects with crop consultants, co-ops and growers in numerous countries including South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Canada.

AutoCopter™ Corporation website

How to pick good ag Apps

“Hands On: Getting to know how to use agricultural apps” – Brian Arnell, a precision nutrient management extension specialist with Oklahoma State University held a hands-on session at the 2013 InfoAg conference about just that. The room was packed. He told farmers there are untold amounts of applications for smart phones, pads and tablets. For example, he said, there were 52 Free apps, four days later there were sixty.

When looking for apps, he says farmers need to spend one or two minutes on the app and if they don’t like it by then, don’t use it. For advanced scouting tools, give it 10 minutes maximum. He says apps need to be simple and compatible with the way you think and process information. Therefore, he advises, always look at the reviews in addition to trying them out.

AUDIO: Brian Arnell (3:00 mp3)

Whose data is it?

Cody Bailey, Reinke Manufacturing @ 2013 InfoAgPrecision ag involves gathering lots of data. What should happen with that data is a topic of discussion at the 2013 InfoAg Conference in Illinois.

Cody Bailey, a support specialist with Reinke Manufacturing attended the session on “the advantages of aggregating data.” He tells Brownfield precision ag fits well with his company but the whole industry could do more.

He tells Brownfield Ag News, “Companies are looking at different pieces of the elephant, so to speak. And if we can get some partnerships going on we could possibly look at it in a bigger, bigger way to impact the market more quickly and, obviously, add more value quicker to the grower.”

Bailey says he understands the proprietary concerns companies have about data, “But,” he says, “I think we also need to empower the grower that he can decide — it’s his data –- where he wants to send it and who he wants to have dabble in his data.  So, I think (data) compatibility – we can overcome that.  Just empowering the grower a little more to make the decision who he wants to have his data.”

AUDIO: Cody Bailey (4:00 mp3)

Closing the yield gap with technology

University of Illinois' Fred Below at 2013 InfoAg ConferenceUniversity of Illinois crop physiologist Fred Below emphatically told InfoAg participants that the key to higher yields is precision technology.

Below led several sessions at the conference and later visited with Brownfield Ag News. He says a combined systems approach where growers can make use of precision ag technology will help enhance those systems. On the corn plant side, he says it’s all about more plants. For soybeans, he says, fertility is a widely overlooked factor.

In the world of precision ag, Below says, there are a lot of opportunities to increase crop yields.

AUDIO: Fred Below (4:00 mp3)

UAVs fly high at InfoAg demonstration

AutoCopter Corporation UAV coming in for landing, Holmes field, Pawnee, IllinoisUnmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are part of the future of agriculture and the future is here.

It was in a central Illinois cornfield and along a private airstrip where representatives from three companies demonstrated their UAVs (“drones”) to farmers, precision ag folks and others on Monday.

Three companies demonstrated three very different looking machines. One looked like a mini helicopter and weighed 28 pounds. Another looked like a large bird in flight and, while made of foam, weighed only one pound.

The machines can be controlled remotely by growers and the aircraft does the high-tech scouting for them. Images and date are processed, in some cases, right after the vehicle lands. The UAVs can be programmed ahead of time or controlled as you go.

Drew Janes gives UAV explanation before flightThe UAV demonstration was part of a day of preview demonstrations leading up to the 2013 InfoAg Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Illinois. The show runs Tuesday through Thursday.