Iowa Farmer Gets Precision Ag Experience

Cindy Zimmerman

John DeereBefore becoming a Reach for the Stars winner this year, Curtis Claeys of Delmar, Iowa had pretty limited experience with precision farming.

“I’m not real technologically advanced,” Curtis says. “Thankfully, my son is in college so when I get stuck I can give him a call and he can walk me through it. Otherwise, our local tech guy was very supportive and very good as far as taking care of us and getting us set up.”

Curtis was very pleased with the way precision farming helped him save money with nitrogen and fertilizer application by avoiding overlap. “And I think as they get this advanced, it will really save us a lot of money.”

Listen to some of my interview with Curtis here.
Listen to MP3 Curtis Claeys (4:30 min mp3)

Audio, Reach for the Stars

Precision Agriculture in the News

Chuck Zimmerman

We think of precision farming equipment as something to help with productivity but according to a recent story on California Farm Bureau’s Ag Alert publication it can mean a lot more. In fact, if it wasn’t for some GPS equipment on a John Deere tractor one farmer would be out his tractor.

On Sept. 17 the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center sent Bray and his team of rural crime detectives to northwestern Fresno County near Firebaugh to a John Deere tractor that had been reported stolen from San Benito County.

“The owner of the tractor, which was equipped with a factory-installed GPS system, had tracked it to the location. When one of our patrol deputies and two of my detectives went out to investigate, they found a row of eight tractors lined up next to each other,” Bray said. “It was such an isolated area that if that farmer didn’t have the GPS system on this tractor, it would have been real hard for us to find.”

Now that is an interesting example of how precision ag can make a difference!

Precision Ag in the News

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