John Deere StarFire iTC Receiver Software Enhancements

Chuck Zimmerman

Starfire ITC ReceiverThe John Deere product launch, “Leadership by Design,” is underway in Cincinnati, OH.

An example of the kind of announcements we’re seeing today includes improvements to precision software.

As more producers use precision guidance to lower input costs, save fuel and reduce passes in the field, John Deere continues to enhance software to bring more value and accuracy when using field equipment. Two new improvements include Long Range RTK, which expands the working distance of a vehicle from the base station, and Shading Optimization, which enhances AutoTrac™ performance in partially shaded conditions.

“Precision guidance technology continues to improve with better software to allow greater accuracy in variable field conditions,” says Kayla Reynolds, product marketing manager, John Deere Ag Management Solutions. “Our previous version of StarFire™ RTK had sub-inch accuracy but was limited to a six-mile radius from the base station. The new Long Range RTK software now maintains the accuracy but allows a twelve-mile radius from the base station.”


Satellite Citrus Research

Cindy Zimmerman

FDOCThe Florida citrus industry is being threatened by diseases such as canker and greening that could have a severe impact on production in the future.

The Florida Department of Citrus has been working with NASA for almost three years now to determine how satellite technology can help the state’s citrus industry track grove acreage and tree numbers, and eventually spot the early signs of diseases. In a recent interview with the Lakeland Ledger, FDOC director of scientific research Dan King talked about the possibilities and the progress so far.

FDOC KingKing says one of the goals is to provide a multi-level analytical tool. “Multi-level means from the individual grove up to the government agency level,” he said. “The areas of information are all based on satellite imagery and software interpretation that allows us to develop a database of information.”

“We are working on being able to find signatures on such things as citrus greening, and those signatures will be used to evaluate imagery,” said King. “The data we are currently gathering and the research being proposed and carried forward now suggests that within two to three years, we should have an answer as to whether this is truly a capability we can generate from aerial or satellite imagery.”

Read the Lakeland Ledger interview with King here.

Research, Satellite

May The Force Be With You

Chuck Zimmerman

Ron DeFauwThis week John Deere participated in the Syngenta Learning Centers program in Milford, IA. On display was the new John Deere Central Insecticide System.

Here’s Ron DeFauw, John Deere Seeding Group, talking about a the system’s brand new way to apply Force Insecticide. Think of the box version of wine that you put in your refrigerator and you’ll have a pretty good idea what the new box formulation of this corn rootworm control product looks like. Ron says the product will be available this fall and that you should see your John Deere dealer for more information. He says the system provides for very precise control of the application of the product.

He says benefits of Syngenta’s Force CS include the fact that there’s no worry over getting granulated product or dust on your hands and the boxes are lightweight and easy to load and move. Another benefit comes after you’ve applied the product. The boxes don’t have to be returned to the dealer. You can easily dispose of them.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this new product at next week’s John Deere product launch and I’ll be on hand to provide coverage here on

You can listen to my interview with Ron here: Listen to MP3 Ron DeFauw Interview (2 min MP3)


Green in Cincinnati?

Melissa Sandfort

The sun has been beating down on fields and cities across the Midwest this summer. As temperatures rise, grass keeps getting brown and crispy. But there’s something new and green coming to Cincinnati, Ohio on August 23rd. It’s the John Deere Intro Event and it’s the event of the year.

dsc00350.JPGCincinnati will never be greener than it will be next week. It’s the location for one of the biggest, most innovative new product launches in history. And John Deere is leading the way.

So look out! Something BIG could be coming to your farm. And you can be one of the First to See the hot, new equipment from John Deere. It’s easy!

Sign up now, or at least before Tuesday, August 21, and we’ll send you a special e-mail on the evening of August 22, 2007.

Visit the Web site to be one of the First to See!


Farm Science Review 2007

Melissa Sandfort

Get ready for Farm Science Review, Sept. 18-20, 2007 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center!


New at this year’s Review is the Energy Education Tent. Located in Alumni Park, it features educational and informational displays from Ohio State, Purdue, and organizations/agencies with similar educational missions. A number of sessions at the nearby Question the Authorities program will be addressing the economics of energy markets, conservation, and new technologies. Then, the speakers will be available in the Energy Tent for “energetic” informal bull sessions related to today’s critical energy issues. The idea is to make this area a gathering point for those interested in “energetic” discussion. Some very visible energy-related technology should make this tent impossible to miss.

Also plan to attend the daily field demonstrations:
Corn Harvest: 10 a.m. Tues., 10 a.m. Wed., no demo on Thur.
GPS Technology/Strip-Till: 1 p.m. Tues., 1 p.m. Wed., 1 p.m. Thur.
Manure Application Equip: 1 p.m. Tues., 1 p.m. Wed., 1 p.m. Thur.
Corn Harvest: 1:30 p.m. Tues., 1:30 p.m. Wed., 1:30 p.m. Thur.
Tillage: 2:00 p.m. Tues., 2:00 p.m. Wed., 2:00 p.m. Thur.
Soybean Harvest: 2:30 p.m. Tues., 2:30 p.m. Wed., 2:30 p.m. Thur.

For more information, visit the Farm Science Review Web site.

Education, Events

Central Insecticide System for John Deere Planters

Melissa Sandfort

John Deere, in partnership with Syngenta Crop Protection, announced a new liquid Central Insecticide System to help growers control corn rootworm with more efficiency and reliability while planting corn.

“This central fill, closed-handling system allows the operator to efficiently and accurately apply insecticide at planting while decreasing potential insecticide exposure to the operator,” says Rob Rippchen, division marketing manager, John Deere Seeding. “The new liquid system uses Force CS, which offers superior control of corn rootworms and is the premier product for control of early-season pests such as white grub, wireworm, and cutworms.”

455120sm.GIFThe Central Insecticide System draws Force CS from its closed packaging via direct injection, mixes it with water, delivers the solution to the individual planter row units, and applies it in a T-band over the seed furrow. Plus, as a result of this partnership, growers are provided with complete, top-notch service and support from both Syngenta and John Deere.

“This ensures precise coverage on and around the seed for excellent rootworm control,” explains Rippchen. “Also, the Central Insecticide System is a pressure-based system which provides outstanding row-to-row accuracy compared to granular insecticide systems. The system is fully integrated with the planter and compatible with Refuge Plus.”

The Central Insecticide System will be available on John Deere 1790 Planters (30-inch rows only), 1770 NT CCS Planters with Pro-Series Row Units, and DB 80 and DB 90 CCS Planters with Pro-Series Row Units. The system will help growers realize cost and time-saving efficiencies while optimizing the potential for increased corn yields. The new system will be available for the spring 2008 planting season.


John Deere Pavillion Celebrates Anniversary

Cindy Zimmerman

PavillionTen years ago, the John Deere Pavilion and Store opened in Moline, Illinois, to celebrate the past, present and future of agribusiness. Since then, the Pavilion has welcomed millions of guests from around the world and has become the region’s most popular attraction.

On August 18, the John Deere Pavilion and Store will celebrate ten years with a day of special events and a series of new exhibits highlighting company products and important global issues surrounding agriculture. One of the new interactive exhibits is called “You Are Here: GPS in the Field,” which will provide a hands-on experience in precision farming and how it has transformed the industry.

Read more about the anniversary event here.

Displays, Education, General

Precision Ag Fuels Green Revolution

Cindy Zimmerman

BoggsA recent editorial by Ohio Director of Agriculture Robert Boggs notes that precision agriculture is helping to fuel the “green energy revolution” in his state and nationwide.

Farmers, the founders of environmental stewardship, not only work hard to make every day “Earth Day,” they also adapt with the times to work smarter, increase efficiencies, and produce superior products that are good for the producer, good for the people, and good for the environment.

Ask any farmer and you will find that conservation farming practices such as no-till, riparian buffers, grassed waterway maintenance, and windbreaks to control erosion are common practices in the industry. In addition, precision farming, using satellite maps and computer models, allows farmers to use fewer fertilizers and pesticides while producing higher quality, higher yielding crops. These advancements sharpen the efficiency of agriculture and help maintain agriculture’s strong, beneficial presence in Ohio.


Texas Ag Commissioner to Kick-off Precision Expo

Cindy Zimmerman

TPPATodd Staples, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, will attend and make introductory remarks at the Precision Ag Expo that will be held September 6, at the Ollie Liner Center in Plainview, TX.

The Expo is sponsored by the Texas Plant Protection Association (TPPA) and co-sponsored by USDA-ARS, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas Cooperative Extension, New Mexico State University, Texas Tech University, West Texas A & M University, International Plant Nutrition Institute, National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants and the Texas Farm Bureau Texas Agriculture publication.

The Precision Ag Expo will be a day-long event that will begin at 8 AM. The Expo agenda will include both classroom style presentations and “hands-on” demonstrations and discussions in the field. This will be great opportunity for all involved in farming to learn about the latest precision ag practices and products from those that are leaders in working with this new technology.

Registration and other information is available on-line.

Education, Events

Volunteers Sought For PrecisionAg Occupation Survey

Melissa Sandfort

Do you (or someone you know) work as a Precision Agriculture Specialist/Technician? Or perhaps your work involves supervising or training Precision Agriculture Specialists/Technicians? If either of your answers is “Yes,” then we need your help.

Under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment & Training Administration, the National O*NET Center is seeking precision professionals to answer questions about their work for a national occupational database. Selected volunteers receive a $40 honorarium.

header_logo.gifA well-known nonprofit research organization, RTI International, working with the National O*NET Center, under a grant from the United States Department of Labor/Employment & Training Administration, is asking for help with an important national project to gather information describing the work that people do in over 800 different occupations.

We are looking for people with expertise in the occupation of Precision Agriculture Specialists/Technicians to answer survey questions about Precision Agriculture work, as part of the O*NET Data Collection program.

By volunteering to assist in these efforts, you will help the O*NET database to accurately reflect the realities of the American workplace, and you will be doing your part to represent the occupation of Precision Agriculture Specialists/Technicians on behalf of the entire profession. Thank you in advance for volunteering!

What is O*NET? The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the nation’s primary source of occupational data, allowing millions of employers, workers, educators and students across the country see what it takes to do the work of over 800 occupations (including that of Precision Agriculture Specialists/Technicians).

This information is provided free of charge online to the general public.