Mastering the AMS Masters

Laura McNamara

Mark Theuerkauf with John Deere AMS Product DevelopmentJohn Deere’s Ag Management Solutions really wants to provide solutions… not just for its customers, but also for its dealers and consultants. That’s why AMS developed its Masters Program. Mark Theuerkauf is with Deere AMS and he says the Masters Program is a program that’s specifically tailored for dealers who want to focus on new AMS products being released to consumers. Theuerkauf says the two and a half day program allows dealers and consultants to experience new products during live demonstrations out in the field. The program is held in Corpus Christi, TX and has grown to more than 400 attendees.

Chuck interviewed Mark about the AMS Masters program. You can listen to Chuck’s interview here:Listen to MP3 Mark Theuerkauf Interview (5 min. MP3)

Audio, Dealers, Education, Equipment

For Love of Precision

Laura McNamara

Moberly MonitorThe Moberly Monitor reports that precision technology is a favorite for an award-winning Moberly Area Community College graduate. Kellar Nelson farm-raised Missourian is heading off to study in Prague, Czech Republic. But, the Moberly Monitor caught up with her before she left, and she raved about precision farming.

Precision agriculture is Nelson’s new-found love. Precision agriculture uses scientific data to determine the best methods of planting, pesticide and fertilizer use and harvesting for a specific field.

The goal is the same one farmers have had for centuries, higher yields and lower input costs. Precision agriculture uses technology like GPS to accurately seed and fertilize fields. It tests plots of ground to determine the content of soil. This tells farmers what to plant, what insects to fight and what fertilizers to use.

Farming is a lot more than sticking seeds in the ground and praying for rain and sunshine these days. ‘There’s a lot of new technology in farming making farmers more money with better crop yields,’ explained Nelson.

Although she hasn’t convinced her dad to purchase any of this new equipment yet, he is making a few suggestions on possible research projects she can do.

Click here to view the entire article.

Precision Ag in the News

On-Farm Gets In Line with Farmers for 2008 Planting Season

Laura McNamara

Tracy Blackmer with the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm NetworkWhat’s in store for the 2008 planting season? Well, Tracy Blackmer with the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network has some ideas. He says the price of corn and beans are increasing, so farmers will be looking how to best position those crops. He adds that fungicides are always a hot topic with farmers, and so are nitrogen and Round-Up Ready applications.

Chuck interviewed Tracy about what farmers are planning for the 2008 planting season. You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tracy here:Listen to MP3 Tracy Blackmer Interview (5 min. MP3)


ITEC Pro A Leader in Ag Technology for English Farmers

Laura McNamara

The Engineer OnlineThe pressure is on in the farming industry. At least, that’s what the English think. The Engineer Online reports that Prof John Beddington, the English government’s new chief scientific adviser, has claimed that an “impending food crisis is the biggest challenge facing humanity.” And, as it turns out, The Engineer Online says experts agree that precision farming is a major player in combating this “impending crisis.” That’s not all. They’ve highlighted John Deere‘s new ITEC Pro system as THE example of the technology needed to face the food crisis.

One of the most promising developments is the emerging area of precision farming, where GPS-guided agricultural machines, armed with a detailed knowledge of a field’s varying characteristics, place seeds, fertilisers and nutrients where they are needed most…

Although the idea is not new, agribusiness consultant Neil Cameron believes precision farming is finally coming of age. ‘People have been playing around with it for years, but in the last 18 months we’ve hit a place where the equipment’s got cheaper, and the accuracy has got better and better.’

While this has much to do with the ever-improving resolution of satellite systems, one of the main reasons the approach now holds such promise is the advanced performance of today’s agricultural machines.

ITECToday’s tractors, mainly GPS-guided and able to steer themselves, and combines have relegated the driver to the role of passenger. And there is more to come.

Earlier this year, agricultural machinery giant John Deere took the technology a step further with the launch of iTEC pro, a system that automates not only the steering, but also all of a tractor’s operations. ‘Pretty much from the moment you enter the field and set to work the operator is just a passenger,’ said Mark James, the company’s product manager for agricultural management solutions…

However, the prospect of armies of driverless robots toiling in the fields while the farmer sits at a desk at home is remote, said James. Not only would fears of 300hp combine harvesters hurtling out of control halt such plans, but there is always likely to be a need for on-site human expertise. The real benefit of automation, he said, is that it enables more efficient use of the driver’s expertise by freeing him from having to drive in a straight line for hours.

James added that while humans might not be completely removed from the loop, we may soon see operators driving one machine while a succession of driverless vehicles follow on behind. ‘On a multi-pass operation like planting potatoes — when there’s three or four operations — one man could potentially do this on his own but with a succession of different machines. Then you’ve got the experience in the operation, rather than expecting an automated system to make all the decisions.’

Click here to view the full article.

Audio, Equipment, Precision Ag in the News, Satellite, Software

A Closer Look at John Deere’s Industry Exclusive ITEC Pro

Laura McNamara

John Deere AMS Product Development Manager Darin KrantzITEC Pro stands for Intelligent Total Equipment Control. And, it does exactly what it sounds like it does. Darin Krantz is the product development manager in the marketing department at John Deere Ag Management Solutions. He says the ITEC Pro automates the entire driving function for qualified Deere tractors, giving less-skilled operators the precision they need to make more efficient and accurate turns.

Chuck spoke with Darin about this John Deere exclusive, which represents the latest technology from Deere’s AutoTrac application. You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Darin here: Listen to MP3 Darin Krantz Interview (4 min. MP3)

Audio, Equipment, GPS, Software

Ag Consultants Drive Precision

Laura McNamara

Enid News and Eagle states agricultural consultants are “consultants who work with farmers to determine productive and profitable competitive farming techniques.” But, goes further, and reports that ag consultants are all about precision.

Precision farming can probably best sum up what an agriculture consultant tries to teach farmers to do. Agronomy, entomology and plant pathology are all used by consultants to better a farmer’s chances of producing a productive crop. The individual issue for most farmers and the consultants they work with is determining what method the farmers should use that is ideal for their location and weather conditions. Brannan’s experience has shown him this is not an exact science.

Click here to read the full article.

Precision Ag in the News

Farmers Can Now Upgrade AutoTrac Universal with ATU 200

Laura McNamara

John Deere ATU200John-Deere just released its latest design in its AutoTrac Universal system. The ATU 200 was shipped out to dealers in March and should now be available to consumers nationwide.

Chuck spoke with John Deere’s Kayla Reynolds about the new ATU upgrade. You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Kayla here, where she talks about the improvements John Deere made with this latest version. Kayla also confirms that ATU 200 is compatible with any AutoTrac system including GreenStar, GreenStar II, StarFire, StarFire 2 or StarFire RTK: Listen to MP3 Kayla Reynolds Interview (4 min. MP3)

Audio, Dealers, Equipment, Software

Community Precision in Iowa

Laura McNamara

isa-office-08-blackmer.jpg The On-Farm Network of the Iowa Soybean Association is just that… a network meant to give farmers around the state tried and true information about precision farming technology and tools.

Chuck interviewed Tracy Blackmer, the Director of Research for the Iowa Soybean Association about how On-Farm Network makes maximizing precision ag on the individual farm a community effort. In the picture Tracy is standing next to an Iowa state map showing locations where they’ve conducted projects for the program.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tracy here:Listen to MP3 Tracy Blackmer (10 min. MP3)

Dealers, Research

Swath Control Pro for Planters

Laura McNamara

Kirk SwihartFarmers are always looking for new ways to increase yield gains. John Deere’s Swath Control Pro for planters is a tool farmers looking for those extra gains might want to consider.

Chuck interviewed Kirk Swihart, John Deere’s Dealer Technical Assistant Supervisor, to see just what this ag toy can do. He also dug up info on what is and what isn’t compatible with the planter aid.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Kirk here: Listen to MP3 Kirk Swihart Interview (4 min. MP3)

Dealers, Equipment

Getting a John Deere RTK Update

Chuck Zimmerman

John Deere AMS OfficesToday I had the opportunity and pleasure to visit the John Deere Ag Management Solutions offices in Urbandale, IA. This is the first post in a series that I’ll be doing over the next couple weeks about what’s going on in John Deere precision ag products.

I hope you’ll find that these interviews will provide a current inside look at some of the new products, some of which are just now hitting the market, and help you understand them, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to incorporate them into your farming operation.

Marketing ManagerTo get things started I’ve got an interview today with Mark Theuerkauf, Marketing Manager. Mark and I talked about RTK. Our conversation helped me better understand how the tower or base station network functions to provide a growing coverage area where you can take advantage of the extreme accuracy that RTK offers. As Mark says, John Deere offers three levels of accuracy with RTK being at the top of the list.

You can learn more about RTK on the John Deere StellarSupport website. Mark says that there are considerations when using the network since it is contingent on line of sight with the local towers. He suggests working with your local dealer to find out how you can incorporate RTK in your system.

You can listen to my interview with Mark here: Listen to MP3 Mark Theuerkauf Interview (4 min. MP3)

Audio, Equipment