EPA Biofuels Volumes – Do They Measure Up?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Does your agribusiness/operation have a crisis communications plan?”

There is no doubt agribusinesses, farms/ranches and agriculture organizations need to be proactive in communicating our products to our consumers. I was a little shocked that a small majority believe they have no need for a crisis communications plan. In my opinion, you can never be too prepared.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes – 33%
  • No, but needs one – 28%
  • No, don’t see a need – 39%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What’s your opinion of EPA rule for biofuels volumes?

The EPA has released a final rule for biofuels volumes under the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2014-2016, which increased the obligations for refiners to use ethanol, biodiesel and advanced or cellulosic biofuels. While it is an increase over the proposed rule, some in the agriculture and biofuels industries say it still does not measure up to the intent of Congress, while others are mostly satisfied, and still others believe it goes too far. What do you think?


FarmEngine Platform Aims To Streamline On-Farm Decisions

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

iCropTrak, makers of mobile farm management and agriculture decision tools, are stepping up to the plate even further with FarmEngine.

iCropTrakFarmEngine aims to fill a gap in data management within farm operations by streamlining the decision-making process for growers and their advisors (think co-ops, consultants, and retailers). Using Rules, which are set based on if/then statements, growers can create reminders, action items, and alerts, among a few other tools. Rules can be set by the grower or by their advisor to determine the proper time to take actions such as work requests, spray tasks, scouting alerts based on GDD, chemical applications, tank mixing rules, and many, many more tasks. The Status capability allows growers and advisors to track where action items are at in regards to progress, planting information, and scouting information as a few examples.

FarmEngine also offers enhanced history capabilities to track the Rules and Actions set throughout the season for year-end review and future use, in addition, recording the conditions surrounding events in that event. For example, if a work request is issued for a spray-related task, FarmEngine can store the data beyond the actual task and include the who, what, when, where, and weather at the time the action was taken. Information in this capacity and detail is vital to management decisions looking forward. In addition, this portion of the tool is able to provide value when it comes to tracking events and surrounding factors for other areas like crop insurance, sustainability, and food transparency documentation.

Growers are required to make a number of decisions regarding many aspects of their operations on a daily basis. FarmEngine is meant to be the Farm Manager in Your Pocket as a way to assist growers and their workers in tracking and making these key decisions. By setting Rules and Alerts, growers will be able to have some decisions made automatically and will be able to make better management decisions with all of the information included within the platform. Allowing advisors to include advice in the way of calculators, Rules, Alerts, and tasks in FarmEngine, growers will be able to make quicker decisions once a Rule is triggered. Advisors can set spray information, scouting guidelines, planting recommendations, etc within a given Rule to have it sent automatically once that rule is triggered.

All of these new capabilities are on top of the user configurable data collection and recently added capability to bring all of data (both manually- and automatically entered) to one map.

Stay tuned to ICropTrak.com for more information.

Farm Management, iCropTrak, technology

Ag Retailers Meeting This Week

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ARA Conference LogoThe 2015 Agricultural Retailers Association Conference & Expo is being held this week in Palm Desert, California with the theme of “Performance. Precision. Passion.”

Presentations and discussions at the ARA Conference & Expo will feature topics such as sustainability within the food-chain, water issues, fertilizer trends, financial movements in the ag sector and personal health and wellness.

The conference will feature keynote presentations by Steve Peterson, General Mills; Paul Wenger, California Farm Bureau; and Jim Prokopanko, The Mosaic Company. Ed Skelton with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Dr. Robert Orford with The Mayo Clinic, Michael Turley of OsbornBarr and other noted speakers will lead workshops during the conference.

AgWired will be covering this year’s conference and ARA Chairman Dave DuFault of Simplot provides a preview in this podcast. Preview of ARA conference with Chairman Dave DuFault

Agribusiness, ARA, Audio

Food, Ag and Health Summit Seeks Solutions

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

WFC_logoThe UC Davis Food, Ag and Health Solution Summit is being held now.  This 32-hour, caffeine-fuled event has been dubbed an “idea hack,” with participants aiming to gain precision solutions for current agricultural challenges.

The hope is to create uncommon collaborations to help us feed the future populations.  The event will include:

* Tuesday, Dec. 1: Precision Ag Workshop with industry leaders at the UC Davis Oakville Station and experimental vineyard in the Napa Valley
* Wednesday, Dec. 2: Idea Hack competition, AgTech Innovation Tour of the Sacramento region, and App Hackathon, all based at the UC Davis Conference Center
* Thursday, Dec. 3: Food, Ag and Health Innovation Showcase, at the UC Davis Conference Center

The three-day summit celebrates the launch of the Innovation Institute for Food and Health, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between UC Davis and Mars Inc.

Prizes for the idea hack competition will be awarded on the final day.  Sponsors include Intel, the University of California Global Food Initiative, the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UC Innovation Alliances and Services.

Education, Events, Food

FarmLink Continues to Put Farmers First With TrueHarvest

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

heikesKevin Heikes, with FarmLink, spoke with Precision.AgWired while at TradeTalk to give us an update on TrueHarvest and what’s next for FarmLink.

TrueHarvest is the first and only yield benchmarking service that uses objective, accurate data to show your farm’s full range of yield potential and actual yield performance, down to a 150 sq. ft. area. As TrueHarvest was launched, FarmLink found that growers and retailers alike had great interest in the product but also found that there were a few questions being asked. With TrueHarvest being the first benchmarking tool geared towards agribusiness, FarmLink heard growers asking, “what can I do with this information, what decisions do I make from this, what is the end value?”.

“We’ve learned that customers need to be able to do something with this. You walk into the office of a farmer today and you’ll see yield maps collected year after year, but that only tells you where the high & lows are. We aim to solve the problem of where is the potential in those fields. The only way you can do this is with a true benchmarking tool to go back in and evaluate it.” Kevin Heikes, FarmLink.

Farmers are now bringing in their agronomists, retailers, and trusted advisors to add more personalized farm information into TrueHarvest to take advantage of the yield potential insight available in the platform. Growers and advisors are now bringing in their different data layers to TrueHarvest to validate decisions made, such as VRA applications, against a benchmark.

FarmLink also aims to move the conversation from ‘big data’ to ‘applicable data’; the focus is shifting from having access to data to making that data valuable and applicable for growers to use. Additionally, growers don’t have to input their data into TrueHarvest to have access to benchmark data, but it is an option to utilize additional tools within the platform.

To hear more of Kevin’s interview: Interview with Kevin Heikes, TrueHarvest

NAFB Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Audio, FarmLink, NAFB, technology

Wheat Growers’ Applicator Finalist for Operator of the Year

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

agcoFour finalists have been named to AGCO’s Operator of the Year award; one will be announced as 10th Annual Operator of the Year at the 2015 ARA Conference and Expo in California December 1-3, 2015.

Curtis Fick, Wheat Growers’ lead applicator at the Carpenter location, has been chosen as one of four national finalists for AGCO’s Operator of the Year Program. The program recognizes some of the best custom applicators in North America.

Known for his attention to detail, precision and always going above and beyond to exceed customer expectations, Fick covers an average of 40,000 acres every year.

curtis fick“Curtis is an outstanding operator and takes great pride in the work he does,” Mike Madsen, Carpenter Location Manager, said. “He is very particular about each task, treating each field as if it were his own. Curtis has gone three years without a spray claim, and his precise application has gained the trust and reliance of many producers in the area.”

Fick is also involved in his community, where he volunteers for local events, regularly helps out at his church and is part of the local fire rescue team.

“I was shocked when I found out I was selected as a finalist for AGCO’s Operator of the Year,” Fick said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me. And, I had no idea the award is nationwide.”

The winner will receive the grand prize of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and the retailer who nominated the winner will receive 100 hours free use of their choice of an AGCO TerraGator self-propelled high-floatation applicator or RoGator self-propelled sprayer.

ARA, wheat

InventionShare Launches Circuit Seed Inventions In Precision Ag

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

inventionshareInventionShare, a company that help inventors get their latest inventions launched & marketed, announced the development of the Circuit Seed family of inventions. With rapid growth in the precision ag market, the potential impact of accurate sensor technology continues to grow.

When all production factors are known, typically monitored through the use of sensors; nutrients in the soil, humidity, solar radiation, density of weeds then chemical products such as fertilizers, herbicides and other products can be reduced considerably. These activities fall inside the emerging area known as Precision Agriculture. The total precision agriculture market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.2% from 2014 to 2020 and reach $4.55 billion by 2020.

Circuit Seed building block designs for processing analog signals also reduce the time and cost to design, test, manufacture and support low power devices. This is a big breakthrough for Precision Agriculture

Mr. Waite said, “Circuit Seed will allow researchers to develop simpler mixed integrated circuits with fewer limitations, smaller size, better performance, higher stability, and greater dynamic range. Circuit Seed building block designs for processing analog signals also reduce the time and cost to design, test, manufacture and support low power devices. This is a big breakthrough for Precision Agriculture.

The big advantage for the Precision Agriculture market is that Circuit Seed circuits for processing analog signals are simpler to work with and do not require matched pairs or current mirrors, and will function on 40nm or smaller integrated circuits. The overall circuits are insensitive to parametric changes, making precision designs without precision parts a reality. These circuits also run at logic speed and are self-biasing. They generally work over a large frequency range with high sensitivity and accuracy. Each benefit of the circuit design is not a trade off against other benefits but additive, in that you get all of the benefits, all of the time. Circuit Seed circuits will operate down to less than 0.1V using a 100% digital process. Using Circuit Seed designs can also dramatically reduce the work required by analog chip designers in this space.

Mr. Waite said, “We are able to reduce the size of a sensor, its power requirements, provide much higher measurement accuracy and enable long range data communications and this can be achieved at a market acceptable cost that is much lower than the current state of the art offerings. While there is adoption in this market, for example, most new tractors and implements are sold with factory-installed global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers and a variety of sensors, the cost of the current state of the art analog and digital sensors is prohibitive. When you throw this functionality on multimillion dollar farm equipment the cost is more easily supported, but if you want to place a large number of localized sensors in and around crops you almost need the cost to be akin to disposables.”


Precision Planting Update from John Deere

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Barry NelsonEarlier this month John Deere announced a couple of big acquisitions that include Precision Planting and Monosem. During the NAFB convention I got an update on those from Barry Nelson.

The Monosem purchase allows John Deere to expand their planter lineup on a truly global basis when included with the Precision Planting purchase. The brand names will be continued according to Nelson. He says it’s 60 – 90 days to get the deal wrapped up and then there will be some dealer negotiations to do as well.

Listen to my interview with Barry here: Barry Nelson, John Deere

Barry is being interviewed in the photo by Michelle Rook, WNAX.

NAFB Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Agribusiness, Audio, Equipment, John Deere, NAFB

Brent Boyette Getting Some Real Yield with LibertyLink

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Bayer CropScience Real Yield GameWe often think of weed resistance as being some kind of midwest and south phenomenon but think east U.S. as in North Carolina. Cindy spoke with farmer Brent Boyette for an episode of LibertyLink Real Yield Radio and you can hear what he has to say below.

Now, while you’re celebrating some Thanksgiving with the family how about trying the Real Yield Game and get yourself entered to win big with Bayer CropScience.

Visit www.realyieldgame.com and click on the promotion link.
1. Complete all fields in the registration or log-in process.
2. Select five fields in the game area to spray Liberty® to reveal incremental bushels of soybeans.
3. Look at the total number of incremental bushels of soybeans for all five fields in the silo and determine the prize won.

Limit three game plays per person – one game play for complete registration, one game play for completion of LibertyLink® Ratings/Reviews/Attributes, one game play for social sharing through the promotion website.

In the real world, missed weeds compromise real yield. The LibertyLink® system is simply a better solution that ensures you don’t lose yield from missed weeds. Choose LibertyLink® and Liberty® to maximize real yields with high-performing genetics and better weed control.

Here’s Brent’s story:

Sponsored Post

Agribusiness, Audio, Bayer CropScience, Contest, seed, Soybeans, Weed control