InfoAg 2007 Kicks Off in Illinois

Cindy Zimmerman

Harold Reetz
The 2007 InfoAg Conference is underway in Springfield, Illinois. Harold Reetz with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR) kicked off the conference Tuesday morning before an audience of about 500.

Chuck Zimmerman interviewed Harold after the opening session and he provides an overview of the conference, including the fact that there are 60 speakers here doing 100 sessions and a trade show with over 60 exhibitors of precision farming technology.

Listen here to Chuck’s interview with Harold:
Listen to MP3 Harold Reetz (5:30 min mp3)

Check out a FlickR photo album of conference pictures here:

2007 InfoAg Conference Photo Album

And check back here to for more conference interviews in the coming weeks.

Audio, Education, General

Automate your spray boom

Melissa Sandfort

Chemical overlap when spraying is costly in product and sometimes in added crop stress that can cut yield. But it’s next to impossible to prevent it on headlands and on point rows. Plus, sprayer skips can be costly when unsprayed weeds rob yields.

FIN logo.gifJohn Deere’s automated solution to these costly problems is Swath Control Pro, designed to control boom sections in its 4720 and 4920 self-propelled sprayers, as well as its brand new 30 series sprayers. Swath Control Pro is part of Deere’s GreenStar 2 (GS2) system, using GPS to turn boom sections on and off automatically, according to a coverage map.

To grasp how it works, view this animation of a tractor in the field and a view of the GS2 screen.

Content courtesy of Kurt Lawton, Farm Industy News.

Education, Farm Industry News E-newsletter

In-season N management

Melissa Sandfort

The key to maximizing corn yields.

Planting is complete, fields have been sprayed for weeds and insects, and as you drive by your fields and gaze at the first three rows of healthy corn from your truck window, everything looks as it should…but is it? It’s impossible to know exactly what is going on throughout your entire field, but you can’t forget about your crops after planting and spraying is complete. With high corn prices, you have the potential to make record profits with continued mid- to late-season crop management.

Good crop management is vital to a successful growing season, from planting all the way through harvest. One way to maximize the investment in a field is by using aerial images, which help identify varying nitrogen needs across a field. This proven technology also pin-points specific areas of a field that either require more nitrogen or other inputs, or segments that already have what they need.

OptiGro.jpg The John Deere Agri Services OptiGro™ system gives growers a “bird’s eye” view of plant needs during the season. “It’s impossible for anyone to predict exactly how much fertilizer is appropriate for different parts of the field,” says Dr. Tracy Blackmer, Iowa Soybean Association. “Having the infrared imagery that will tell you how well the crop is doing is just a whole new level of management.”

In the same regard, growers are always looking for ways to maximize yield, especially with soaring corn prices. Aerial imagery is able to detect revealing information about each field, and when used appropriately with accurate interpretation, it is easier to detect nitrogen needs in corn plants.

Learning how to better manage nitrogen is an area growers are looking to improve. “I definitely see that it’s going to add to the bottom line. It’s going to help me manage, season-long, my nitrogen inputs that I haven’t been able to do in the past. There was just no way to do it and now there is a way,” says Bob Wieland, corn and soybean grower from Laura, Ill. “But together, I think that we can really optimize these yields.”

As you begin the final stretch of this growing season, don’t forget about your crop – nitrogen management must be maintained until tasseling. So the next time you’re driving by your crops, remember that OptiGro imaging can see more than you can.

Corn growers wanting more information about remote sensing and a list of local providers for the OptiGro system should visit, e-mail or call 800-518-0472.

(click on links to hear audio sound bites from Blackmer and Wieland)

Audio, General, Media Room, Satellite

Crops Face N Deficiency Stress

Cindy Zimmerman

Successful Farming Radio With potential yield losses at stake, corn growers are being urged to check nitrogen levels in their fields this summer.

Darrell Anderson, Successful Farming Radio Magazine, discussed that issue with Tom McGraw, owner of Midwest Independent Soil Samplers in Buffalo Lake, MN.

“The decisions are more important than ever,” says McGraw. “We can’t just throw on lots of nitrogen for insurance purposes because of cost and environmental issues.”

McGraw suggests using satellite imaging or aerial photography to detect signs of crop stress, such as the John Deere Agri Services OptiGro system.

Listen here to Darrell’s report: Listen to MP3 Successful Farming Radio Report (1:30 min mp3)

Audio, Farm Broadcast Reports, General, Satellite

Attend a Reach For The Stars meeting today!

Melissa Sandfort

ASA logo A series of grower meetings will be held this summer as a continuation of the “Reach for the Stars” program between the American Soybean Association (ASA) and John Deere. Sessions will begin with a short welcome and introduction from John Deere and the ASA on the value of the “Reach for the Stars” program and its benefits to growers. Growers will then receive information on integration of guidance tools into their own operation (ease of installation, learning to use, troubleshooting problems, use, etc.,) from local “Reach for the Stars” program winners. Educational sessions will be followed by a field demonstration and guest speaker.

Plan to attend a meeting today!
CITY: Morton, Minnesota 56270
ADDRESS: Jackpot Junction, 39375 County Highway 2, 2nd Floor Convention Center
DATE: Tuesday, July 17, 2007
TIME: 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

CITY: Plain City, Ohio 43064
ADDRESS: Der Dutchman, 445 S. Jefferson Ave., Banquet Rooms A&B
DATE: Wednesday, July 18, 2007
TIME:9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

CITY: Bettendorf, Iowa 52722
ADDRESS: Scott Community College, 500 Belmont Road, Belmont Campus, Student Life Center (Go in Doors 5 or 6)
DATE: Friday, July 20, 2007
TIME:9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Visit the ASA Web site for more information and to register today!


Sunbelt Ag Expo Preview Field Day

Melissa Sandfort


Research, innovation and education — you’ll hear these three words repeated time and again when describing what a visitor will find at the Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day.

Scheduled for Tuesday, July 10 at Spence Field in Moultrie, Ga., — site of the Sunbelt Expo — Field Day is an annual preview for the big show held in October and it’s an opportunity for farmers to see future trends in agriculture.

Field Day focuses on seed varieties, chemical applications, irrigation technology and precision ag technology.

This year 25 companies, as well as university researchers, will participate with 120 to 130 plots focusing on traditional row crop varieties. These will include 35 varieties each of corn and soybeans, 50 for cotton and 21 for peanuts and 1 plot highlighting Pearl Millet as an alternative crop.

Research is what the Sunbelt Ag Expo was built on and there is no shortage of it in the fields this year. logo.jpg

Trams depart starting at 8:30 and a complimentary lunch is served at 12:15.

Content courtesy of Farm Press.


Precision Citrus Counting

Cindy Zimmerman

Citrus IFAS Researchers at the University of Florida are developing an electronic system to “see” and count citrus fruit, a concept called machine vision. It could be commercially available by the end of the decade.

According to news from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the system includes a Global Positioning System receiver and notes the position of each tree with the goal of helping growers manage specific areas for better productivity.

Daniel Lee, an associate professor with IFAS who leads the project, presented two papers on the system at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ annual meeting. In one, the system was used to count green oranges in the field and had an 85 percent success rate.

The system includes a digital camera with special optical filters, a portable computer, GPS receiver and software designed by Lee and his graduate students. The camera and computer are mounted on a truck and driven through groves.

General, Research, Satellite, Software

UK Field Day Features Precision Ag

Cindy Zimmerman

UK AgPrecision agriculture will be in the spotlight this month in Kentucky.

Every two years, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture showcases the latest research and extension work conducted on its farm in western Kentucky as well as throughout the college. This year’s event is July 26 at the Research and Education Center in Princeton.

The field day will feature 11 production-related tours focusing on beef cattle, tobacco, forages, pest management in grain crops, corn and soybean production, fertility management in grain crops, weed management in forages and pastures, and a precision agriculture equipment demonstration.

“We are excited to showcase the agricultural research that is being conducted by the University of Kentucky,” said Don Hershman, UK plant pathologist and field day chairman. “Current trends in Kentucky agriculture will give producers added insight into new technology that is likely to go mainstream in the near future. This type of information will give those in attendance a competitive advantage.”

More information can be found here.

Education, Events, General

Getting to the Basics

Cindy Zimmerman

InfoAgA good website that really gets down to the basics of precision agriculture is Kind of like Precision Ag 101.

Starting with the very basic Introduction to the Concept of Precision Agriculture, the site features information on Geo-Positioning, Precision Guidance, Yield Monitoring, Plant Nutrients and Soil Sampling, etc. If it seems like a classroom course, that’s because it is. The website was designed for the study of Precision Agriculture at California Polytechnic State University, California State University in Fresno and the University of California-Davis, with grants from USDA and ARI.

Education, General

InfoAg Conference Filling Up

Cindy Zimmerman

InfoAgThere’s still time to register for the InfoAg 2007 conference July 10-12 at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois. Conference organizers report that over 450 people have registered so far and interest is very high. The conference hotel has sold out, but there are still plenty of rooms in hotels very close by for very reasonable rates.

Why should you go? Just to find out everything there is to know about precision agriculture. Concurrent sessions and over 60 speakers will address a wide variety of topics, like Callibrating Yield Monitors, Getting Practices Approved for NRCS Funding, Approaches to N Management, On-Farm Trial Tools, Resource Conservation and Precision Ag, Crop Variability, GPS in Agriculture, Precision Nutrient Management, and much, much more.

Check out the entire schedule at a glance here.

If you want to come early and/or stay late, there are more educational opportunities before and after the conference. The pre-conference tour on Monday, July 9, will include stops at Tim Seifert’s farm, Brandt Consolidated and TeeJet’s manufacturing plant.

The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) invites all InfoAg attendees to participate in a workshop, Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone: A Dialogue for Agriculture, which will be held immediately following InfoAg on July 12-13, 2007. You can learn more about the workshop at the CTIC web site.

Register on-line for the conference, or if you just can’t make it this year, be sure to check back here at as we will feature information from the event as it happens and over the next several weeks.

Education, Events, General