Let the farm shows begin!

Melissa Sandfort

The annual Virginia Ag Expo will be held Aug. 8, beginning at 7:30 a.m., at Renwood Farms in Charles City County. The annual event is the largest agricultural field day held in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Renwood Farms is a large grain and seed processing farm located on the James River, not far upstream from the historic Jamestown settlement, which celebrated its 400 birthday this year.

Growers will have an opportunity to view the 2007 Virginia on-farm corn and soybean test plots. There will be corn and soybean seeding rate plots, corn and soybean weed control plots, seed treatment and fungicide plots.

Participants will be able to go from exhibit to exhibit and visit with the various exhibitors at their own pace.

ipmlogo01.gifThe theme for this year’s Expo is “400 years of American Agriculture”.

In addition to the many exhibits, and things to see on this operation, field plots will highlight corn and soybean varieties, plant population/density research, corn response to nitrogen, and antique corn varieties.

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the 2007 Expo. Rick Tolman CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and senior leadership of the American Soybean Association will also be on the program.

A large outdoor exhibit area will give farmers an opportunity to see the latest farm equipment and products and provide an arena for visiting with industry leaders during the Expo.

There is a $10 registration fee which includes a barbecue lunch, snow cones and beverages. For ticket information and directions to Renwood Farms contact John Smith (johnwsmth@aol.com) or Molly Pugh (mollypugh@cox.net).

The 2007 Virginia Ag Expo is a joint project of the Virginia Corn Growers Association, the Virginia Soybean Association and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service.

Information/story courtesy of Southeast Farm Press.

General

This month’s helpful links…

Melissa Sandfort

Links of the month
by Kurt Lawton, Farm Industy News

Midwest Independent Soil Samplers — Tom McGraw’s newsletters are a MUST READ (knowledge+wisdom+entertainment=excellence in my book)

Sensing Nitrogen Stress in Corn – 2006

Corn Response to Supplemental Nitrogen – 2007

Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin)

Concepts and Rationale for Regional Nitrogen Rate Guidelines for Corn — 2006

USDA Geospatial Data Gateway — Find maps of your fields. (You will need GIS software to view them.)

“Next up Robots” — Farm Industry News, March 2007

Education, General

Harvesting Information

Cindy Zimmerman

SSTManaging data well on the farm can help growers harvest a wealth of information to help them operate more efficiently. One company that helps growers do that is SST Development Group of Stillwater, Okla.

Operations manager Matt Waitts says SST is a software and information services company started in 1994. “We have an extensive record-keeping program for producers to record all their field activities, such as planting and spraying. We have a desktop component and a mobile handheld unit that can be taken out into the field.”

“We’re really focused on providing tools that let growers have more information about what’s going on out in the field so they can learn what’s working and what’s not working,” said Matt, seen here demonstrating those tools at the recent InfoAg conference.

Matt says SST has a partnership with John Deere “where they are using they are using our reference data base to make it easier for producers out in the cab and that data will transfer over into our products.”

Listen to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Matt here: Listen to MP3 SST Interview (6:00 min mp3)

Audio, Education, Events, General, Software

Central Valley Ag and Precision Farming

Cindy Zimmerman

CVAPrecision ag is an important segment of the products and services offered to members of the Central Valley Ag cooperative in Nebraska.

Glen Franzleubbers of Oakland and Keith Byerly of Tilton attended the recent InfoAg conference in Springfield, Illinois where they stopped by the John Deere Agri Services booth.

Glen says their precision ag program at CVA is called Advanced Cropping Systems. “It includes grid soil testing, directed soil sampling, variable rate fertilizer, lime, yield mapping, yield monitor support, and also the John Deere OptiGro imagery,” said Glen.

Keith says they have been amazed at the resolution of the OptiGro imagery. “Once we really saw what the resolution was, how detailed it was, I was impressed with it enough to take it to more growers than I initially planned,” he said.

Both said that grower feedback has been very positive.

Listen to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Glen and Keith here: Listen to MP3 CVA Interview (5:30 min mp3)

Audio, Education, General, Satellite

precision.agwired.com wins at AAEA

Melissa Sandfort

corner.gifThis site, precision.agwired.com, was recently recognized by its peers by bringing home a second place award from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) 2007 MarComm Awards program in Louisville, Ky. John Deere representatives accepted the award at the Tuesday night “Awards Night.”

Remember to visit the site on a regular basis for the latest information on precision farming.

For more information, you can also visit the John Deere Web site.

General

WAAS Satellite Changeover Tomorrow – Are You Ready?

Melissa Sandfort

Tomorrow, July 31, two satellites in the Wide Area Augmentation System constellation will be shut down by the government. The two satellites that have taken their place have been active and working for some time now, but the shutdown will have an impact on the differential correction accuracy of certain GPS receivers.

The two satellites, numbers 122 and 134, are scheduled to be shut off permanently at around 8:00 am EST. Many GPS receivers currently in service were configured specifically to lock into signals from those specific satellites, and must be reconfigured by the manufacturer. In the field, these units will not be able to achieve differential correction.

Some units manufactured by Midwest Technologies/TeeJet, Raven Industries, Trimble, and Hemisphere GPS are among those affected. For more information, click here.

General

Growers Set the Record Straight

Melissa Sandfort

Welcome back for more information from the American Soybean Association (ASA) and John Deere “Reach for the Stars” summer grower meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa, on July 20th at Scott Community College.

During the morning presentation, three of the Reach for the Stars winners offered experiences and observations they’ve had while using John Deere precision ag systems on their own farms. They were: David Oberbroeckling, Davenport, Iowa, Chris Von Holten, Walnut, Ill., and Curtis Claeys, Delmar, Iowa.

rfts-panel.JPG

“We jumped in with both feet. We put the system on our 7120 Magnum sprayer tractor, then over to our MX for anhydrous, then back to the sprayer tractor, then to the New Holland for planting. We then did some side dress nitrogen strip tests and put it back into the sprayer tractor. We were moving that steering wheel a lot and it works on any color,” said Oberbroeckling. “We had good luck with it, and our AMS consultant (Vern Beninga with Elder Equipment Company) was a big help. I called him a lot, but that’s what he was there for. I think the real value in the whole program is the mapping, documentation and information because if you need to go back to it, it’s all right there. With all the rules coming down, this is going to be important.”

“We put it into the 4230 sprayer tractor, in the New Holland for some custom seeding work on alfalfa ground, then into the combine for wheat,” said Von Holten. “It’s great to see the maps as you’re going through the field and the moisture reports are really accurate. We’ll use it this fall when we strip till for increased accuracy.”

dsc00334.JPG“We used the system for some primary tillage, spraying and fertilizing pastures and applying anhydrous. That is, in my mind, where you can make the most money with the system: anhydrous and spraying,” said Claeys. “We also used it for planting and mapping. We had it in three tractors, from a 4230 to an 8110. Moving the steering wheel is only about 20 minutes and we’re looking forward to using it in the combine this fall. We too had great support from our dealer. There are a lot of things that you just don’t realize the system can do.”

Visit the John Deere Web site for more information about the GreenStar™ 2 system.

Reach for the Stars

UK Shows New Way to Spray

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision agriculture was in the spotlight last week at a University of Kentucky College of Agriculture field day.

This article from the Louisville Courier-Journal goes into some detail about how precision technology is helping farmers to save money on herbicide applications. Here’s an excerpt:

The historically inexact science of applying herbicides to crop fields is getting more precise and less expensive as recent technology allows individual nozzles on sprayers to be activated and shut off by computer.

UK AgScott Shearer, a University of Kentucky biosystems and agricultural engineering professor, demonstrated nozzle controls last week that use global-positioning system information to eliminate overlaps as sprayers with 90-foot-wide booms pass through Kentucky’s often oddly shaped fields.

While most existing boom controls shut off sections of the sprayer, the technology being promoted by UK allows individual nozzles to be turned on and off.

“We don’t have the perfect rectangular-shaped fields like they have up in the Midwest,” said Bowling Green farmer Joe Duncan, who watched a demonstration during the College of Agriculture’s Field Day on Thursday. “We’ve got so many point rows, you know, odd-shaped fields, that a lot of times, especially these herbicides … can be damaging to crops at high levels.”

Read the rest of the story here
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In the photo, Joe Duncan watches a demonstration of individual sprayer controls during the field day. (Photo by Gregory A. Hall, The Courier-Journal)

Equipment, Events, General

Precision Ag Consulting

Cindy Zimmerman

BurgessPrecision ag management is a consulting specialty for some, like Nicky Burgess of Fullen Land and Management Partners in Ripley, Tennessee.

“My main job is data management and anything else that goes with precision ag,” says Burgess. “From hooking up a piece of equipment on a sprayer to analyzing yield data, all the way to managing the people and training them on how to run the equipment.”

Burgess says their operation includes about 8-9,000 acres of mostly cotton, but also corn, soybeans and wheat in rotation. “Precision agriculture as a whole allows us as a farm to manage that large a scale of acreage spread over 200 miles,” he says. “It allows us to act like a small farmer out there everyday, on the tractor, in the field.”

The main tools Burgess says they use are auto-steer, variable rate control on sprayers and other application equipment, and record-keeping software.

Chuck Zimmerman interviewed with Nicky at the recent InfoAg conference as he stopped by the John Deere booth: Listen to MP3 Burgess Interview (5:30 min mp3)

Audio, Displays, Education, General, Satellite

Precision Soil Sampling

Cindy Zimmerman

Tom McGrawPrecision soil sampling has come a long way, according to Tom McGraw of Midwest Independent Soil Samplers, pictured here at the recent InfoAg conference with John Deere’s Jeff Kaiser.

“Precision sampling isn’t all that new. 1929, Purdue University started grid sampling,” says McGraw. “We’ve done millions of acres of grid sampling by now.”

He says that using imagery to detect changes in nitrogen levels has improved over time. “I’ve leaned out the side of an airplane with a 35mm camera years ago,” he said. “There’s been a struggle for 20 years to find out how do we use imagery.”

McGraw is impressed with the John Deere Agri Service OptiGro product. “The stuff just popped my eyes, you can just see a ton of stuff out there,” he said. “From the nitrogen management standpoint, my hair is white because I have been trying to manage nitrogen my whole career! Now there’s a system with imagery that you can see where the crop is in terms of nitrogen needs. And with $4 corn you better be darn sure you got out there what that crop needs.”

Listen to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Tom here: Listen to MP3 McGraw (3:20 min mp3)

Audio, General, Satellite, Software