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

A Passion for Precision

Cindy Zimmerman

AEM Dr. Jay LehrDr. Jay Lehr of The Heartland Institute has a passion for agriculture – especially precision agriculture.

“The average person thinks that farming today is the same as it was in his grandfather’s day and it’s changed dramatically,” said Dr. Lehr at a meeting of farm machinery company executives last week in St. Louis. “Using global positioning systems, geographic information systems and variable rate technology, automatic steering allows us to reduce our inputs by being more accurate.”

Lehr is Science Director of the Heartland Institute which is a national nonprofit research and education organization with the goal to “discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.” He was one of the featured speakers at the recent Association of Equipment Manufacturers AgExecutive Forum.

He encourages people in agriculture to be pro-active in talking about modern farming. “We can treat a 500 acre farm today like ten 50 acre farms because the topography and soils may be very different and require different inputs and different seed spacing,” he said. “And that is very exciting for people to understand and if they shared that with their children they might be more interested in staying on the farm instead of getting a job in town.”

Listen to an interview with Dr. Lehr here:

Audio, Equipment, Events, General

John Deere Introduces New Utility Tractors

Chuck Zimmerman

John Deere Drive Green RegistrationWe’re getting ready to “Drive Green” here in Sarasota, FL. The company announced their new line of utility tractors in the 5 and 6 Series. I’ll have pictures and video after we go out there later today.

This morning at the registration table I spoke with Barry Nelson, Public Relations Manager, about what’s new from John Deere. He said, “We introduced a new series of utility tractor. In fact, this is so significant for us this year, we’re calling it the “Year of the Utility Tractor.” The new tractors will display the new John Deere numbering system and come in sizes from 40 to 140HP. Barry says they bring their dealers here every year for training and thought that with all the equipment on hand, it provided a good opportunity for the media to get on them as well.

I asked Barry if precision applications and equipment could be used with these new tractors and he said yes. However, they’re mostly for loader work, mowing and in most cases may not be what you’d want to install precision equipment on. He did say though that they have a very economical precision package available that includes a satellite receiver and a light bar for $1,400.

You can listen to my interview with Barry here: [audio:]

Audio, Equipment

Driving Green This Week

Chuck Zimmerman

John Deere Drive GreenThis week I’ll be “Driving Green” in the south as John Deere unveils the latest in small tractors, compact tractors, utility vehicles and more.

I know you may be wondering how precision ag fits in. Well I’m going to find out and report on it right here for you with pictures and interviews. It all kicks off on Wednesday afternoon in Sarasota, FL so check back if you’d like to learn more about what’s on the agenda from sponsor, John Deere.


Measuring Moisture in Forage With HarvestLab

Chuck Zimmerman

Luke KernsOne of the ways dairy farmers are using precision agriculture is in the area of forage production. It allows them to measure the moisture in it very precisely?

John Deere was on location at World Dairy Expo once again to showcase their HarvestLab Moisture Sensor.

I met and spoke with Luke Kerns. he says the unit uses a near infrared sensor that mounts on the spout of their forage harvester so it measures moisture as you’re chopping. He says that when it’s combined with other components on their machines you get data that lets you map your fields to variably apply manure or other nutrients to your fields to increase yields and forage quality. He says it also provides documentation for CAFO plans.

You can listen to my interview with Luke here: [audio:]

Audio, Dairy, Equipment

Precision Ag in the News

Chuck Zimmerman

It looks like Bruce Bosley is writing a series of articles on the myths of precision farming for the Ft. Morgan Times. Here’s an excerpt from his first one.

As a consequence, several myths have arisen about precision farming.

Precision farming is not a new branch or way of farming. Farmers already know how to grow crops and raise livestock. However, with increased globalization occurring in every sector of our economy, today’s farmer needs to produce better, greater, cheaper and faster in order to remain viable.

Precision farming can help today’s farmer meet these new challenges by applying the Right input, in the Right amount, to the Right place, at the Right time, and in the Right manner. The importance and success of precision farming lies in these five “R’s.”

Precision Ag in the News

Precision Ag Needed In The Dairy Industry

Chuck Zimmerman

GEA Farm TechnologiesYou don’t usually think of precision agriculture when it comes to the dairy industry. However, I heard it this morning in a press conference for GEA Farm Technologies at the World Dairy Expo. So I asked their CEO and President, Vern Foster, what he meant by it. Basically, he says that agriculture is changing and even in a dairy there’s a growing need for owner/operators to get online and see what’s happening in a milking parlor when they’re not there and to do more precise measuring.

You can listen to his answer here: [audio:]

I was attending their press conference because the company we’ve known as WestfaliaSurge is now part of a new brand, GEA Farm Technologies. As Foster explains, “It’s to pull all of the organizations that are part of GEA Farm Technologies, Houle, Norbco, WestfaliaSurge, pull it under a common brand so it makes sense for the marketplace, makes sense for our investors, makes sense for our customers and our dealer distribution.” The GEA stands for Global Engineering Alliance, a 5.3 billion Euro company that operates in 50 countries. Vern says, “It helps us really re-focus under one umbrella as we continue to grow and create additional organizations and innovate into the field of agriculture.”

Audio, Dairy, Industry News