Introducing Corn and Wheat OptiGro to the Media

Cindy Zimmerman

OptiGro Press Conference There are about 100 agricultural reporters attending the 2007 Commodity Classic this week in Tampa who are busy writing, recording and photographing the events and products to bring back to those who are unable to attend. Many of those reporters were on hand Friday for the introduction of John Deere’s OptiGro System for corn and wheat growers.

John Mann, Vice President of Strategic Marketing for John Deere Agri-Services, told the press conference how the OptiGro system can help growers realize significant nitrogen savings at crucial times in the growing season. “It’s the ability to put the nutrients in the right place at the right time for the right cost,” he said.

OptiGro DemoThe way it works is digital aerial photographs are taken of a field and the information is relayed back to an agronomic adviser online. Special software (the OptiGro Zone Maker program) translates the images into management zones with similar plant characteristics, based on reflected light.

“The advisor then checks the zones and scouts the fields to determine crop needs and writes a prescription for each zone,” Mann says.

Reporters had lots of good questions for Mann. For instance, how is this system being delivered to growers? “We want to give growers the ability to work with the person they are most familiar with,” said Mann. That can be a local John Deere dealer, an agronomic advisor or a certified staff crop advisor. “The only thing that we ask is that there be some type of precision ag expertise in the loop,” Mann said.

As for price, Mann says it varies, but is “somewhere in the 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 an acre range.”

Find out more at John Deere AgriServices online.

Listen to Mann’s full press conference, including answers to questions from the reporters – although the questions were not audible so have been edited out. Listen to MP3 John Mann Press Conference (15 min mp3)

Commodity Classic, Education, Equipment, General, Media Room, Satellite, Software

Winning With Swath Control Pro for Planters

Cindy Zimmerman

Win 1 One of the WIN Sessions at the Commodity Classic on Friday was focused on John Deere’s Swath Control Pro for planters. The presentation, given by Kyle Collins with John Deere’s Ag Management Solutions, explained to the group how the Swath Control technology can allow for more use of seed to help growers improve planter performance for optimal plant emergence and potential yields.

Win 2“We introduced Swath Control Pro at Commodity Classic last year for sprayers,” said Collins. “It’s been getting a lot of excitement ever since. Growers just like how it’s saving them money.”

The same concept that Swath Control Pro uses with sprayers to turn boom sections on and off, based on GPS information using GreenStar 2 Rate Controller technology, will now be able to turn planter sections on and off to help growers minimize double planting in headland areas. Collins demonstrated what the system looks like with a side-by-side video showing the planter in the field and the layout of the field on the display monitor as it went through and automatically turned off over areas the grower did not want to have planted and then turning back on.

The system can be adapted to John Deere, Kinze and Deere-Bauer-built planters.

Swath Control Pro for planters will be tested on select farms throughout North America this season to be available for purchase in time for the 2008 planting season. Find out more here – Swath Control Pro.

Commodity Classic, Education, Equipment, General, Media Room, Satellite

Big Interest in Precision Ag at Classic

Cindy Zimmerman

AMS 1 The vast majority of corn, soybean and wheat farmers attending the 2007 Commodity Classic in Tampa this week are very interested in learning more about how precision agriculture tools can help them produce more efficiently.

A brand new first-of-its-kind national survey by the Precision Ag Institute indicates that farmers who have not yet adopted precision agriculture technology overwhelmingly cited start-up costs as their principle barrier to using the technology. A distant second was that the technology was “too complex.”

AMS 2With thousands of farmers checking out the exhibits and learning sessions at the Classic this year, the second reason is likely to become less of a barrier for growers. As for the first reason, research is beginning to show that not only does precision ag pay for itself, it’s actually helping growers to be more profitable in the long run. Between the research and growers networking with their peers around the country who have already adopted the technology, the industry is expecting a huge growth surge in precision ag use this year.

Commodity Classic, Displays, Equipment, General, Software

Making Risk Management Easier

Cindy Zimmerman

DD RP 1 Dennis Daggett, Senior Vice President of John Deere Risk Protection (JDRP) was a busy guy at the Commodity Classic trade show talking to growers about how new reports from Apex Farm Management software can help them capture important crop information and data to simplify the reporting process for crop insurance.

DD RP 2“John Deere Risk Protection is a new group to John Deere,” said Daggett. “We are offering multi-peril and crop hail insurance products, delivering crop insurance to the American farmer.”

By using Apex software to generate acreage and production reports growers can have accurate, detailed records on planting and seeding information, harvesting data including acreage, yield and moisture content literally at their fingertips.

“The equipment is gathering all the data, all they have to do is pull their cards and download the data and their reports are done,” Daggett said. “The data that is collected is accurate.”

Daggett says crop insurance allows a farmer to manage risk better and by using the latest technology to gather and store vital information into complete reports can ultimately enhance a producer’s revenue stream and protect against potential losses.

Find out more about John Deere Risk Protection in this interview with Dennis Daggett. Listen to MP3 Dennis Daggett (4 min mp3)

Audio, General, Software

OptiGro Grows into Corn and Wheat

Cindy Zimmerman

John Mann Corn and wheat growers visiting the 2007 Commodity Classic this week can find out about a new system that can help them optimize yields while improving use-efficiency of nitrogen and other inputs.

It’s called the OptiGro System, and according to John Mann, Vice President of Strategic Marketing for John Deere Agri-Services, it has already been used successfully by cotton growers.

“OptiGro is a system that we deployed a couple of years ago in the mid-South Delta in cotton,” Mann said. “It’s actually taking an image of the growing crop while it’s still growing and then being able to make adjustments to that growing crop in the same season.”

Research in seven states over the past four years has shown that corn plants indicate nitrogen needs throughout the growing stage and using the OptiGro system to indentify those needs in season could save growers up to $20 per acre in nitrogen costs.

“In the case of corn, it’s typically a nitrogen application made right before the crop goes in the reproductive stage,” says Mann. “In the case of wheat, what we’re kicking off is crops as they break dormancy putting on this at a variable rate, rather than spreading the whole field.”

Find out more about OptiGro at and
listen to an interview with John Mann here. Listen to MP3 John Mann (3 min mp3)

Audio, Education, Equipment, General, Software

Precision Really Does Pay

Cindy Zimmerman

Precision Ag InstituteAccording to a new technology adoption study, farmers say

More than eight out of ten soybean, corn, wheat and cotton growers who use precision technology on their farming operation say that this factor has increased their profitability, according to preliminary research findings from an effort conducted by dmrkynetec (formerly Doane Marketing Research, Inc.) in partnership with the newly inaugurated PrecisionAg Institute.

The study also found that the mean savings per acre across different cropping systems including corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, ranged from $5.29 per acre to $9.44 per acre – and the more precision technology a grower used, the greater profitability they reported.

These are preliminary results of the research study, which was compiled from hundreds of grower interviews during the past three months and is designed to create a comprehensive benchmark of precision technology adoption among row crop growers in the United States.

The research is now entering its final phase, which will feature focus groups designed to ground-truth key findings, as well as unearth more of the psychological barriers to precision adoption. The final results of the research will be released at the InfoAg Conference, July 10-12, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, IL.

More information about the PrecisionAg Institute can be found at

Education, General

AgriTalk at Commodity Classic

Cindy Zimmerman

John DeereAgriTalk was live here in Tampa, Florida on the first official day of the Commodity Classic interviewing a number of representatives.

Pictured here with AgriTalk host Mike Adams (right) from left to right are Kyle Collins, John Deere Ag Management Solutions; Bob Callanan, American Soybean Association; and Barry Nelson with John Deere. AgriTalk’s opening segment from Classic featured Barry and Bob announcing the winners of the “Reach for the Stars” contest; followed by Kyle talking about John Deere’s Swath Control Pro, which was introduced one year ago at last year’s Commodity Classic.

I also interviewed Kyle about Swath Control Pro – what it is and what comes next for growers. Listen to MP3 Kyle Collins (3 min mp3)

Audio, Commodity Classic, Equipment, General, Media Room

Reach for the Stars Winners Announced

Cindy Zimmerman

Fifteen lucky soybean growers from around the country will soon receive a premium-level precision ag system worth more than $20,000 to use on their operation for the 2007 growing season as the winners of the “Reach For The Stars” contest, a joint effort of the American Soybean Association and John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS). More than 400 growers registered for the contest and winners were selected through an independent process of grower experience and geographic diversity. The winners were announced today at the 2007 Commodity Classic in Tampa, Florida.

John DeereThe 15 winners are:

Neal Kuhn- Manilla, Indiana
Curtis Clayes- Delmar, Iowa
Peter Kramer- Gibbon, Minnesota
Ted Vinson- Fithian, Indiana
Chris Von Holten- Walnut, Illinois
David Oberbroeckling- Davenport, Iowa
Alan Meadows- Halls, Tennessee
Scott Chesnut- Boone, Iowa
Luke Smith- Rochester, Indiana
Todd Swanson- Wahoo, Nebraska
Roger Godwin- Pelham, Georgia
Ronald Tersteeg- Bird Island, Minnesota
Colin Dutenhoffer- Aberdeen, South Dakota
Dale Seyfred- Galien, Michigan
Nathan Wright- Harrisburg, Arkansas

John DeereThe contest prize package includes use of a GreenStarTM AutoTracTM Assisted Steering System with an AutoTrac Universal Steering Kit, a StarFireTM iTC receiver, and a John Deere SF2 signal activation; a GreenStarTM 2 System, which includes a GreenStar Display 2600 and preloaded GreenStar Basics software; and GreenStar Apex Farm Management Software. After the program ends, qualified participants will be offered an opportunity to purchase the entire system, or just the components they want to own, at a greatly reduced price.

John Deere AMS representative, Laura Robson talks about the program and the winners: Listen to MP3 Laura Robson (3 min mp3)

Audio, Commodity Classic, Equipment

Ready for the Show

Cindy Zimmerman

BoothThe John Deere booth is getting set up at the 2007 Commodity Classic, preparing for thousands of growers from around the country to visit.

The booth features all of the very latest John Deere precision equipment and plenty of company officials on hand to meet with growers and let them know how they can make their jobs faster, easier and more efficient.

Stay tuned for more from the show!

Commodity Classic, General