Illinois “Reach for the Stars” Winner

Cindy Zimmerman

Brownfield NetworkDave RussellBrownfield Network had a couple of “Reach for the Stars” winners in their coverage area, which includes Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

In this interview, Brownfield reporter Dave Russell interviews Ted Vinson of Fithian, Illinois who was one of the lucky winners in the promotion by John Deere and the American Soybean Association that allows him to use John Deere’s precision ag technology for a year free.

Listen here to Dave’s interview with Ted here: Listen to MP3 Ted Vinson (3 min mp3)

Stay tuned to for more interviews throughout the 2007 growing season with the Reach for the Stars winners.

Audio, Equipment, Farm Broadcast Reports, General, Reach for the Stars

Compatibility is key

Melissa Sandfort

Paul Schrimpf, PrecisionAgThere is still a lot of discussion about the need for compatibility across agriculture equipment, be it a tractor, a sprayer, or a controller. True plug and play is possible in some instances, but has been slow to come. In a free market, that comes with the territory – companies put a lot of time and effort into developing specialized equipment, so there is always going to be the tendency to make things proprietary.

But as we get deeper into the “precision revolution,” compatibility is growing, and practitioners are choosing their brands of equipment more carefully. That seems to be supported by the results of a recent poll showing that nearly 60% run their operations with 3 brands or less of equipment.

Everyone agrees that compatibility and ease of use will be critical to pushing precision ag practices to the next level of adoption.

Content courtesy of Paul Schrimpf, PrecisionAg, a Meister publication


“Reach for the Stars” Winner Interview on Brownfield Network

Cindy Zimmerman

Brownfield NetworkDave RussellDave Russell with Brownfield Network visited with John Deere/American Soybean Association (ASA) Reach for the Stars contest winner Neal Kuhn of Manilla, Indiana.

Neal told Dave that his new precision ag system really surprised him. “It’s done things beyond my expectations,” he said. “I’ve never had anything like this.”

Neal was one of 15 winners who have the opportunity to use a premium-level precision ag system, each with a suggested retail price of more than $20,000, for the entire 2007 U.S. growing season.

Listen here to Dave’s interview with Neal here: Listen to MP3 Neal Kuhn (3 min mp3)

Stay tuned to for more interviews throughout the 2007 growing season with the Reach for the Stars winners.

Audio, Equipment, Farm Broadcast Reports, General, Reach for the Stars

MN “Reach for the Stars” Winner Update

Cindy Zimmerman

LinderBrekkeLinda Brekke of Linder Farm Network recently caught up with one of the John Deere/American Soybean Association (ASA) Reach for the Stars contest winners. Pete Kramer of Gibbon, Minnesota talks about the advantages of using his John Deere AutoTrac System.

Listen here to Linda’s interview with Pete here: Listen to MP3 Pete Kramer (2 min mp3)

Stay tuned to for more interviews throughout the 2007 growing season with the Reach for the Stars winners.

Audio, Equipment, Farm Broadcast Reports, General, Reach for the Stars

Farmers Continue to Embrace Technology

Melissa Sandfort

A report from the University of Kentucky asserts that growers are finding recent precision ag technology advancements are highly beneficial to their operations.

“We’re really at an exciting time with this technology,” said Ben Koostra, an engineer associate with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. “What we’ve seen is in the past five or six years, the very early adopters started using this technology,” he said. “But in just the last few years we’ve seen more and more people starting to use this stuff.”

Farmers use global positioning satellites to pinpoint field locations for such activities as soil testing, field mapping and crop yield monitoring. This technology allows anyone with a GPS receiver to determine their location based on latitude and longitude as well as elevation.


The GPS system can also be tied to a lightbar with the ultimate goal to reduce overlaps and skips in fields. Lightbars have proven to pay for themselves, Koostra noted during the recent UK wheat field day.

The technology has improved, Koostra remarked, with systems today able to account for curves and slopes while earlier versions only allowed for straight line use. Few fields, especially in Kentucky, are perfectly straight, he noted.

Auto steering is something that is also gaining popularity with farmers as the technology and quality of the equipment has improved, he said. “We are seeing entry-level auto steer systems quite a bit with operations like spraying where you don’t have to be ultra precise,” he said.

New technology is now also putting GPS systems onto the implement to ensure that it is tracking in the same path as the tractor. This technology will ensure accuracy on sloped fields where the implement may move at a slightly different angle than the tractor. This is important in central Kentucky because of the terrain, he said.

Visit the University of Kentucky precision agriculture site to view additional education efforts.

Content courtesy of PrecisionAg, a Meister publication.

Education, General, Research

Aerial Detective

Melissa Sandfort

OptiGro imageryFarmers interested in applying variable rates of crop inputs based on current crop conditions have another service option, courtesy of John Deere Agri Services’ new OptiGro Imaging System.

The OptiGro system features a proprietary combination of high-tech automated cameras, custom software and the Web to deliver digital color and near-infrared images. Images are shot from a small airplane; the pilot focuses on flying, since the cameras are automated. The on-board computer helps direct the pilot’s flight path and captures differential GPS data, which is imbedded in the images. This allows the imagery to be used as the basis of a variable-rate application map. Using airplanes instead of satellites provides more flexibility to capture images when conditions are right and allows various image resolutions, depending on customer needs.

Content and full story courtesy of Farm Industy News.


The Precision Ag Minute

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision MinuteThis Precision Ag Minute is about how a Missouri cotton grower uses John Deere’s AutoTrac System with his twelve row planter and sprayer.

Kris Robinson told Peter Shinn with Brownfield Network that AutoTrac means perfect passes every time, no matter who is operating the tractor. “You can put and average Joe on it and get the same quality work done,” says Robinson. That gives him more time to spend with his kids and go to their ball games.

You can listen to the latest Precision Ag Minute here: Listen to MP3 Precision Ag Minute 10 (1 min mp3)

Audio, Equipment, General, Precision Ag Minute

SD Reach for the Stars Winner

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision MinuteLyle Romaine with American Ag Network recently talked with one of the John Deere/American Soybean Association (ASA) Reach for the Stars contest winners. Colin Dutenhoffer of Aberdeen, S.D. says he is impressed with John Deere’s AutoTrac System.

“I’m able to set a line in my field, punch a button, tell it I want to go from this end to that end,” he says. “I can take my time to watch the planter or whatever machine I’m pulling and not have to worry about missing something.”

Dutenhoffer says the AutoTrac was very helpful in helping him to replant this season.

Listen here to Lyle’s interview with Colin here: Listen to MP3 Colin Dutenhoffer (2 min mp3)

Stay tuned to for more interviews throughout the 2007 growing season with the Reach for the Stars winners.

Audio, Equipment, Farm Broadcast Reports, General, Media Room, Reach for the Stars


Melissa Sandfort

AutoTrac, iTec Pro Purdue University ag economist Michael Boehlje has called GPS-guided steering systems the “killer application” for agriculture, because growers who tap into its capabilities for improved efficiency and productivity can get immediate payback. And any lender should clearly see current and future efficiencies with this technology investment.

Leading the way in GPS technology, the John Deere iGuide system, which will be available in limited release in 2007, automatically shifts the steering pattern of the tractor to compensate for implement drift. It is compatible with John Deere AutoTrac integrated vehicles with GreenStar 2 systems (except 9000 series track and wheel tractors).

John Deere also has announced a completely automated system, the iTEC Pro that not only guides the tractor, but automates implement controls, ground speed and end turns at headland and interior boundaries. It will be available for limited release in 2007.

Content courtesy of Farm Industy News.


Producer Profile: Ron Reimann

Melissa Sandfort

The Precision in Practice column brings you the latest reports from producers across North America who have put precision farming into practice in their own operations. Visit this column regularly to see what your neighbors are saying about precision farming and how they use it on their farms.

Short broadcast interviews with these and other producers can be found in the Precision Ag Minute archives.

Ron Reimann Potatoes
8,000 acres
Apples, sweet corn, potatoes, wheat, field corn, green peas
John Deere components used: Starfire RTK, GreenStar 2 System

Q: How does the RTK make planting potatoes easier?
A: Before the RTK system, we’d mark out ahead of time so the planter could follow the straight lines of the previous tractor. It took 1 planter operator, 1 marking operator and 2 tractors and usually someone riding on the planter. We’ve eliminated a few of those processes/people now and now the operator can monitor the planter through an on-board computer. The RTK system has really cut our expenses and we get better, more accurate row spacing.

It’s made us much more efficient. We had no idea, once we got into it, the extent of how much it saves us. We use it in all of our planting operations. On corn, we plant more acres with 1 large, 12-row planter using RTK than we did with 2, 8-row planters and no guidance system.

Q: You’re a record-keeping guru. How does GreenStar 2 help you?
A: We use the Grower Approved Practices (GAP) program, meaning that the people buying our food want to make sure we’re doing things right. What we do is track our diesel usage, the time we’re working this ground, and these are all records that processors are requiring. Instead of writing everything down at the end of the day, the GreenStar 2 System is recording all of this for you.

It’s rapidly becoming a necessity – it’s so cost-effective and we couldn’t survive without it.

Precision in Practice