Farm Industry News Promotes Precision.AgWired.com

Cindy Zimmerman

FINFarm Industry News has produced a special e-newsletter that features articles about some of the latest precision agriculture technology.

The newsletter is designed to deliver timely educational information about tools and methods that can help growers profit from precision farming and first-hand grower experience with tools/services and the profit they achieve. Each issue will include two articles for each grower proficiency level (novice and pro). These pieces will focus on educational/news topics. Another story will highlight grower experience with precision farming profitability.

The articles in the first issue, written by reporter Kurt Lawton, cover a number of important topics, including:

Why let your tractor drive itself?
Lightbar versus assisted steering
Assisted steering and the value of RTK
First look at GPS-based planter controls
Grower experience: Why RTK?

Lots of valuable precision information here! To subscribe to this e-newsletter, click here.

Education, Equipment, Farm Industry News E-newsletter, General

Why let your tractor drive itself?

Melissa Sandfort

Farm Industry News GPS-guided assisted steering• Improves accuracy (tillage, planting, spraying, fertilization)
• Reduces fuel, seed, herbicide, fertilizer costs
• Allows daylight accuracy during night operations, at faster speeds
• Allows the driver to focus on the implement
• Reduces driver stress, body aches and pains

If you want any of these benefits, then you should consider this satellite-driven technology, now entering its 10th year on the market. It’s all about making your equipment more precise and more cost-effective … and giving yourself a break from stress, too.

University researchers — and farmers who use assisted steering — have proven a consistent 5 to 10 percent reduction in overlap. And in situations like spraying where you try to follow globs of disappearing marker foam 30 to 45 ft. to the side of your tractor, you can imagine that the payback from assisted steering can be even higher.

Now, do the math. There’s 5 to 10 percent fuel savings for every operation (tillage, anhydrous/liquid fertilizer, preplant/preemergent herbicides, planting, etc.). There’s 5 to 10 percent reduced cost for inputs (fertilizer, herbicides, etc.). To help you ballpark your own savings, use the Guidance Calculator on the right-hand side of this page.

Reducing overlap is just one way that assisted steering makes a farming operation more efficient. Experienced users with field data maps find even greater savings with variable-rate fertilizer, strip-tillage, varied seeding rates and numerous other methods.

Content courtesy of Farm Industry News.

Education, General

The Precision Ag Minute

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision MinuteThis Precision Ag Minute is about how John Deere’s Green Star 2 AutoTrac System provides more control with less effort.

Peter Shinn with Brownfield Network talked to Delbert Armstrong, Jr., of North Carolina about how AutoTrac helps him stay on the tractor more hours each day. “It’ll pay for itself time and time again,” he says.

You can listen to the latest Precision Ag Minute here: Listen to MP3 Precision Ag Minute 8 (1 min mp3)

Audio, Education, Equipment, General, Precision Ag Minute

Producer Profile: Gerald Thompson

Melissa Sandfort

The Precision in Practice column brings you the latest reports from producers across North America who have put precision farming into practice in their own operations. Visit this column regularly to see what your neighbors are saying about precision farming and how they use it on their farms.

Short broadcast interviews with these and other producers can be found in the Precision Ag Minute archives.

Gerald Thompson
Colfax, Illinois

John Deere components used: AutoTrac

Q: What value does your precision ag system deliver?
A: Until you use it, you don’t realize how much time you spend steering the tractor through the field. AutoTrac allows you to work longer, avoid overlapping by 5 feet (over doing it by hand), eliminates skips, and allows you to work in inclement weather conditions.

Your last trip is as good as the first one, day in and day out. My father is 77 years old and his attitude is: “Leave me alone – I don’t want to get out of this nice, controlled environment!”

We also chose to buy a smaller combine with AutoTrac because we’re still more efficient. And it’s easy to switch from planting to spraying to harvest.

Q: What would you tell other growers thinking about investing in precision ag?
A: When you buy a new tractor, I wouldn’t buy it without it. It’s like buying a tractor without air conditioning! I just wouldn’t do it. Give it a try – I know you’ll like it.

You can listen to the interview with Gerald here: Listen to MP3 Gerald Thompson (3:30 min mp3)

Audio, Precision in Practice

Lightbar vs. Assisted Steering

Melissa Sandfort

If you didn’t jump on the lightbar manual-steering guidance bandwagon early in the decade, fear not. Why? Farm Industry News

• You can now buy assisted-steering technology for the price of an early lightbar system.
• Or, you can still ease yourself and your wallet into GPS-based steering accuracy by buying an improved lightbar system.

Why buy a lightbar?

• A lightbar with any GPS signal will improve your driving and quickly pay for itself.
• It’s a lower-cost initial investment than assisted steering.
• It’s more reliable and accurate than foam markers, at higher speeds.
• With an ability to upgrade, it may offer all the features you currently want.
• You can farm more acres with the same equipment. Purdue research says a 1,800-acre farm could expand to 2,600 acres with the same 12-row planter while maintaining the same planting timeliness.

Why skip the lightbar for assisted steering?

• You focus on the operation, not the driving, except to turn around (and new Deere technology will handle the turnaround, too).
• Assisted steering offers greatly reduced stress without the common arm/shoulder/neck aches from steering and looking back and forth.
• Assisted steering gives greater accuracy, reduced overlap and greater input cost savings compared to a lightbar.
• Controller technology usually offers more features and add-ons to handle more tasks compared to a lightbar.
• You can farm even more acres with the same equipment. Purdue research says a 1,800-acre farm could expand to 3,100 acres with the same 12-row planter while maintaining the same planting timeliness.

If you’re unsure which technology is best for your operation, check out this link that might help determine the right guidance choice for you.

Content courtesy of Farm Industry News.

Education, General

Producer Profile: Delbert Armstrong, Jr.

Melissa Sandfort

Precision in Practice column brings you the latest reports from producers across North America who have put precision farming into practice in their own operations. Visit this column regularly to see what your neighbors are saying about precision farming and how they use it on their farms.

315a.jpg Delbert Armstrong, Jr.
Winterville, NC
6,000 acres
John Deere components used: Starfire RTK, John Deere 4720 Sprayer with Swath Control Pro

Q: You’re planting corn. What are some benefits you’re experiencing with the RTK system?
A: I spend 12 to 14 hours a day in the tractor with a 36-row planter. Once I get turned into the rows, I can hit the AutoTrac button, let it go, then watch the row units to make sure everything is adjusted as it should be. This allows me to keep my mind on what the planter is doing instead of turning my knuckles white having to watch the row markers in front of the tractor. It’s easy on me, and my hands aren’t tired from holding the steering wheel all day.

Q: What cost savings have you seen?
A: Seed corn was $75 per bag in 1982. Now it’s $220 per bag. With new planters and the RTK system, I’m more accurate, which in turn, saves money. One of the most cost-effective operations is swath control by saving on nitrogen, and it helps improve yields in the long run. Most people just don’t know what the system is capable of doing. But It all pencils out.

Q: What are you telling your neighbors?
A: More farmers need to invest in precision agriculture. They don’t have to do it all at once, all in one year, but it will quickly pay for itself time and time again.

You can listen to the interview with Delbert here: Listen to MP3 Delbert Armstrong (4:00 min mp3)

Audio, Precision in Practice

Guidance made easy.

Melissa Sandfort

AutoTrac Thinking about GPS? Wanting hands-free ease of operations? Check out AutoTrac – the mobile solution that functions on many different vehicles, with all levels of accuracy, and year-round. What’s more, youhave the opportunity to increase the productivity of your older equipment and even non-“green” equipment by incorporating AutoTrac into your operation. It’s both accurate and reliable, with unsurpassed quality and performance.

“Depending on the crop, the return on the investment in a guidance package can be much greater and the payback much faster,” says Kayla Reynolds, product marketing manager for John Deere Ag Management Solutions. “The scalability and affordability of these newer systems give producers who farm from 500 to 50,000 acres a chance to the technology and expand it to include mapping and variable-rate applications.”

Equipment, General

InfoAg 2007

Cindy Zimmerman

InfoAg Midwestern farmers who want to know more about precision agriculture first-hand should register now for InfoAg 2007 in Springfield, Illinois. The conference is scheduled for July 10-12, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Illinois.

Since the first conference in 1995, InfoAg has been a leading event in precision agriculture. InfoAg 2007 will present a wide range of educational and networking opportunities for manufacturers, practitioners, producers, and anyone interested in site-specific techniques and information management.

Registration and more information is available on-line.

Events, General

Precision.AgWired.com Podcasting

Cindy Zimmerman

Introducing the Precision.AgWired.com Podcast

i-Pod It’s now possible to use the power of one of the coolest online tools to subscribe to the “PPP” and automatically receive all the audio files we post right on to your computer and even into your iPod or other MP3 audio player. Then you can listen to Precision.AgWired.com audio whenever and wherever you want. You can find instructions on our How To Subscribe page. It will tell you how to subscribe to our news feed as well as our podcast.

In addition to offering you this subscription mechanism you can also find all the interviews and audio files we post archived onto a special Audio Archives page which you will always find a link to in the right sidebar of the website.

We hope this makes it easier for you to use the latest communications technology to update yourself on the latest agricultural technology!

Audio, Farm Broadcast Reports, General

The Precision Ag Minute

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision MinuteThis Precision Ag Minute is about the simplicity and efficiency of John Deere’s Green Star 2 AutoTrac System.

Peter Shinn with Brownfield Network talked to Greg Hannay of Saskatewan about how the GreenStar 2 System really helps him fight fatigue in the field. “I don’t know how I ever sprayed without it,” he says.

You can listen to the latest Precision Ag Minute here: Listen to MP3 Precision Ag Minute 7 (1 min mp3)

Audio, Equipment, General, Precision Ag Minute