Classic Precision Demonstration

Cindy Zimmerman

John Deere PrecisionAt the 2008 Commodity Classic in Nashville, hundreds of farmers were interested in finding out more how precision technology can help them save time and money.

Laura Robson was the expert on hand, demonstrating the John Deere GS2 Display which provides excellent visibility of spraying functions while operating in the field. The GS2 Display is used for rate control, guidance, on-screen mapping, field documentation, map-based prescriptions, and Swath Control Pro.

Take a look at Laura in action:

Commodity Classic, Video

Precision Soil Sampling

Cindy Zimmerman

AgRoboticsOne of the Top 10 agricultural innovations showcased at the recent World Ag Expo’s New Product Center was the AutoProbe by AgRobotics.

AutoprobeAccording to World Ag Expo, the AutoProbe is “the first high speed, on-the-go soil sampler for precision soil sampling. Samples are collected at a precise depth and interval over a section of land. On a 2.5 acre grid, twenty cores are pulled to constitute a sample. This is done at a constant speed of 8mph. The machine is guided and steered with GPS.”

The AgRobotics site features a seven minute video of the AgRobotics AutoProbe™ in action.

AgRobotics is an Arkansas-based company that was founded in 2006 by a third generation farmer and agricultural entrepreneur. According to the website, company founder Jim Burton has over 35 years of day-to-day farming experience and an education in Agricultural Engineering, and has experienced first-hand the advancement of digital technology on an operating farm.

GPS, Precision Ag in the News

Precision is Standard on New Tractors

Cindy Zimmerman

Jerry GriffithIf you are in the market for a new tractor and are maybe still using an older model – be prepared to learn some new tricks with your new ride.

Jerry Griffith, marketing manager for the John Deere 9030 series ag tractors, was at the 2008 Commodity Classic last week in Nashville talking with growers from all over the country interested in purchasing new machinery this year or next. He says some precision features are now standard on new tractors.

“Couple of years ago we started offered all of our AutoTrac integrated components as a free promotion,” he says. “Beyond that, all you really need is the receiver, the display and the software to do the AutoTrac system.”

Griffith says their dealers provide excellent support for growers to meet their precision needs. “A lot of them anymore have specialists who work with our AMS components to provide the solutions that our customers need in the farming world in the precision ag applications,” Jerry said.

One of the benefits of guidance systems and other precision features is helping farmers work longer hours with less fatigue and Jerry says one of the features on the new 9030 series lets them do that more comfortably with an air cushion suspension system that provides “the best ride in the industry.”

You can listen to my interview with Jerry here: Listen to MP3 file Jerry Griffith Interview (3:40 min. mp3)

Audio, Commodity Classic, Displays, Equipment

Precision Ag Works

Cindy Zimmerman

One of the best places on the web to find good information about precision agriculture is, an on-line publication of Meister Media Worldwide.

At the 2008 Commodity Classic, I had the opportunity to visit with group publisher Al Strohmaier about Precision Ag – the website, as well as the PrecisionAg Buyer’s Guide, and PrecisionAg Special Reports.

Precision Ag Al StrohmaierAl told me how the PrecisionAg Institute was founded in 2006 as a way to foster technology transfer, wider adoption and increasingly effective use of precision agriculture technology worldwide. “The first year we had 13 what we call founding partners,” Al said. “We used that to fund grower research on wheat, corn, soybean and cotton on precision ag acceptance.”

They also did research on how precision ag benefits growers and now they have started a new initiative called “PrecisionAg Works,” which they were highlighting at the Classic.

“We’ve got quantitative information now about profitability, how much return per acre extra, and we’re taking this message to the streets,” Al told me. “Precision is going to pay off more and more and more and that’s what the institute is all about and that’s what PrecisionAg Works is all about.”

You can listen to my interview with Al from Commodity Classic here: Listen to MP3 file Al Strohmaier Interview (5:20 min. mp3)

Audio, Commodity Classic

Precision Sprays

Cindy Zimmerman

Lee MaddenLee Madden is product manager in the sprayer marketing group with John Deere and he was busy at the 2008 Commodity Classic trade show in Nashville this week telling growers about the new 30 series line up.

Among the changes in the new series is standard precision features, like the GS2 monitor. “That’s the color touch screen display for the GPS products that we have to offer from AMS John Deere,” Lee says. “That comes with new software for the sprayer side and also allows you to run the AMS components all at the same time.”

Lee says precision features on sprayers have really taken hold in recent years. “You have products like AutoTrac and Swath Control Pro that automatically turns the solution sections on and off for you using GPS. That really makes the operator comfortable and they see the payback really quick.”

You can listen to my interview with Lee here: Listen to MP3 file Lee Madden Interview (3:00 min. mp3)

Audio, Commodity Classic, Equipment

One Year Anniversary

Cindy Zimmerman

RobsonIt’s the first anniversary for, which was launched last year at the Commodity Classic in Tampa.

One of the first interviews we had on the site was with Laura Robson, senior marketing rep for John Deere. We caught up with her again at this year’s Classic, being held this week in Nashville. I asked Laura about the state of precision technology and how farmers are adapting to precision becoming standard on new equipment. We also talked about how last year’s ASA/John Deere Reach for the Stars contest winners used their precision package in 2007, what they thought about it and how it is helping John Deere make precision pay even more!

You can listen to my interview with Laura at Commodity Classic here: Listen to MP3 file Laura Robson Interview (4:30 min. mp3)

Commodity Classic, Equipment, Reach for the Stars

Getting The AMS Overview

Chuck Zimmerman

National Farm Machinery ShowOne of the people I spoke with at the National Farm Machinery Show was Kayla Reynolds, John Deere AMS. I asked her to give us an overview of the Ag Management Solutions division at John Deere. It’s a bigger operation than I thought. For example she says they’ve got about 250 people working in AMS in Des Moines. That includes engineering, testing, supply management, marketing, customer support and accounting.

Kayla says that AMS is all about creating solutions that help farmers better manage their business. It’s all about efficiency in the field. She says that their main focus is on agriculture but that they’re looking at some new opportunity areas like construction, forestry and even lawn and garden. Mowing straight lines on a golf course would be one good example of a precision application. I think it’s interesting how often new technology is developed for an agricultural purpose but is then used in other industries and precision is no different.

One of the main new products that Kayla talked to growers about is the Intelligent Total Equipment Control (ITEC) system they have for 8030 wheeled tractors which takes auto guidance to the next level by adding functions like auto turning at the end of a pass.

You can listen to my interview with Kayla here: Listen to MP3 file Kayla Reynolds Interview (5 min. mp3)

Audio, National Farm Machinery Show

Precision Agriculture in the News

Chuck Zimmerman

In a story showing up on North Texas e-News, Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, offers some advice for ways that farmers can save money and that includes precision agriculture. Here’s a sample:

• Practice controlled traffic, especially if precision technology is already in place on the farm.

“As RTK (real-time kinetic) auto-steering becomes more affordable, it makes controlled traffic a much easier decision for farmers,” said Reeder. “The accuracy of auto-steering makes it easier for farmers to drive in the same path year after year.”

Controlled traffic saves money on fuel, labor, crop inputs and equipment costs. It can virtually eliminate yield loss from compaction, and makes continuous no-till more economical, said Reeder.

Precision Ag in the News

Get Precision Ag Support 24/7 at John Deere Call Center

Chuck Zimmerman

Kim FletcherService after the sale is something you hear a lot about and at the National Farm Machinery Show, John Deere Ag Management Solutions Representative, Kim Fletcher (left), says it’s something that she’s been talking to growers about.

Kim says that she thinks of support on two levels. The first one is with the local dealer who will have one or two AMS consultants available. The other is a customer call center which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by toll free line that can be called to get questions answered from anywhere in the world.

**Note: Kim just called here to clarify that they do take a couple of days off – like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – so its actually 362 days a year, or 363 in Leap Year!

You can listen to my interview with Kim here: Listen to MP3 file Kim Fletcher Interview (3 min. mp3)

Audio, National Farm Machinery Show

Growers Excited About Swath Control Pro For Planters

Chuck Zimmerman

Kyle CollinsAt this year’s National Farm Machinery Show farmers were asking lots of questions about the new Swath Control Pro for planters according to Kyle Collins, seen here with Tommy Johnson, a grower from Hopkinsville, KY. Kyle works in John Deere’s Ag Management Solutions division. He says that what growers are really interested in is how they can save on seed costs by using a precision planting system that reduces overlap just like it has with sprayers.

You can listen to my interview with Kyle here: Listen to MP3 file Kyle Collins Interview (3 min. mp3)

I also spoke with Tommy Johnson who says he’s using precision equipment with both sprayers and planters. He says it works terrific.

You can listen to my interview with Tommy here: Listen to MP3 file Tommy Johnson Interview (1 min. mp3)

Audio, Equipment, National Farm Machinery Show