Precision Irrigation at Sunbelt

Cindy Zimmerman

Sunbelt Valley IrrigationValley Irrigation was showing off its brand new line of GPS Ready irrigation control panels at the Sunbelt Ag Expo earlier this month in Moultrie, Georgia.

“We have our computer panels that are industry exclusive GPS ready,” Sara Sims with Valley said during an interview at Sunbelt with Southeast AgNet’s Randall Weiseman. The GPS Ready PRO2 Pivot Control Panel and GPS Ready AutoPilot Linear Control Panel currently are available from Valley dealers. The GPS Ready Select2 Pivot Control Panel will be available later this year.

“If you’re doing split crops or different crops during the growing season, you’ll be able to computerize and track your programming to change your water and chemigation throughout the field,” Sara said. She added that current customers can upgrade existing PRO2 panels for the new GPS ready panels.

Listen to Randall’s interview with Sara here:

Audio, GPS, Irrigation

Good Precision Info On Pioneer’s GrowingPoint

Chuck Zimmerman

Pioneer Growing Point WebsiteFarm Progress Companies Editorial Director, Willie Vogt, is writing a column for Pioneer Hi-Bred’s GrowingPoint website. His latest one is “Ramping Up Precision –
How much differential correction do you need? It depends.” You can find it on the website but will need to create a login to access the story. Here’s an excerpt:

Farmers have had a good year – despite the current economic downturn – and for some that means reinvesting in the farm’s technology. One area getting greater attention is auto-guidance, or perhaps a move to auto-steering. Part of that discussion will include your level of differential correction for that GPS signal.

Last week we looked at the value of yield maps. This week we take a closer look at the precision of the GPS tools you may want to use on the farm.

Precision Ag in the News

Truth About Precision Technology

Cindy Zimmerman

World Food Prize Dean KlecknerPrecision technology goes hand in hand with biotechnology when it comes to increasing productivity for agriculture.

That according to Dean Kleckner, chairman of Truth About Trade and Technology – as well as former president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and a farmer from Iowa. He attended the recent World Food Prize symposium where farmers from all over the world gathered for a Global Farmer to Farmer Roundtable.

Kleckner calls precision technology “huge” in helping to increase agricultural production. “It isn’t just biotech that is leading to increased production. It’s being able to use precision farming to put on more fertilizer in the part of the field that is capable of producing more,” Kleckner said. “Sometimes it’s only ten feet apart, but if we map it we can apply fertilizer and tillage differently.”

“It all costs money to do it, but many farmers are saying it’s money well spent and I happen to agree that it is,” Kleckner continued. “And I would suggest that we ain’t seen nothing yet. I believe that in not too many years we are going to be able to double production of corn, soybeans, wheat and flax and everything else that we grow.”

Listen to comments from Dean Kleckner during an interview at the World Food Prize:

Audio, General

Precision Resources

Chuck Zimmerman

Cornell University Precision AgricultureHere’s an online university resource site for precision agriculture information. It’s Cornell University. Here’s the link to their current Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Precision agriculture technologies offer many exciting opportunities for more profitable and environmentally compatible farming. Since 1997 the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Cornell University has worked to established a multidisciplinary research and extension program to explore applications of this technology for producers in the Northeast

Cornell’s Precision and computational agriculture support team is made up of faculty, staff and students in the the departments of

* Crop and Soil Sciences
* Applied Economics and Management
* Animal Science,
* Biological and Environmental Engineering

Education, University

Precision Ag In The News

Chuck Zimmerman

Just exactly how your GPS device functions to accurately plot your position is the subject of a story on PC World.

Differential GPS systems focus on high precision. One of the best known is NASA’s Global Differential GPS System (GDGPS), developed originally by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), run by California Institute of Technology under a NASA contract. NASA claims it’s the biggest such network, originally built to support its own terrestrial, airborne and space operations, but now available to government and commercial customers.

Some are mainly research oriented, like that of NASA’s JPL.

Another example, using a different approach, is the StarFire Network from Navcom Technology (now a unit of John Deere Company), which specializes in very high-precision (10 centimeters) GPS applications such as land and aerial surveying, precision agriculture, and machine control. Navcom says it’s the first satellite-based augmentation system, providing higher accuracy and the ability for users to roam anywhere without being “tethered” to a nearby ground station for augmentation data.

Precision Ag in the News

Role of Precision Ag in Feeding the World

Cindy Zimmerman

World Food Prize Robert LanePrecision technology can play a vital role in helping to feed a growing world population, which is why it was a focus at the World Food Prize symposium last week in Des Moines.

John Deere CEO Robert Lane participated in a panel conversation on “The Role of the Private Sector in Global Food Security and Development,” together with representatives from other major agribusiness companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, and Bunge.

Lane says Deere has been in the business of bringing productivity tools to the best producers in the world for 170 years. “Precision agriculture is a huge step forward because there is now intelligent machinery that takes productivity to a much higher level,” Lane told me. “We have a limited amount of land and an even more limited amount of water and to make that work so we can double the amount of food production, precision agriculture is indispensable.”

Listen to a short comment from Mr. Lane after his presentation at the World Food Prize:

Audio, General, International

Cotton Picker in Action

Chuck Zimmerman

John Deere 7760 Cotton PickerI told you I’d get to see the new John Deere 7760 Self Propelled Cotton Picker in action. This bad boy will be ready for sales next year but growers can call their local dealer to get an on-farm demonstration.

I liked the American flag touch. It was waving in the nice breeze we had all day. There were also field demonstrations with corn, soybeans, hay and peanuts.

If you’d like to see photos from the Sunbelt Ag Expo, I’ve got them in a Sunbelt Ag Expo Photo Album.

Cotton, Equipment, Video

Picking Cotton at Sunbelt Ag Expo

Chuck Zimmerman

Annette BittoAt Sunbelt Ag Expo, the John Deere 7760 Cotton Picker is getting a lot of attention. The new machines should be available for next year but they have several out in the field including one here at this show. I’m hoping to get some video of it in action in just a little while in fact.

This morning I spoke with Annette Bitto, Cotton Marketing Product Manager. She has been out in the field with growers demonstrating the new cotton picker. In fact, she says that one grower told her that when she took it back he felt like a kid who had his toy taken away. Of course the machines are fully precision ready from the factory and allow producers to gather all the information they need to more effectively manage their farm.

“Without ever stopping the machine during picking, the operator can then carry the module to the end of the field to be transported later to the gin. This efficient, non-stop harvesting system eliminates unloading into a boll buggy and processing in a module builder. Ultimately, the producer saves time, fuel and manpower when harvesting and processing the cotton.”

Listen to my interview with Annette here: [audio:]

Audio, Cotton, Equipment

Ag Equipment Execs Excited About AG CONNECT

Cindy Zimmerman

AEM Doug DeVriesA new breed of ag show has the support of the major farm equipment companies that are members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

At AEM’s AgExecutive Forum in St. Louis last week, Deere & Company Senior Vice President of Ag Equipment Marketing Doug DeVries said he is really looking forward to AEM’s new AG CONNECT 2010 expo, which will be held January 12-15, 2010 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. “We’re really excited about AG CONNECT as the first AEM-sponsored, agricultural equipment show that is brought to our customers by the industry and for the industry,” he said. “We believe it will be a different type of experience for people.” He is most excited about the global focus of the expo and the educational opportunities they plan to offer.

I also asked Doug about the mood of farm equipment companies during this current downturn in the economy. “Clearly this is an extraordinary type of time,” Doug says. “But thinking about the long term issues associated with agriculture, we have a very bright future.”

With the growth in global population and the need for people to improve their diets, “we think that its important that ag equipment manufacturers be able to provide the productivity to meet the needs for food, fuel and fiber as we move forward.”

And precision technology is what is helping to improve that productivity.

Listen to an interview with Doug here:

Audio, Equipment, Events, General, International

AG CONNECT Will Spotlight Precision Ag

Cindy Zimmerman

AEM Ag ConnectThe latest technology in agriculture will be a major part of the “new generation of ag show” coming 2010 to Orlando – AG CONNECT expo 2010.

A preview of AG CONNECT 2010 was offered to ag executives meeting Thursday in St. Louis for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers AgExecutive Forum.

According to show manager Sara Truesdale Mooney, they have taken a very deliberate approach in developing AG CONNECT. “We conducted a lot of research with producers and from that research we developed a number of event features that would be unique to AG CONNECT,” she said. “They are hungry for new products, technologies, innovations, more about precision farming and really the how-tos and how other people are applying equipment, products and services throughout the industry.”

Sara says they are really developing a one-stop shop ag show. “We’re going to be putting on a world class agribusiness event that is not just exhibits, not just an equipment show – it’s new products, innovations, technologies, services, inputs – everything you need for your business.”

All of the information about AG CONNECT is available on-line at

Listen to an interview with Sara here:

Audio, Education, Equipment, Events, General, Research