Benefits of Precision Ag

Melissa Sandfort

Welcome back for more information from the American Soybean Association (ASA) and John Deere “Reach for the Stars” summer grower meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa, on July 20th at Scott Community College.

DSC00276.JPGMark Hanna, Extension Agricultural Engineer with Iowa State University, continued the classroom learning with information about the benefits of precision agriculture. Hanna currently conducts adult education and applied research with agriculture field machinery in the areas of tillage, seeding, application harvest and safety classes. He has BS, MS and PhD degrees in agriculture engineering from ISU and was raised on crop and livestock farm in western Illinois. A precision nitrogen applicator designed and developed by a team led by Dr. Hanna was recently recognized as one of the top 10 design innovations in the last 20 years by the American Society of Ag and Biological Engineers.

“Potential benefits from precision farming include record-keeping/data collection/improved decision making, reduced operator fatigue, efficiency and variable-rate applications,” said Hanna. “Is it going to make you money? University research conducted a few years back showed a higher potential for payback with increased benefits to soil compaction, strip tillage and row crop cultivation. Precision farming is here, it’s no longer just coming. It’s not a replacement for good management, it’s just helping you be considerably better.“

There’s a lot of potential with precision agriculture, but growers need to decide what their yield-limiting factors are. Decide what level of accuracy is needed. Pass-to-pass (15 minutes) or long-term (next day, next week, next season). A lot depends on the conditions and how the system will be used.

Visit the John Deere Web site for more information about the GreenStar™ 2 system and watch for future reports on from the Reach for the Stars contest winners.

Education, Reach for the Stars

Still Reaching for the Stars

Melissa Sandfort

We’re happy to bring you more information from the American Soybean Association (ASA) and John Deere “Reach for the Stars” summer grower meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa, on July 20th at Scott Community College.

Hoffman.JPGThe morning classroom sessions continued with a presentation from John Hoffman, ASA President and 2,000-acre corn and soybean grower near Waterloo, Iowa. Hoffman spoke about how precision agriculture is helping to meet global demand for U.S. soy and outlined three key benefits to precision farming:
1. Improved Profitability
2. Increased Efficiency
3. Enhanced Sustainability

He began with a look at the global marketplace. “We have a global marketplace that has become very complex and competitive. As we look ahead, where are we going to find the acres? U.S. soybean production in 2006 was 3.2 billion bushels; soybean acres planted in 2006 was 76 million. In 2007, soybean acres planted was 64 million – down about 13 percent from a 5-year trend line. Exports are running at an all-time high, and the U.S. is the dominant supplier of soybeans.”

“The ASA endorses precision ag and we, along with John Deere, are excited about the potential that this new, innovative technology holds for U.S. farmers,” continued Hoffman. “I believe that precision ag will improve our profitability, enhance our sustainability and that precision farming is part of the solution for becoming a reliable supplier.”

Visit the John Deere Web site for more information about the GreenStar™ 2 system. Watch for future reports from Mark Hanna, Extension Agricultural Engineer with Iowa State University as well as feedback from three of the local Reach for the Stars contest winners.

Reach for the Stars

Growers were “Reaching for the Stars”

Melissa Sandfort

DSC00337 (Small).JPGThe American Soybean Association (ASA) and John Deere held one of three “Reach for the Stars” summer grower meetings in Bettendorf, Iowa, on July 20th at Scott Community College. At least 25 growers were in attendance despite heavy, damaging rains received in the state earlier that week.

To begin the classroom presentation, Ray Gaesser, Iowa Soybean Association President, gave a short welcome and spoke to growers about the benefits of precision farming. Ray farms 6,000 acres of corn and soybeans near Urbandale, Iowa, and has witnessed precision at work in his own operation.

“We bought our first yield monitor in 1996. Technology has come a long way in the last 10 years and it’s really benefited our farm. We plant and harvest with auto steer; we took on Swath Control Pro in our sprayer this year, we’ll have Swath Control on our planter next year, and it’s a big savings. It will easily save us 3 to 4 percent on chemical costs this year.”

The morning session was then followed by a panel discussion and a ride-and-drive where John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS) representatives were able to give growers a hands-on (or rather hands-off!) demonstration of the GreenStar 2 auto guidance system as well as the newly launched iTEC Pro system.

Education, Events, Reach for the Stars

1870 Air Hoe Drills introduced by John Deere

Melissa Sandfort

Adding to an already extensive line-up of air-seeding tools, John Deere now provides customers an efficient, environmentally-friendly seeding solution with hydraulic-tine technology on the new 1870 Air Hoe Drills.

“Growers told us they wanted an air-seeding tool with very accurate seed and fertilizer placement,” says Steve Detrick, project manager, John Deere Seeding Group. “We invested in new technology, the Conserva Pak hydraulic shank opener, which does an exceptional job in placing seed and fertilizer at a more accurate and consistent depth. The result is more accurate placement of fertilizer, reduced seed, fertilizer and input costs, and consistent, uniform emergence throughout the field for higher yields. This translates to a greater potential for improved income, while optimizing conditions for responsible stewardship of the soil.”

1870 Air Hoe Drill“The real story on the 1870 seeders is the independently controlled hydraulic shank opener, Conserva Pak, which enables the placement of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and sulfur-based fertilizers up to four inches away from the seed,” explains Detrick. “This positive vertical and horizontal separation of fertilizer and seed eliminates seeding damage caused by some fertilizer forms. This translates to more efficient placement of fertilizer, decreased seed damage, and optimized crop yields.”

Seed depth consistency is also improved on the 1870 Air Hoe Drills because the hydraulic accumulators permit separate control of down force of the fertilizer shank and the press wheel/seed opener. The Conserva Pak opener achieves consistent depth with an even amount of soil placed over the seed in a single or paired-row setting – even in variable seeding conditions.

“As another benefit to our customers, we’ve designed the air seeding packages to be fully compatible with all Green Star 2™ precision guidance and map-based prescription seeding, fertilizing, and field documentation systems,” concludes Detrick. “These systems, integrated with the Conserva Pak hydraulic shank openers, give us the most productive and environmentally-friendly air hoe drills we’ve ever designed and built.”

For more information, visit the John Deere Web site.

Equipment, General

See Crop Variability Clearly

Cindy Zimmerman

EPA SchollOne of the presentations at last week’s InfoAg 2007 was titled “See Crop Variability Clearly,” on how remote sensing technology delivers aerial images that provide a unique view of crop and field variability.

The presentation was given by Jeff Kaiser of John Deere Agri Services, who talked about the OptiGro™ system.

“OptiGro is an in-season imagery service that allows you to order an image when you want it and take a look at your crop from a bird’s eye view and see what might be done to make a management decision change this season,” said Kaiser.

Chuck Zimmerman interviewed Jeff about John Deere Agri Services, OptiGro and more. Listen to that interview here:
Listen to MP3 Jeff Kaiser (10:00 min mp3)

Audio, Education, General, Satellite

Precision Ag Awards

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision Ag Awards of ExcellenceAt the opening session of the 2007 InfoAg Conference last week, several awards were presented by Paul Schrimpf, group editor, Croplife Media Group. The awards are designed to honor those throughout the industry who are making significant achievements in precision agriculture technology adoption, use, education and research.

Receiving the awards were:

Arthur F. Lange, Ph.D., A leader in the creation and development of the Trimble Agriculture Division, which has helped make precision ag practical and affordable for many.

Scott A. Shearer, Ph.D., Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Kentucky.

TeegardinNorm Teegardin, Founder and CEO of Farm Works Software Co. and Farm Works Journal.

Chuck Zimmerman interviewed Norm Teegardin after receiving the award about his work in precision farming. Norm says his company started into making simple software for farm record keeping in 1992, which led to tracking software for chemical reporting. “From then we went on to precision ag and its just begun,” he says.

“The thing I would like to see from the industry is sharing of data, because that’s a big advantage for the farmer,” he added. “From a certain color combine to a certain color tractor to a different computer and back to the co-op.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Norm here: Listen to MP3 Norm Teegardin (5:00 min mp3)

Audio, Education, Equipment, General

EPA at InfoAg 07

Cindy Zimmerman

EPA SchollAn Illinois native who now advises the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on agricultural issues was a keynote speaker at the InfoAg 2007 conference last week in Springfield, IL.

Jon Scholl, who spent some 25 years with Illinois Farm Bureau, congratulated the participants at the conference for the work they are doing using new technology to address environmental concerns. Scholl talked about the focus of EPA on working with farmers and ranchers.

Listen to Jon’s address here:
Listen to MP3 Jon Scholl (20:00 min mp3)

Audio, General


Melissa Sandfort

Tracks.Tractor.Silhouette (Small).jpgLook out! Something BIG is coming to your farm.

Be one of the First to See the hottest, new equipment from John Deere. It’s easy!

Sign up now, or at least before 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!


John Deere AMS at InfoAg 2007

Cindy Zimmerman

John Deere AMSThis good looking bunch was staffing the John Deere Ag Management Solutions booth at the 2007 InfoAg Conference this week in Springfield, Illinois.

From left to right they are: Matt Danner, Andrea Grube, Kevin Ripple, and Patrick Sikora. Chuck Zimmerman interviewed all four of them at the conference about John Deere AMS.

Andrea, who is a regional specialist for AMS, says they are the “precision ag group of John Deere.” Senior product support specialist Matt says that means “everything from desktop software to displays and GPS guidance systems.” Kevin, who works with the guidance products, says it was great for them to be at the InfoAg conference “to show that John Deere is not only interested in the products, but the solutions for the farmer.” And Patrick, who works with the desktop software products, says helping farmers includes integrating with other software products “so customers with different needs on their farms can access different software providers.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Matt, Andrea, Kevin and Patrick here:
Listen to MP3 John Deere AMS (10:00 min mp3)

Check out a FlickR photo album of conference pictures here:

2007 InfoAg Conference Photo Album

Audio, Dealers, Education, Equipment, General

Back to the basics

Melissa Sandfort

publicationgraphic.jpgNow that you’ve got your GPS system installed and you’re a pro at precision farming, don’t forget the basics.

This month, John Deere Publishing has revised four of its current educational books in the company’s comprehensive line of 2006 textbooks and guides. These books include “Combine Harvesting”, “Hay and Forage Harvesting”, “Tillage” and “Preventive Maintenance”. These educational books cover agribusiness management practices, agricultural machinery operation and adjustments, and equipment servicing and maintenance.

“These easy-to-read manuals help growers at any skill level enhance and improve their operations, from the do-it-yourselfer to the novice,” says Gary Aversing, John Deere Publishing. “The manuals are not John Deere-specific; they guide the user through diagnostic, repair or maintenance procedures regardless of the manufacturer.”

Knowledge learned and applied can help growers maintain equipment and keep it safe to run, save on operating costs, and in the end, make for a more profitable growing season. These “how-to” books help growers stay competitive.

To order, call 800-522-7448 or visit our Web site.