More Control with Swath Control Pro

Laura McNamara

AMS OfficeSwath Control Pro is getting more popular with growers every season. Kirk Swihart says that’s because the technology reduces overlap and helps farmers improve their input costs. Kirk is the Technical Assistant Supervisor with John Deere. He reminds growers that all 4000 series sprayers are compatible with the Swath Control Pro. He says growers do need John Deere’s StarFire application or another third party receiver to use the technology. He adds that Swath Control Pro offers farmers an improved coverage map, and, coupled with John Deere’s AutoTrac, growers can use it to cover more acres in one day than ever before.

Here is the second part of an interview that Chuck did recently with Kirk: Listen to MP3 Kirk Swihart Interview (4 min. MP3)

Audio, Equipment, Resources, Software

Making the Most of Manure Management

Laura McNamara

Peter Kyveryga with Iowa Soybean Association's On-Farm NetworkPeter Kyveryga says it’s no secret that manure applications can be difficult to handle. It also should be no secret that the Iowa Soybean Association offers manure management resources to farmers through its On-Farm Network. Peter says the On-Farm Network encourages farmers to conduct their own manure management techniques through trials and field tests, but he adds that there is plenty of information and data available through the On-Farm Network. ISA’s manure management program looks at the performance of manure, considers the nutrient value of different manures and looks at manure variability. The On-Farm Network has also developed protocols for using precision farm equipment to record and locate areas of trials and field tests.

Chuck interviewed Peter about ISA’s Manure Management. You can listen to Chuck’s interview here:Listen to MP3 Peter Kyveryga Interview (6 min. MP3)

Audio, Research

AMS Expert at Your Service

Laura McNamara

Mark Theuerkauf with John Deere AMS Product DevelopmentBottom line: John Deere wants consumers to truly master new products and technologies the company offers. That’s why John Deere’s Ag Managment Solutions has developed its Dealer-Consultant Strategy. The strategy is simple: have an AMS expert available to dealerships nationwide. In some cases its an expert or two. Mark Theuerkauf says the Dealer-Consultant strategy is a unique channel of expertise and is an invaluable too for dealers and customers of AMS products. He says such a support system is necessary for a technology that is still considered relatively new. Mark says there are currently 270 AMS consultants throughout the country.

Chuck interviewed Mark about AMS’s Dealer-Consultant Strategy. You can listen to Chuck’s interview here:Listen to MP3 Mark Theuerkauf Interview (5 min. MP3)

Audio, Dealers, Education

Tips for the Field

Laura McNamara

PrecisionAg is offering Tech Tips to farmers. The new season means farmers are looking to get back to their field routines as smoothly as possible. had some ideas to help make the transition as smooth as possible:

  • Updates Check. Before you head to the field, go to the manufacturer’s web site and make sure that your field computer has the latest software in it.
  • Freshen Your Knowledge. Go through your notes from last year to remind yourself of problems. And give yourself a refresher course on the equipment.
  • Neat Workspace. Keep the cab clean to avoid any contamination to the electronic connections.
  • Test Run. Calibrate the application rig, do a flow test to ensure that your nozzles are working properly and are not worn out. Run in lot or open area and make sure system is functioning before crunch time.
  • Check Battery and Connections. Are they clean? Does everything have good batteries?
  • Subscribe To eMail Alerts. No one needs more email, but alerts can help to keep you informed. Software updates are common, but addendums to manuals, or entirely new manuals, may be sent via email, which should be downloaded and printed for reference. To minimize the email, only subscribe to alerts for very specific products.

Click here to view the entire article at


Deere Machinery Compatible with Universal Software

Laura McNamara

Darin Krantz with John Deere Ag Management SolutionsThe new John Deere Rx Converter makes John Deere hardware more compatible with various software applications. Darin Krantz with John Deere Ag Management Solutions says compatibility is an integral part of modern machinery and that’s why Deere is offering the Rx Converter for free. Darin says as Deere’s GSII packages become more popular, more software vendors are wanting to become compatible with the technology.

Chuck interviewed Darin about the Rx Converter and where users can go to find it. You can listen to Chuck’s interview here:Listen to MP3 Darin Krantz Interview (4 min. MP3)

Audio, Software

Exploring Nitrogen Applications at ISA On-Farm

Laura McNamara

Peter Kyveryga with the Iowa Soybean Association's On-Farm NetworkThe big advantage of the Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network is the first-hand look at what ISA has to offer. At least, that’s what ISA’s On-Farm Senior Research Associate Peter Kyveryga thinks. He says the On-Farm Network influences people where it counts most: out in the field. Peter says on farm trials show results and that’s a big factor for most people involved in the ag industry.

Peter has been researching data on variable rate applications of nitrogen, trying to determine what is beneficial for farmers. While his office is still looking for answers, Peter does suggest that farmers should execute small scale trials to determine results before fully jumping into any kind of application.

Chuck interviewed Peter about the statistical analysis work he does with the On-Farm Network. You can listen to Chuck’s interview here:Listen to MP3 Peter Kyveryga Interview (8 min. MP3)

Audio, Education, Research

Mastering the AMS Masters

Laura McNamara

Mark Theuerkauf with John Deere AMS Product DevelopmentJohn Deere’s Ag Management Solutions really wants to provide solutions… not just for its customers, but also for its dealers and consultants. That’s why AMS developed its Masters Program. Mark Theuerkauf is with Deere AMS and he says the Masters Program is a program that’s specifically tailored for dealers who want to focus on new AMS products being released to consumers. Theuerkauf says the two and a half day program allows dealers and consultants to experience new products during live demonstrations out in the field. The program is held in Corpus Christi, TX and has grown to more than 400 attendees.

Chuck interviewed Mark about the AMS Masters program. You can listen to Chuck’s interview here:Listen to MP3 Mark Theuerkauf Interview (5 min. MP3)

Audio, Dealers, Education, Equipment

For Love of Precision

Laura McNamara

Moberly MonitorThe Moberly Monitor reports that precision technology is a favorite for an award-winning Moberly Area Community College graduate. Kellar Nelson farm-raised Missourian is heading off to study in Prague, Czech Republic. But, the Moberly Monitor caught up with her before she left, and she raved about precision farming.

Precision agriculture is Nelson’s new-found love. Precision agriculture uses scientific data to determine the best methods of planting, pesticide and fertilizer use and harvesting for a specific field.

The goal is the same one farmers have had for centuries, higher yields and lower input costs. Precision agriculture uses technology like GPS to accurately seed and fertilize fields. It tests plots of ground to determine the content of soil. This tells farmers what to plant, what insects to fight and what fertilizers to use.

Farming is a lot more than sticking seeds in the ground and praying for rain and sunshine these days. ‘There’s a lot of new technology in farming making farmers more money with better crop yields,’ explained Nelson.

Although she hasn’t convinced her dad to purchase any of this new equipment yet, he is making a few suggestions on possible research projects she can do.

Click here to view the entire article.

Precision Ag in the News

On-Farm Gets In Line with Farmers for 2008 Planting Season

Laura McNamara

Tracy Blackmer with the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm NetworkWhat’s in store for the 2008 planting season? Well, Tracy Blackmer with the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network has some ideas. He says the price of corn and beans are increasing, so farmers will be looking how to best position those crops. He adds that fungicides are always a hot topic with farmers, and so are nitrogen and Round-Up Ready applications.

Chuck interviewed Tracy about what farmers are planning for the 2008 planting season. You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tracy here:Listen to MP3 Tracy Blackmer Interview (5 min. MP3)


ITEC Pro A Leader in Ag Technology for English Farmers

Laura McNamara

The Engineer OnlineThe pressure is on in the farming industry. At least, that’s what the English think. The Engineer Online reports that Prof John Beddington, the English government’s new chief scientific adviser, has claimed that an “impending food crisis is the biggest challenge facing humanity.” And, as it turns out, The Engineer Online says experts agree that precision farming is a major player in combating this “impending crisis.” That’s not all. They’ve highlighted John Deere‘s new ITEC Pro system as THE example of the technology needed to face the food crisis.

One of the most promising developments is the emerging area of precision farming, where GPS-guided agricultural machines, armed with a detailed knowledge of a field’s varying characteristics, place seeds, fertilisers and nutrients where they are needed most…

Although the idea is not new, agribusiness consultant Neil Cameron believes precision farming is finally coming of age. ‘People have been playing around with it for years, but in the last 18 months we’ve hit a place where the equipment’s got cheaper, and the accuracy has got better and better.’

While this has much to do with the ever-improving resolution of satellite systems, one of the main reasons the approach now holds such promise is the advanced performance of today’s agricultural machines.

ITECToday’s tractors, mainly GPS-guided and able to steer themselves, and combines have relegated the driver to the role of passenger. And there is more to come.

Earlier this year, agricultural machinery giant John Deere took the technology a step further with the launch of iTEC pro, a system that automates not only the steering, but also all of a tractor’s operations. ‘Pretty much from the moment you enter the field and set to work the operator is just a passenger,’ said Mark James, the company’s product manager for agricultural management solutions…

However, the prospect of armies of driverless robots toiling in the fields while the farmer sits at a desk at home is remote, said James. Not only would fears of 300hp combine harvesters hurtling out of control halt such plans, but there is always likely to be a need for on-site human expertise. The real benefit of automation, he said, is that it enables more efficient use of the driver’s expertise by freeing him from having to drive in a straight line for hours.

James added that while humans might not be completely removed from the loop, we may soon see operators driving one machine while a succession of driverless vehicles follow on behind. ‘On a multi-pass operation like planting potatoes — when there’s three or four operations — one man could potentially do this on his own but with a succession of different machines. Then you’ve got the experience in the operation, rather than expecting an automated system to make all the decisions.’

Click here to view the full article.

Audio, Equipment, Precision Ag in the News, Satellite, Software