Idaho Farmer Uses Aerial Images and GPS

Laura McNamara

Ag WeeklyIt may look like a toy, but as Ag Weekly has reported, Robert Blair’s CropCam unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, provides visuals of his farm that are vital for his precision farming. Robert says his CropCam is basically the same product the military and NASA are using. Here’s an excerpt from Ag Weekly on how Robert uses the CropCam:

Blair flies CropCam, a remote-controlled drone aircraft that takes detailed photos of his fields. CropCam is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that carries a high-resolution digital camera.

He loads the plane into his pickup, assembles the drone, hooks up the GPS, auto-pilot and camera, and with a running toss the aircraft, takes to the blue skies above the Clearwater River…

The drone meticulously maps every foot of the wheat field with high-resolution digital photos that pinpoint trouble spots where Blair can add more water or fertilizer to increase yields and bring in more dollars.

In the article, Robert says most farmers think you have to be rich to use such advanced technology. But, Robert advises that smaller farmers need to strongly consider investing in the technology if they want to remain competitive.

You can view the entire article here.

Aerial Imagery, Equipment, Precision Ag in the News

Precision Ag a Modern Marvel

Laura McNamara

logo_HC.gifThe History Channel’s Modern Marvels show has featured John Deere technology as an example of “ingenuity, invention and imagination brought to life on a grand scale.” One recent episode explored the growing field of precision agriculture, recognizing that farming has experienced a technological revolution of its own during the last 20 years. The three and a half minute video demonstrates how farmers are using global positioning technology to cultivate their crops with more accuracy. Some of the key machinery featured in this Modern Marvels episode were John Deere tractors and sprayers. Click here to see the video.

Equipment, Precision Ag in the News, Satellite, Software

ASA and John Deere Bring Precision Ag Ed to Growers

Laura McNamara

The Mid-South FarmerGrowers in Indiana have the chance to learn more about precision agriculture. The Mid-South Farmer reports that John Deere is partnering with the American Soybean Association in an effort to arm local growers with knowledge about precision agriculture systems.

Winter meetings are planned for Jan. 8, 2008, in Wahoo, Neb.; Jan. 28, 2008, in Jonesboro, Ark.; and Jan. 29, 2008, Indianapolis, Ind.

“This is the winter education series of our “Reach for the Stars” precision ag program,” says 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.”

You can find the full article here.

Education, Precision Ag in the News

Pecision Pays in Alabama

Laura McNamara

Opelika Auburn NewsManaging the family farm just got a little bit easier for Mike and Annie Dee. An article in the Opelika-Auburn News reports that John Deere precision agriculture technology is enabling the brother-sister team to farm like never before: it’s enabling them to farm at night. But, even more alluring, is the cost the Dees are reportedly saving. Reporter Amy Weaver writes that Mike’s smart sprayer alone can save the Dees up to $30:

So far, they’ve learned they can produce more by improving the high-yield fields, rather than the low-yield fields, Mike said.

A similar system exists in Mike’s sprayer. It controls the distribution of fertilizer so he doesn’t over- or under-spray in specific spots. And when the 90-foot boom starts to cross an area where there is no field, the nozzles turn off one by one until they’ve reached field again. The regulation can save the Dees $15-$30 an acre.

Again, the more control the farmer has, the more efficient he can be, Fulton said.

“It has increased our productivity considerably,” Mike said.

The GPS system in Mike’s John Deere sprayer remembers where the center of the plant bed was from last season so the tires cause compaction only on the same spot year after year. The delicate root zone remains untouched so plants can develop season after season, he said.

“We are asked to do more with every acre, every year,” Mike said. “With precision agriculture, we are trying to get the most out of every acre.”

With a better market and the advancements at the Dee River Ranch, Mike said they are seeing more profit this year. Their production goals are higher than ever.

You can see the entire article here at the Opelika-Aurburn News Website.

Equipment, Precision Ag in the News, Software

John Deere iSolutions Make Precision Technology Easy to Understand

Laura McNamara

Information desk at the John Deere Agritechnica ExhibitOne of the biggest client-customer programs offered at the John Deere Agritechnica exhibit is the iSolutions program. Paul Leathem, the manager of John Deere Advertising in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, explains that AMS technology is well known in both North America and Europe, but the technology is less understood in Europe. He says iSolutions is meant to explain the different packages of AMS solutions John Deere can offer to farmers.

You can listen to Paul give a detailed explanation of iSolutions and several packages offered for different types of farmers here:

Listen to MP3 Paul Leathem, Manager for John Deere Advertising(4:00 min mp3)

Audio, Displays, Equipment, Events, International

Night Sprayer

Laura McNamara

John Deere Display at Agritechnica 2007The technology behind the 730i series sprayers is child’s play for Paul Leathem, the manager of John Deere Advertising in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The sprayers are also equipped with intelligent applications such as the AutoTrac assisted steering system, BoomPRO and SprayPRO. Paul says these sprayers can retract to dimensions suitable for road travel at the push of a button. The 730i series sprayers can also travel up to a speed of about 12 mph in the field.

You can listen to Paul elaborate further on the 730i series sprayers here:

Listen to MP3Paul Leathem, Manager for John Deere Advertising(6:00 min mp3)

Agritechnica 2007 Photo Album

Audio, Displays, Equipment, Events, International

Intelligent Self-Propelled Sprayer Debuts at Agritechnica

Laura McNamara

John Deere Exhibit at Agritechnica 2007Agritechnica 2007 officially marked the launch of John Deere‘s first ever self-propelled sprayer in Europe. The 5430i is an intelligent sprayer that offers almost a complete automation of the entire sprayer application procedure. The sprayer integrates ten innovative AMS (Ag Management Solutions) features, including SprayPRO technology. The SprayPRO system uses GPS technology to offer more precision on sprayer functions such as steering the tractor, recording application rates, monitoring overlaps and skips, switching boom sections on and off, or any other GPS-based function. The Manager of John Deere advertising in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Paul Leathem, says European business is moving away from mounted sprayers and is demanding more self-propelled technology.

Paul gave our group of reporters who traveled to Agritechnica with John Deere a detailed overview of the 5430i sprayer. You can listen to Paul here:

Listen to MP3 Paul Leathem, Manager for John Deere Advertising(2:30 min mp3)

Audio, Displays, Equipment, Events, International, Software

Precision Technology a Big Draw for John Deere Consumers in Europe

Laura McNamara

Dr. Oliver Neumann, Manager of Public Relations, European Market for John DeereJohn Deere has already attracted a large, steady crowd to it’s revamped exhibit at Agritechnica… and the event hasn’t even “officially” begun. The preview days, or the days typically reserved for media, honored guests and participants who don’t mind paying triple the normal entrance fee, got a sneak peek at Agritechnica 2007 for two days before the farm machinery show’s official opening. Both John Deere’s high-tech demonstration, complete with a tractor that drives and moving hi-definition plasma tv screens, and the company’s iSolutions were a big part of the “new John Deere look” that was attracting such a sizable “preview days” crowd.

I spoke with Dr. Oliver Neumann, the manager of public relations in John Deere’s European market, about the new John Deere exhibit, the company’s new approach to consumer education on precision technology and, of course, it’s gold medal winning E Premium series 7430 and 7530 tractors.

You can listen to my interview here:
Listen to MP3 Neumann (5:00 min mp3)

I’ll be posting more information on the technology behind John Deere’s iSolutions and precision agriculture campaign soon.

Audio, Displays, Equipment, Events, International

Prowling Deutschland For Precision Ag

Laura McNamara

2007 Agritechnica in Hanover GermanyThe dates for Agritechnica 2007 are fast approaching. This year’s event is being held next week, November 13 through 17. Agritechnica is one of the world’s biggest showcases for farm equipment. The German Agriculture Society hosts the event once every two years. Thanks to John Deere, I have the opportunity to travel to Germany and check out the latest in farm machinery innovation. In fact, I’ll be in the air today making my way to Frankfurt. You’ll be able to find most of my coverage of the week-long trip on I will be on the prowl for precision ag technology though, so check back here often to catch up on the tools and software I unearth in Germany.

The trip will also feature an inside look at the John Deere identity in Europe. John Deere will be taking our group of reporters on a factory tour of the John Deere Werke Mannheim Plant, where we’ll get to learn about and witness John Deere Product Verification and Validation. The John Deere European Parts Distribution Centre is also scheduled stop, along with a tour of both a German arable farm and vegetable farm. Of course, we’ll also get a warm welcome from the German Agriculture Society.

It won’t be all work with no play though. John Deere will be taking good care to ensure we get a good look at some Deutschland landmarks, including the old German town of Heidelberg and it’s historic castle. And, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at an authentic German winery.

Equipment, International

Kansas Students Get Their Hands on Precision Ag Sprayers

Laura McNamara

Deere Trail Implement Inc. The ease of precision agriculture has given a couple agriculture instructors the opportunity to offer their students some hands-on education. Well, an article in the Emporia Gazette said both precision ag and access to the Deer Trail Implement complex located just west of Emporia made the hands-on lesson a reality.

Thirty-five K-State students trekked form Manhattan, KS to Emporia, KS to try out John Deere’s 4830 and 4930 self-propelled sprayers first-hand. Both sprayers are equipped with precision agriculture hardware and software. The 4830 Sprayer uses a GreenStar 2 monitor with precision guidance mapping and variable-rate software in it’s cab, while ag enthusiasts can find a SpreadStar Controller in the cab of the 4930 Sprayer. A SpreadStar™ Controller offers operators precision dual-product rate control from the cab. The technology can apply single or dual product or fertilizer at 20 mph with a spread pattern up to 105 feet. The Emporia Gazette article reports that the Deer Trail Implement complex was meant to foster a learning atmosphere:

When Deer Trail Implement was building its $2.3 million complex west of Emporia on U.S. Highway 50, one feature Deer Trail Manager Richard Garber was excited about was having a smart classroom.

Garber envisioned the room being used by the community and students as a place to learn about agriculture.

Last week, the classroom fulfilled that vision when 35 K-State students traveled from Manhattan to Emporia. The students were juniors and seniors enrolled in a chemical applications systems course taught by John Slocombe and precision ag technologies class taught by Dr. Randy Price.

The students spent more than an hour in the classroom learning about the latest in agriculture spray technology. They then spent time outside driving John Deere’s 4830 and 4930 agriculture sprayers.

Displays, Education, Equipment, Precision Ag in the News, Precision in Practice, Software