Tennessee RFS Winner Talks About His Experience

Cindy Zimmerman

John DeereAlan Meadows is a corn and soybean producer from Halls, Tennessee – which is located in the western part of the state near the border with Missouri. As one of this year’s ASA/John Deere Reach for the Stars winners, Meadows was able to use the precision agriculture package in several different applications.

“First I had it on my sprayer and used the AutoTrac on it,” Alan said. “We also bought the Swath Pro and put that on there and that worked very well.” He also used it on the combine in harvesting beans.

Alan says he learned how precision farming helps in cutting down on overlaps and helped him save time and money. “Your efficiency is so much greater with no overlap or driver fatigue.”

Listen to some of my interview with Alan here.
Listen to MP3 Alan Meadows (3:00 min mp3)

Audio, General, Reach for the Stars

Precision Agriculture in the News

Chuck Zimmerman

If you’d like to find out how precision farming is developing in other countries then take the UK as an example. A story on FarmingUK is titled “Cornwall “on brink of precision farming revolution.”

Advisors at the Objective One project, which has already stimulated UK-leading takeup of broadband on the county’s farms, are now reporting a surge of interest in “precision farming” technology, once the preserve of large-scale agribusinesses.

It looks like farmers are getting some help from the Objective One Project. The program has funded actnow Broadband Cornwall, which helps farmers obtain broadband internet access. I wonder if any of them have visited Precision.AgWired.com to learn more on the subject?

Precision Ag in the News

IL Reach for Stars Winner Wrapup

Cindy Zimmerman

John DeereTed Vinson of Fithian, Illinois had very little experience with precision technology prior to winning the ASA/John Deere Reach for the Stars contest this season but now that he’s been able to use it he says, “It really is a tremendous technology and one you really can’t do without after you’ve had it.”

Vinson, who has a 1300 acre corn/soybean operation, used the precision farming package to map all of his fields at planting time, used the Green Star Auto-Trac assisted steering system to plant both corn and soybeans and to harvest soybeans, and used the yield monitor for both corn and soybeans.

Did it save him time or money? “Yes, definitely, it saved both time and money,” he said. “On the time side, when you plant with auto steer you get straighter rows and not having to use row markers to guide you on your next pass its faster to cross waterways. On the money side, less fuel was used when we combined the beans because you’re always taking a full header width cut.”

Listen to some of my interview with Ted here.
Listen to MP3 Ted Vinson (2:30 min mp3)

Audio, General, Reach for the Stars

Demonstrating The Value of Precision Farming

Chuck Zimmerman

To help demonstrate the value of precision farming equipment John Deere put together a short video clip that includes farmers describing what it has meant to them and their operations. GPS has been around for years and now it’s really popular in cars, mobile phones and PDA’s. But now GPS is literally steering tractors on farms all over America. Sonia Martin has the story on the newest generation of farm tools.

You can learn all about the latest products John Deere has to bring precision farming to your operations by visiting John Deere Ag Management Solutions.

Precision in Practice, Video

MN Reach for the Stars Winner Wraps Up Season

Cindy Zimmerman

John DeereNot much rain in Gibbon, Minnesota this season either, according to ASA/John Deere Reach for the Stars winner Peter Kramer who farms about 1100 acres of mainly corn and soybeans.

Pete says he was able to use AutoTrac with planting and spraying this season. “This fall I plan on using that same tractor and the AutoTrac to pull my strip tiller and make my strips for banding fertilizer for next year,” he said.

According to Pete, the main benefit of the precision package for him has been allowing him to run longer hours with less fatigue. “It’s helped me, without a lot of labor, to farm a little more efficiently and in a shorter time.”

“The best thing I liked about the system was their tech support,” Pete added. “There’s a learning curve to get the thing up and running but the dealership helped me out quite a bit and the on-line tech support helps out a great deal.”

Listen to my interview with Pete here.
Listen to MP3 Pete Kramer (4:00 min mp3)

Audio, Reach for the Stars

Precision Agriculture in the News

Chuck Zimmerman

Precision farming is once again in the news. This time it’s the activities at Sunbelt Ag Expo getting some headlines. Take this article in the Florida Times Union.

Today’s farmers rely on technology for better crops and more efficient production. The Farmer’s Almanac has been replaced by a computer.

“Most farmers have a laptop on the truck seat next to them these days,” Blalock said (executive director of Sunbelt Ag Expo).

They’re even beginning to use mobile technology to stay plugged in to the Internet as they travel from field to field. High overhead, Global Positioning System satellites assist in plowing, keeping rows straight, allowing for more rows per acre.

Here’s an excerpt from a story in the Gainesville Times.

Precision Ag technology returns with another strong showing. Site-specific, precision farming takes the guesswork out of planting, spraying and a host of other farm chores. And the expo has helped nurture this technology from its early experimental stages until now when it has become a must-have for modern farmers.

Precision Ag in the News

Precision Ag for Fruits and Veggies

Cindy Zimmerman

ISHSThe International Society for Horticultural Science, the International Society of Citriculture, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Foundation are holding an International Symposium on “Application of Precision Agriculture for Fruits and Vegetables.” The symposium will be January 6-9, 2008 in Orlando, Florida.

The main goal of this symposium is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas among researchers, academics, professionals and related industries on applying advanced technology and information-based management techniques for fruit and vegetable production. The scientific sessions, poster and technical tours will provide an opportunity to discuss and learn about cutting edge technologies in this area.

The symposium registration deadline has been extended to November 2, 2007. Registration is available on-line.

Education, Events, General

Mid-State Equipment Selling Precision Ag To Dairies

Chuck Zimmerman

Chuck EndresAt the just completed World Dairy Expo one of the exhibitors was Chuck Endres, Mid-State Equipment. He told me that dairy producers are looking at precision agriculture equipment to help them become more efficient.

When it comes to precision equipment he says the biggest benefit to dairy producers is dealing with moisture when making haylage. He says the equipment they’re selling includes moisture sensing and yield monitoring on their John Deere Choppers. This not only allows the producer to quickly and easily measure moisture content but saves the time of having to run loads to a scale.

I asked him how this will return the investment and he says it could mean the difference between having spoilage and turning cows off feed and that’s a cost no producer wants to deal with.

Listen to my interview with Chuck here: Listen To MP3 Interview with Chuck Endres (MP3)

Audio, Dealers, Events

Reaching for the Stars in Georgia

Cindy Zimmerman

John DeereThe ASA/John Deere “Reach for the Stars” winner from southwest Georgia had to contend with some seriously unfavorable weather conditions this year, but Roger Godwin of Pelham says at least AutoTrac made his life easier when it came to harvesting his peanut crop.

“Lot of people don’t know how peanuts are grown,” Roger said. “We have a plow that we go in and plow those peanuts up and invert them and you really have to stay within about a 2-3 inch tolerance of where you planted to plow those peanuts up correctly and invert them. And this AutoTrac has really made a difference in that. It has been the easiest to plow this crop up that I’ve ever had. I’m really impressed with that part of it.”

Listen to my interview with Roger here.
Listen to MP3 Roger Godwin (5:00 min mp3)

Audio, Equipment, General, Reach for the Stars, Satellite

Precision Agriculture in the News

Melissa Sandfort

Bill Stanczykiewicz, president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, recently published an Op-Ed in the IndyStar online. Below are some excerpts from his article:

According to the Indiana Department of Agriculture, farming is a $25 billion industry, the fourth largest industry in our state’s economy. Agriculture employs nearly 600,000 people. That’s 15 percent of Indiana’s work force. However, the number of farm-related jobs in Indiana is expected to drop by 11 percent over the next 10 years. That’s not because people will eat less, but because of efficiencies created by technology…

For the next generation, the premium is on proper preparation for a career in agriculture. Whether the future job is in business or manufacturing, in life sciences or farming, there is significant value in earning a college education.

In preparation for college, some Indiana high schools offer Core 40 curriculum on agricultural subjects. The course lists include Fundamentals of Agriculture, Plant and Soil Science, Farm Management, and Agricultural Mechanization, which covers everything from traditional mechanical skills like fixing a diesel engine to cutting-edge “precision farming” that uses GPS technology.

Consider the career Web site of FFA. According to FFA, the following jobs require at least a two-year associate’s degree: farmer; grain farmer; vegetable farmer; cattle rancher; and chemical applicator. This is not your grandfather’s farm.

Stanczykiewicz can be reached at iyi@iyi.org.

We encourage you to share your thoughts about the future of agriculture in your state. Post a comment for Bill here.

Education, Precision Ag in the News