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

Missouri Farmers are Techno-Savvy

Laura McNamara

Missouri farmers are embracing the new age of technology in agriculture. AP reports that precision farming was no sweat for the Show-Me State as farmers attended an ag conference hosted by the University of Missouri extension.

“Farmers are much more technologically savvy than people think,” said John Travlos, a University of Missouri extension agent. “They have to be. Agriculture is big business.”

From longtime computer users to novices looking for tips, farmers from across Missouri gathered Friday at a Lake of the Ozarks resort for the university’s annual farm computer users’ conference.

Topics ranged from basic spreadsheet use for managing finances to implementing “precision agriculture” techniques to maximize crop yields through computer-driven soil testing and fertilizer applications.

Click here
to view the entire article.

Education, Events, Precision Ag in the News, Software

ASA and John Deere Offer Precision Ag Clinics

Laura McNamara

High Plains/Midwest Ag JournalThe American Soybean Association and John Deere have been touring the Midwest, offering seminars on precision farming. The first precision ag event was held on January 8th in Wahoo, Nebraska. The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal reports that two more events are coming up later this month on January 28th in Jonesboro, Arkansas and January 29th in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“This is the winter education series of our ‘Reach for the Stars’ precision ag program,” said ASA President John Hoffman, a soybean producer from Waterloo, Iowa. “These meetings provide a great learning opportunity for anyone who has considered integrating precision ag into their operation or wants to learn about the latest in precision farming technology…”

“Anyone who sees benefit in improving farming efficiency, regardless of farm size or equipment type, will gain valuable information from these sessions. It will also be a great opportunity for growers to see first hand some of the new technology that John Deere has introduced, including iTEC Pro,” adds John Deere AMS Product Manager Kayla Reynolds.

The presidents of the Nebraska, Arkansas and Indiana Soybean Associations, John Deere SMS personnel, precision farm management experts and an ASA executive committee member will faciliate the events.

Participants will have the opportunity to “ride and drive” a John Deere GreenStar 2 System, which includes the AutoTrac Universal Steering kit.
Click here to view the entire article.

Education, Events, Precision Ag in the News, Satellite, Software

Precision Ag is Cost-Effective in Malaysia

Laura McNamara

The Star OnlineMalaysian ag company Boustead Holdings Bhd thinks precision agriculture is a big part of the puzzle when it comes to finding cost-effective solutions for increasing production of crude palm oil and palm kernel. The Star Online reports that Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, the group managing director for Boustead, is placing his confidence in precision farming.

The group has implemented several plans of action to address the issue of cost control.

The implementation of the precision farming technique has enabled us to be more precise in the application of fertiliser and thus, more cost efficient.

Mechanisation of field operations, such as fertiliser application and in-field collection, has yielded positive results in improving land-labour ratio and workers’ productivity.

Our focus on using clonal oil palm material and future use of new compact hybrid palms should ensure a higher yield.

Click here to view the entire article.

Education, Precision Ag in the News

Cotton Picking For Producers

Chuck Zimmerman

John Deere is on display in Nashville, TN at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. We know that the company has a new 7760 Self Propelled Cotton Picker out which was announced at last fall’s product launch. So to learn more about it and how it fits into a precision management plan, I spoke with Jamie Flood, Product Marketing Manager, just as the trade show was kicking off.

He says that the equipment is meant to simplify a producer’s operation and that he’s heard very positive and good interest from growers who are looking at it. From a precision standpoint he says that the base unit comes Harvest Doc ready. Flood says that cotton producers have been some of the earliest adopters of precision technology.

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

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

Audio, Cotton, Video

Precision Tillage

Laura McNamara

Farm&Ranch GuideMinnesota isn’t going to be left behind in the dust when it comes to precision. The University of Minnesota Extension is hosting the fourth annual Conservation Tillage Conference Jan. 30-31 at the Jackpot Junction Conference Center, Morton, Minn. And sure enough, the Farm&Ranch Guide reports that the conference will most definitely tackle precision farming.

Sessions are also available on fine-tuning the agronomics of conservation tillage. These talks include a practical approach to precision agriculture; selecting hybrids and varieties for reduced tillage; twin row corn and residue management, and using spring or fall cover crops.

Click here to view the entire article.

Education, Events, Precision Ag in the News