Technology makes planting easier

Last week’s weather allowed for many farmers across to the Corn Belt to make significant planting progress.

East central Indiana farmer Dave Lowe was one of them.  Lowe tells Brownfield the weather wasn’t the only reason they were able to get so much done – the advancement in technology is a huge benefit.  “You have the opportunity to look around and see what is going on,” he says.  “For example, with fertilizer – we use row starter here and we can keep an eye on that.  Everything is there in the cab and you can see all the details.  It just makes the job a lot easier.”

He tells Brownfield the technology also enables them to stay more awake while they’re working long hours in the field.  “With the GPS system and the Auto-Steer it’s easier to be fresher,” he says.  “You have the opportunity to move around the cab of the tractor if you need to and that helps.”

And Lowe adds, good air conditioning helps, too.

AgGateway tests precision ag conversion toolbox

One of the big challenges facing the ag industry today is interoperability—the ability of farm data systems to “talk” to each other.

But as we learned during a visit to Plugfest, an ag machinery compatability testing event in Lincoln, Nebraska, it is an issue that the ag equipment industry is working to address. At that meeting, the consortium of companies called AgGateway began initial testing of its Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) conversion toolbox. The SPADE conversion toolbox is a set of software tools designed to simplify field operations data exchange by farm management software companies, farm equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders.

While at Plugfest, we had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the work being done with Joe Tevis, director of agronomic products and services for Topcon Precision Agriculture and SPADE project chair; Kyle Schmidt, a systems engineer with AGCO and a contributor to the conversion toolbox project; and Tarak Reddy with John Deere, who is also involved with the project.

AUDIO: Interview with Joe Tevis, Kyle Schmidt and Tarak Reddy (8:45 MP3)

Breaking the data format logjam

One of the big challenges facing the ag industry today is interoperability—the ability of farm data systems to “talk” to each other.

But as we learned during a visit to Plugfest, an ag machinery compatability testing event in Lincoln, Nebraska, it is an issue that the ag equipment industry is working to address.  At that meeting, the consortium of companies called AgGateway began initial testing of its Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) conversion toolbox.  The SPADE conversion toolbox is a set of software tools designed to simplify field operations data exchange by farm management software companies, farm equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders.

While at Plugfest, we visited with Joe Tevis, director of agronomic products and services for Topcon Precision Agriculture and SPADE project chair, and Kyle Schmidt, a systems engineer with AGCO and a contributor to the conversion toolbox project.

AUDIO: Joe Tevis and Kyle Schmidt (3:00 MP3)

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)