No Looking Back

Laura McNamara

John Deere TractorTennessee Grower Alan Meadows is willing to bet that no less than 90 percent of all farmers who try their hand at tools using precision technology wouldn’t ever dream of moving forward without it. In an interview, Meadows told reporter Stewart Doan that if farmers “try it… [they’ll] never go back.”

Meadows was a presenter at the American Soybean Association/John Deere Ag Management Solutions seminar in Arkansas last week.

You can listen to Stewart Doan’s interview with Meadows here:Listen To MP3 File Alan Meadows Interview (1 minute MP3)

Don’t forget that this interview is part of our Podcast. Subscribe on your computer and get them automatically using these instructions.

Audio, Events, Reach for the Stars, Software

Toeing the Line with Precision Upgrades

Laura McNamara

Ted Glaub speaking with Dr. Jerry GriffinFarmers are feeling out the benefits of GPS satellite technology with measured care. At least, that’s what “Reach For The Stars” seminar presenter Dr. Terry Griffin says. Griffin held an audience at last week’s American Soybean Association/John Deere Ag Management Solutions seminar in Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas Ag extension economist says precision agriculture encompasses several different technologies and isn’t just one individual piece of technology. He calls precision farming a new, modern system for approaching and applying work in the field.

You can listen to Stewart Doan’s interview with Griffin, where he explains more about this system of data, guidance tools and GPS technology here:Listen To MP3 File Dr. Terry Griffin Interview (6 minute MP3)

Don’t forget that this interview is part of our Podcast. Subscribe on your computer and get them automatically using these instructions.

Audio, Reach for the Stars, Satellite

Precision Ag Growth in the Mid South

Chuck Zimmerman

Ted GlaubAt this week’s American Soybean Association/John Deere Ag Management Solutions, “Reach For The Stars” seminar in Arkansas Ted Glaub, Glaub Farm Management and ASA board member, was a presenter.

He says that a lot of his operators are using new sprayer technology to save significantly on input costs, especially on odd shaped fields. Ted says that using precision equipment does save on operator “wear and tear.” By not having to focus as much on steering the operator can focus on other important elements of planting or harvesting. He says he sees more and more farmers getting into precision ag each year. For growers considering making an investment he recommends starting out by asking the local dealer a lot of questions, especially for their specific operation.

You can listen to Stewart Doan’s interview with Ted here: Listen To MP3 File Ted Glaub Interview (5 minute MP3)

Don’t forget that this interview is part of our Podcast. Subscribe on your computer and get them automatically using these instructions.

Audio, Reach for the Stars

Reaching For The Stars This Week

Chuck Zimmerman

Reach For The Stars Equipment DemoOver the next week or so we’ll be featuring interviews with people who are attending and presenting at the American Soybean Association/John Deere Ag Management Solutions, “Reach For The Stars” seminars in Arkansas and Indiana. We’ve enlisted the aid of two very well known farm broadcasters, Stewart Doan, past President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and Gary Truitt, Hoosier Ag Network. So let’s get started.

The first seminar took place in Jonesboro, AR. One of the growers attending was Rich Faulkner, New Madrid, MO. Rich told us that he started with precision agriculture about 2 1/2 years ago with the Starfire SF1 receiver and last year added RTK. He’s very happy with them and looking to expand more as they get more accustomed to the equipment.

He says that benefits to using the equipment he’s got so far include less driver fatigue in keeping rows straight, the ability to make all the rows the same distance apart which makes things more economical and with RTK, they can come back and track in the same tracks. Rich says they see an increase in productivity. He recommends that farmers who are row cropping year to year look at RTK for these reasons.

You can listen to Stewart’s interview with Rich here: Listen To MP3 File Rich Faulkner Interview (2 minute MP3)

Don’t forget that this interview is part of our Podcast. Subscribe on your computer and get them automatically using these instructions.

Audio, Reach for the Stars

PrecisionAg Institute Says

Chuck Zimmerman

PrecisionAg InstituteI know we’ve already mentioned some findings from the PrecisionAg Institute about whether precision agriculture pays. I had an opportunity to talk with K. Elliott Nowels, who authored a report for the Institute titled, “Precision Powers Profit” (pdf file) to learn more about what they did find.

First of all they found that 80% of farmers who use precision are making more money. In other words, precision really does pay. He says that they found that farmers using precision not only make more profit but they also produce higher yields. They also talked to growers who don’t use precision and found that cost and complexity are the two main barriers for them.

He says there’s three things growers should keep in mind about precision agriculture technology. 1. It’s a more efficient crop production system; 2. You’ll find yourself producing more and making more money; and 3. Because of an increasing amount of environmental scrutiny it shows that you’re becoming a better steward of the land.

You can listen to my interview with Elliott here: Listen To MP3 File Elliott Nowels Interview (4 minute MP3)

Don’t forget that this interview is part of our Podcast. Subscribe on your computer and get them automatically using these instructions.

Audio, Education, Research

Documenting Precision Agriculture On The Farm

Chuck Zimmerman

Crop Tech TourFarmers wanting to see how other farmers are using new technologies like precision agriculture can see and hear it from the folks at Successful Farming. It’s called the Crop Tech Tour. Regular updates are printed in the magazine but for the most up to date information you’ll need to keep your eye on Agriculture Online where they’ll be posting pictures, stories, audio and video. The idea got started in 2007 and will continue with John Deere’s sponsoring support this year. Tours are planned in all areas of the corn belt.

I spoke with Agriculture Online editor John Walter about the project. He describes what farmers can expect with the work they’re doing on this project. For example, John says that there’s a lot of drama out on the land this year and they’ll be documenting how farmers are reacting to the challenges. Helping them in the effort will be Certified Crop Advisers who will be acting as the “eyes and ears” on the farm. He says they’re not trying to demonstrate new technology but document how it’s being used since farmers have made it clear to them that they are excited to get an online, interactive view of what’s going on, especially from other farmers.

When it comes to precision he says they’re conducting a survey of farmers which so far shows that they’re most interested in proving that yield and data collection analysis benefits them financially. He says that over half are very interested in auto guidance systems.

You can listen to my interview with John here: Listen To MP3 File John Walter Interview (14 minute MP3)

Audio, Media Room

Precision Ag Courses Texas Style

Laura McNamara

High Plains/Midwest Ag JournalFarmers near Lubbox, Texas who are interested in learning more about precision farming equipment and software are in luck. The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal reports The Southwest Farm & Ranch Classic will offer special courses on precision agriculture on Jan. 31, 2008.

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Precision Ag. Courses–Room 107 (just off the south Pedestrian Mall);

–“Putting the Pencil to Precision Ag”–Jay Yates, Extension Risk Management Specialist;

–“Integration of Precision Ag Systems”–Gabe Moudy, South Plains Precision Ag–Plainview, TX (0.5 CEU Gen);

–“Guidance Systems”–Jay Hurst, Hurst Farm Supply–Lorenzo, TX (0.5 CEU Gen);

–“What Precision Ag does for me on my farm”–Glenn & Steven Brosch, Slaton, TX; Eddie Griffis, New Deal, TX (1.0 CEU Gen);

Click here to view the entire article.

Displays, Events, Precision Ag in the News, Software

Closing in on the “Driverless Dream”

Laura McNamara

Design NewsJohn Deere is one step closer to providing what Design News calls “the driverless dream.” While the operatorless tractor doesn’t exist yet., Design News describes John Deere’s latest innovation in automated steering systems.

That killer app — an automated tractor — is already capable of turning, shifting gears and seeing through darkness and dust. It can follow a crop line with sub-inch precision in moonlight, can make decisions to raise and lower heavy farming implements on its own and can save thousands of hours and countless dollars for farmers.

And it may one day be capable of doing its job without need of an operator…

Deere, which will release its iTEC Pro automated guidance product this spring, has been a leader in development of autonomous technology. But it’s not alone. Case IH and New Holland have teamed with Trimble, an expert in GPS and optics, to develop automated tractor guidance systems, as well.

Click here to view the entire article.

Dealers, Equipment, Precision Ag in the News, Satellite

900 Million GPS Units By 2013

Chuck Zimmerman

ABI ResearchGPS, a key component of precision agricultural systems has grown to be a huge application for many sectors of our lives these days. Just think about all the ads you saw for portable gps devices before the holidays. According to a report from ABI Research the market for GPS in all its forms is expected to continue to grow significantly.

While in-car navigation will remain the most important application of GPS technology, the use of GPS in many other consumer, business, and industrial environments such as telematics and asset tracking will continue to grow. The GPS modernization project and the arrival of additional Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou/Compass will increase the availability, reliability, and precision of satellite positioning and stimulate the location ecosystem, expanding the market to more than 900 million units by 2013.

“Personal Navigation Devices for in-car use will be increasingly complemented by converged solutions based on GPS-enabled handsets for pedestrian navigation and Location Based Services,” says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte. “However, GNSS technologies will have to be combined with other positioning solutions such as A-GPS, Wi-Fi, and dead reckoning to address the indoor coverage issue. Dedicated GPS devices will remain the preferred option for specific applications and environments such as outdoors, marine, recreational aviation, and tracking of people and animals.”

Industrial GPS applications include precision agriculture, machine control, construction, surveying, and timing. The use of GPS in military systems will also remain important.

Equipment, GPS

More Precision Agriculture in Cotton

Chuck Zimmerman

Pat SikoraAt last week’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences I got to interview Patrick Sikora, John Deere Ag Management Solutions Group, about the new technology available for cotton growers. He works in their new development area.

Patrick says that cotton growers have been some of the earliest adopters of precision farming technology but that there may be some not familiar with products like Harvest Doc Cotton.

With the Harvest Doc Cotton system, cotton producers will be able to document and map their cotton yields with the GreenStar™ system and their John Deere 9986 and 9996 cotton pickers. The Harvest Doc Cotton system enables producers to generate detailed cotton yield maps to help them make better and more informed management decisions.

Patrick suggests that growers make sure they visit for all the information they need.

You can listen to my interview with Patrick Sikora here: Listen to MP3 Patrick Sikora Interview (3 min mp3)

You can also watch the interview if you’d like as well:

Audio, Cotton, Video