DICKEY-john’s Hy Rate Plus Wins Innovation Award

John Davis Leave a Comment

Hy Rate Plus_w Seed TubeRevolutionary ag technology maker DICKEY-john is being recognized for innovative design. This company news release says DICKEY-john’s Hy Rate Plus™ LED Seed Sensor won the award from American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

The Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor is a highly accurate and intelligent seed-tube-mounted sensor for detecting row-crop planting populations at high rates on a wide variety of seeds. The sensor utilizes a first of its kind advanced proprietary software algorithm and an improved light emitting source in order to detect virtually every seed that passes through the sensing area.

“We are truly honored to receive the AE50 award for our Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor. The development and release of the Hy Rate Plus is indicative of DICKEY-john’s continued commitment to the creation of technologically innovative products through the use of engineering excellence. These are the very attributes that are embodied in the AE50 award,” states Nolan Bangert, DICKEY-john Applications Engineer.

DICKEY-john competed against companies from around the world in the annual AE50 competition. The Hy Rate Plus will be featured in the January/February 2015 special AE50 issue of ASABE’s magazine Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World.

Agribusiness, Award

FarmLink Introduces TrueHarvest

Leah Guffey 1 Comment

15596518389_72f07a5261_mMachineryLink has just wrapped up their 14th harvest and they have expanded their operation from machines into data. TrueHarvest is another component of FarmLink where growers can compare their data that they have gathered through their yield monitors to see how their fields compare with another field with very similar conditions as their own. TrueHarvest is the first and only yield benchmarking service that uses objective, unique and accurate data to show a farm’s full range of performance potential, down to a 150 square foot area they call a micro-field. By comparing to other land with comparable conditions, the grower can make better investment decisions on where to focus resources and inputs.

Mark Gabrick is regional sales manager with FarmLink. I spoke with him at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk last week where he told me they are gathering more information from the grower as how to best utilize TrueHarvest and continue to expand the program. He says they “won’t stand still” as this will forever be evolving and they want to make it better for the farmer in the field through their programs.

You can listen to my interview with Mark here: Interview with Mark Gabrick, FarmLink Regional Sales Manager
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

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Audio, Data, FarmLink, Harvesting, NAFB

Old, New Tech Policies Spur Ag Innovations

John Davis Leave a Comment

futurefoodA report from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) says a mix of old and new technologies policies are spurring agricultural innovations. This news release from the group says its FutureFood 2050 publishing initiative explores the expanding array of agricultural innovations that will help feed the world’s projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050, making researchers and policy makers look far beyond the traditional bounds of agriculture to accelerate food production by using technology to improve—rather than replace—natural processes.

“We have a massive opportunity,” says Charlie Price, a UK-based proponent of small-scale ecosystems using aquaponics—the marriage of hydroponics and aquaculture. “We are potentially taking a natural system [fish and plants sharing a habitat] that’s evolved over millions of years and we are just copying it, rather than exploiting it. While it can be seen as complex, it is incredibly simple.”

FutureFood 2050’s multi-year program highlights the people and stories leading the efforts in finding solutions to a healthier, safer and better nourished planet to feed 9 billion-plus people by 2050. This is the second part in the series. Part 1 explored sustainability, women in food science, food waste, food security and nutrition in Africa, aquaculture, futurists on food, and innovative agriculture.

Food, International

FMC Introduces 3RIVE 3D™ Technology

Chuck Zimmerman 1 Comment

FMC 3RIVE3DDo you want your corn to thrive? How about 3RIVE 3D? That’s a new product from FMC. It is a crop protection delivery platform for three-dimensional in-furrow protection. The patent-pending 3RIVE 3D™ technology integrates formulation technology, application technology and active ingredients to increase net planting speed, in-furrow protection and early season success.

3RIVE3DDuring last week’s National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention I spoke with Matt Hancock, corn segment lead, about this new delivery platform. He says this technology sets growers free to easily and efficiently cover more acres in less time while saving water, fuel and labor. “Growers can plant up to 500 acres between refills. With tight planting windows and more variable weather, growers are demanding technology that allows them to cover more ground faster. 3RIVE 3D helps growers get more done in a day.”

Capture® 3RIVE 3D™ is the first product formulated to integrate with this game-changing delivery platform that brings a whole new dimension in precision and performance to in-furrow application.

Listen to my interview with Matt here to learn more: Interview with Matt Hancock

Here is an animated video that describes the new platform:


You can find photos from the event here:
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

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Agribusiness, Audio, Corn, Crop Protection, FMC, NAFB, Planting

The Andersons Combining Turf, Plant Nutrient Groups

John Davis Leave a Comment

TheAndersonLogoAn Ohio-based company working in the grain, ethanol, and plant nutrient sectors will combine some of its groups into a yet-to-be-named company. The Andersons, Inc. plans to combine its Turf & Specialty and Plant Nutrient groups into a single entity.

“The Turf & Specialty and Plant Nutrient groups have become closely aligned in the customers they serve, the products and services they offer, the manner in which they operate and in their growth strategies,” says COO Hal Reed. “We believe the two groups are stronger together than separate. This move offers additional growth opportunities, enhances profitability and, most importantly, takes our customer service to the next level.”

Leading the combined group will be Bill Wolf, who currently serves as the President of the Plant Nutrient Group. Tom Waggoner, currently the President of the Turf & Specialty Group, will assume a new role as corporate Vice President, Marketing and Operations Services.

Leadership changes are expected to occur at the first of the year, with the full integration happening later in 2015.

Agribusiness, Turf

Big Data Part of Big Debate at Farm Futures Summit

John Davis Leave a Comment

FFSummit1Farm Futures will foster a conversation on the pros and cons of Big Data, one of the hottest topics in agriculture. The Big Data debate is one of 21 sessions that will take place during the 2015 Farm Futures Business Summit, being held Jan. 7-8 at the Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel in St. Louis.

“While companies have collected and analyzed agronomic data for some time, the amount of real-time information we can collect now is staggering,” says Brian Marshall, a Missouri farmer who will speak at the summit. “It is a big change that is cause for both excitement and concern.”

Several agricultural equipment firms have introduced technology whereby the data from combines is uploaded every few seconds to the Cloud. Real-time yield data is available to whoever controls those databases. But more important, who owns and controls the data?

“A farmer’s information is valuable, so farmers should have a say in and be compensated when their data is sold,” says Marshall. “Farmers need to protect their data and make sure they bargain wisely as they share it with suppliers and interested companies.”

Along with Marshall, the panel also includes Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation; Bruce Erickson, education distance and outreach director, Purdue University; and Jim Krogmeier, Open Ag Data Alliance.

Agribusiness, Data

Farm Foundation Promotes Soil Renaissance

John Davis 1 Comment

thompsonffAll agriculture starts with the ground we stand on, and the folks at Farm Foundation are doing their part to promote conversations about healthy soils. At the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention Taylor Truckey caught up with Farm Foundation’s Mary Thompson and talked a bit about Soil Renaissance, an initiative by her group and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to bring attention to the value of soils and healthy soils.

“Soil is a non-renewable resource, at least in our lifetimes, yet, it is an essential part of a productive agricultural system that produces the food needed for a vibrant society,” she said. “So we’re trying to bring attention to soil health and the various aspects of it.”

Mary said there are four specific issues Soil Renaissance hopes to highlight: establishing standards for healthy soil depending on the location, the economics of soil health, research, and finally, education, giving producers the tools needed to preserve and promote healthy soils. She points out since Farm Foundation is not an advocacy group, they just look to help people have the conversations and debates to further the overall health of American agriculture. The response so far has been very positive.

“Regardless of where you are in the food value chain, conventional or organic producer, healthy soil is the basic element you start with,” Mary said.

For more information, check out the website, SoilRenaissance.org.

Listen to Taylor’s interview with Mary here: Interview with Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation VP of Communications
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
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Ag Group, agronomy, Audio, NAFB, Soil

Report: Cover Crops Boost Yield, Benefit Soil

John Davis Leave a Comment

covercropsurveyA new report shows that cover crops boost yields while benefiting the soil and other pluses. The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) funded research, carried out by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), surveyed nearly 2,000 users and non-users of cover crops and showed the challenges and benefits farmers expect from cover crops.

[Respondents] noted an average yield increase of five bushels per acre, or 3.1 percent, on fields that had been planted to cover crops before corn. Comparing yields in soybeans, 583 farmers reported an average boost of two bushels per acre, or 4.3 percent, following cover crops.

The new report also reveals other benefits farmers gain from planting cover crops, including increases in soil organic matter, reduced soil erosion and compaction, improved weed control, the availability of “free” nitrogen through soil fixation by legumes, and others.

“These many benefits of cover crops are reflected in the rapidly rising rate of adoption from 2010 to 2013, when cover crop acreage among survey respondents increased by 30 percent per year,” says [Rob Myers, Regional Director of Extension Programs for NCR-SARE and an agronomist at the University of Missouri].

The increases are actually lower than what was found in a similar survey last year by SARE and CTIC, which saw improvements of 11.1 bushels (9 percent) in corn following cover crops and 4.9 bushels (10 percent) of soybeans after cover crops. But officials attribute the difference to the drought in 2012, which highlights the moisture-management benefits of cover crops.

You can read the full survey here.

Agribusiness, agronomy, Cover Crops

Sap Analysis Work in the Field

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

chl-14-69-editedCrop Health Laboratories’ recent seminar focused on the new sap analysis technology sweeping across the United States. One speaker during the event was Jacob Gwilliam of Tulare Ag Products (TAP), who shared insights into his use of sap analysis throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Jacob is involved in TAP’s special projects and technologies. This is where things like plant sap analysis move from good concepts to adopted practices. TAP is a full-service retail fertilizer and agronomics company whose clients consist of fruit, nut and row crop growers.

“When we first learned about sap it made sense. But of course we can’t take that to our growers without having proof. We spent most of this season applying sap analysis as a component of our research in various areas. It was a good opportunity to learn what sap could offer in real situations. Having done that and seeing good results, this coming season we will be applying more formal trials and using the sap to make decisions in production.”

In Jacob’s talk to growers, he shared information from TAP’s sap trials with kiwi, almonds and table grapes. That can all be found in my interview with him. Listen to or download it here: Interview with Jacob Gwiliam, Tulare Ag Products

Find photos from the event here: 2014 Crop Health Labs Power Growers Seminar Photo Album

Agribusiness, Audio, Crop Health Labs, Fertilizer

American Seed Trade Officer at NAFB

Cindy Zimmerman 3 Comments

nafb14-asta-risa-galeThe first vice chair of American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) was in Kansas City last week for a meeting of the Western Seed Association immediately before the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention.

“It’s the only organization that’s been meeting here longer than NAFB,” said Risa DeMasi with Grassland Oregon, who stuck around for another day to do some interviews with farm broadcasters. “It’s not a trading meeting, necessarily, but just getting together and letting people know what the new innovations and new products that are coming.”

DeMasi is very excited about what’s new in the cover crops business, with the pollinator “buzz” that’s going around. “Our company Grassland Oregon just introduced a winter hardy legume that is fantastic for fixing nitrogen, combating compacted soils, weed suppression,” she said. “Next year we’ll be introducing a Berseem clover called ‘Frosty’ that I think is really going to transform the alfalfa market.”

Coming up next month is ASTA’s annual Seed Expo in Chicago and while this has been largely a corn, soybean, and sorghum event, DeMasi says it has become much more. “With some of the changes coming to agriculture and the government programs and directives coming at us, we’ve got to start talking to each other, and it’s all interrelated,” she said.

Listen to my interview with Risa here: Interview with Risa DeMasi, ASTA officer
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
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ASTA, Audio, Cover Crops, NAFB, seed