Mobile precision technology continues to evolve. iCropTrak just announced the release of Rapid Scouting Enhancements in Version 4.1 of their award-winning iOS Mobile Farm Management app iCropTrak. This comprehensive update for farmers and scouting professionals offers Rapid Observation and Action Item “one-tap” data entry aimed at easier, faster and more efficient use of your time in the field. The image is an example of Rapid Entry Observations.
In addition to Rapid Scouting enhancements like Rapid Observation and Action Items, the new iCropTrak includes a series of augmented map functions to make field understanding fast and easy.
Map Annotations to provide additional map reference data.
Work Order Status Annotations to provide where and what quickly.
Follow Me Upgrade to keep you on the map at any speed.
Map Sketch to allow you to draw on the map and save results for reports.
Recent Forms puts field history in chronological order.
Version 4.1 includes the first mobile parts of the upcoming MyJohnDeere.com integration: On-demand data downloading. On-Demand let’s you download only the data you need for the time you need it, then remove it from your iPad when done to have space for other efforts. At multiple gigabytes per field for planting, as-applied, and harvest data, On-Demand provides users control over their data and provides the first peek at the new user definable statistical legends that colorize the data on the fly based on its attributes.
Aaron Hutchinson, Cogent3D President shared the company’s excitement regarding this release stating: “The One Tap Observation capability to mark weeds, pests, and diseases is a labor break-thru in a market where every click is money. ”
Thanks to FMC I attended my first Mid-South Farm & Gin Show and met Tim Price. He’s show manager and Executive Director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. Tim is very passionate about agriculture and his community. You will hear that in our interview at the start of this year’s show. And for those of you who do not know what a cotton gin is, you will after you listen in.
Tim says that over the two days of the show there will be nearly 20,000 people attend and that it is a family affair. I vouch for that. This is a real down to earth farm show with a relaxed atmosphere and with 400 exhibitors there is a lot to see and learn. I’m going to get a wrap-up interview with Tim before leaving the show which I’ll share later. In the meantime, please listen in and I hope you enjoy our conversation.
You can listen to my interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Price
2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album
FMC was talking with farmers about the new season during the 2014 National Farm Machinery Show. The announcement last December that their Anthem herbicide is now registered for soybeans adds some nice flexibility for weed control.
FMC’s Nick Hustedde told me, “The Anthem registration in soybeans is really going to help allow growers to be flexible because it can be applied in corn or soybeans so we have that flexibility in one tank with no clean out concerns at all.”
FMC Agricultural Solutions announces a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) crop registration of its Anthem® SE herbicide now for use on soybeans. Anthem herbicide offers both corn and soybean growers control of broadleaf weeds and grasses with flexible application timing up to 45 days preplant, preemergence and early postemergence.
You can listen to my interview with Nick here: Interview with Nick Hustedde
National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album
We’re boots on the ground in Louisville, KY for the 2014 National Farm Machinery Show. There are a number of new product announcements that will be made here and we’ll bring you all the stories we can find starting tomorrow morning.
If you’re here or even if you’re not you can get the free app for whatever device you’re using. Just search your app store for the “NFMS 14″ app. It’s got an interactive exhibitor map, schedules and will provide alerts of events that are happening during the show.
There is snow on the ground outside but fortunately it fell before the event this year! That’s good news.
Our coverage here on Precision Pays is being sponsored again this year by John Deere and Ag Leader Technology. We really appreciate their support.
Last week at the MapShots Customer Conference I had that pleasure to visit with founder Ted Macy. MapShots, Inc., is a software development company that provides crop management applications for the agriculture industry and is now a subsidiary of Dupont Pioneer. Their AgStudio software provides clients with powerful, yet easy to use tools for managing large amounts of agronomic crop production data.
Ted says he and his wife Nancy started the company “a long time ago.” He says a milestone moment was the introduction of the Ag Leader Technology yield monitor back in 1993. That provided them with a vision of what the software would look like to be able to work with “iron of any color.”
AgStudio was the main topic of many of the presentations at the conference. Ted says they built the product from the ground up to be a total crop record keeping solution. It is now a very comprehensive product that is being integrated into all aspects of managing a farming operation. MapShots brought in representatives from many partner companies to talk about their services and how they are working to integrate them into AgStudio.
You can listen to my weekly ZimmCast podcast program to learn more about MapShots here. MapShots and AgStudio
The MapShots Customer Conference is almost over in Atlanta, GA. I thought you might enjoy this interview with official AgNerd, Keith Baker, Baker Ag Services, a Dupont Pioneer seed agency in Indiana.
Keith saw me wearing my ZimmGlass and that started an enjoyable conversation about the new technology I’ve been trying out as a member of the Google Explorers program. He and his sons try to stay no the cutting edge of new technology. He says he came to this conference to learn about the newest products like MapShots AgStudio. Like at a lot of conferences he’s enjoying the networking with fellow agnerds to share ideas and information.
You can listen to my interview with Keith here: Interview with Keith Baker
2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album
It’s Customer Conference time for MapShots at the Georgia Tech Learning Center in Atlanta. This event brings in MapShots customers as well as third party partners for an intensive couple of days of training sessions and presentations. Today’s pre-conference program includes two sessions:
Getting Started with AgStudio – this session is designed to enhance new users’ experiences with AgStudio and AgStudio Select.
Building Variable Rate Calculators and Scripts – for more advanced users, this session guides you through customizing calculators and scripts to meet your specific needs. Emphasis will be on fertility scripts, but seeding scripts will also be addressed.
To get a preview of the conference I visited with MapShots Tim Taylor, seen conducting one of this afternoon’s sessions. He says the company just wrapped up their largest sales year ever and this conference provides their customers to get up to speed on products like AgStudio.
You can listen to my interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Taylor
You can find my photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album
Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Could drones (UAV’s) serve a purpose on your operation?”
Well over half of the voters this week said that drones could in fact serve a purpose on their operation. Price is still a factor and may be the reason that some operations would not use them yet. We’re going to see a lot more about this new technology since predictions have been made that eighty percent of the multi-million dollar market will be for agricultural use. Are you ready to get your drone on?
Our poll results:
- Yes, if affordable – 50%
- No – 18%
- Yes, at any price – 14%
- No, worried about privacy – 14%
- What are they? – 5%
Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s best in the new farm bill?”
The Senate finally passed its version of a conference bill Jan. 29, and now the farm bill goes to President Obama’s desk. As you can read on Senator Debbie Stabenow’s website: “This isn’t your father’s Farm Bill. It is a bill for our future that grows our agriculture economy, helps provide greater access to healthy Michigan-grown foods, preserves our land and water, and cuts unnecessary spending. The Farm Bill is a rare example of a major bipartisan jobs bill and a bipartisan deficit reduction bill,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. Have you had the chance to review the new bill? Let us know what you think is the best part.
If you’ve thought we need more precise weather information there you’re not alone. Dupont Pioneer and DTN/The Progressive Farmer announced a collaboration today that will address this very subject. The project will not only bring instant weather to customers but also market information and new electronic grain trading capabilities. I just spoke with Dan Uppena, DuPont Pioneer business manager, about the announcement. Dan says there will be more details about the new platform coming out via new announcements in the very near future.
Pioneer customers will be able to opt into an exclusive network of weather stations, including those positioned on growers’ farms, which provide accurate, real-time local information as well as environmental conditions in other regions. Data will seamlessly inform growers about forecasts and Pioneer crop models to help them make more informed management decisions for their farming operation. In addition, customers will have access to DTN/The Progressive Farmer’s syndicated premium weather and market content to further aid decision-making.
“At DTN/The Progressive Farmer, our mission has always been to provide the most accurate, timely and actionable information possible to our customers,” said DTN/The Progressive Farmer Vice President of Agriculture Matt Bradford. “We are excited by the opportunity to work with Pioneer to further that mission by rapidly developing a dense network of on-farm DTN/The Progressive Farmer Weather Stations, along with sophisticated decision tools, to increase operational efficiencies and maximize grower profits.”
Pioneer and DTN/The Progressive Farmer also will work together throughout 2014 and beyond to further advance electronic grain trading capabilities that link buyers with sellers for instantaneous commercial exchanges. The tool works in real time to keep users up-to-the-minute with the highs and lows of today’s rapidly changing grain market. The benefits include targeted price matches, 24/7 price monitoring, electronic hedging and mobile information on offers and market news with the convenience of trading anytime anywhere. This effort will combine the cutting-edge technologies developed by DTN/The Progressive Farmer and Farms Technology, a subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer.
You can listen to this week’s program to learn more about the collaboration here in my weekly podcast. Dupont Pioneer - DTN Collaboration
Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.
Okay agnerds, how about a little wearable tech for use out in the field? It’s Glass from Google. I call mine ZimmGlass.
This paste weekend I carried along my new ZimmGlass while doing some deer hunting to continue learning how to use it and thinking about ways to incorporate into my agriblogging work flow. Here’s my Glass being recharged with a Monsanto Ground Breakers mobile charger. I have noticed that the Glass battery doesn’t last as long as I’m used to with my phone. That’s why these mobile chargers come in so handy.
Earlier in the day I shot a video clip with my “ZimmGlass” as a test. It presents some issues like the need to keep your head still since it is not on a tripod and it’s so easy to move your head around without thinking.
If you could get out in the field with what is basically a computer on your face what could you do with that? It takes photos, shoots video, allows you to stream video live, lookup information via Google and more. Does it sound like something that could help you do field scouting? Remember, it let’s you be hands free!
In this new year there is no doubt we’ll see many new mobile precision applications and the device you choose to work with it will be important. I thought I’d share some thoughts on two that I’m currently using.
The photo is my Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (left) and Apple iPhone 5S, both running the AgWired App I hope you have on your phone. I’m Verizon on the S4 Mini and AT&T on the iPhone. I’ve got hotspot plans for both in the hopes that I will almost always be able to connect to the internet via my computer or tablet (iPad Air). I also wanted to have the opportunity to learn both mobile platforms. The Mini is running Android 4.2.2 known as Jelly Bean and the iPhone is running iOS 7.0.4.
I’ve been carrying a Samsung Galaxy Note II. That is for sale now. Why? Because a phablet doesn’t fit my one-handed phone lifestyle. I want to be able to text with one hand for example and the Note is just too big. I definitely didn’t need or use the stylus. When I first got it I thought I’d like the extra screen space but quickly found out that wasn’t the case.
Of the two phones that are the subject of this post, the iPhone is my favorite. Two of the biggest reasons are that the iPhone camera takes better photos and the apps are more intuitive and user friendly. That’s my experience and both are important to me. I take a lot of phone photos, many of which appear on AgWired and my social media accounts. Another reason is that the 5S processor (A7) is fast, way faster than my iPhone 5 which Cindy is now carrying. Everything runs faster. When I turn it on it connects to the network faster, apps like Mail run faster. And faster is better in today’s world.
I think that outside of these reasons I would be happy with either device. At this point the Google Play store has a version of almost all the iTunes Store apps I use the most. I’ve been able to set both devices up to be nearly identical from this standpoint. This allows me to use an app I’m familiar with on both for times when I only have one or the other on me or am only in an area with service for one or the other.
A newly released study on precision agriculture by Lux Research shows how cost-effective these new technologies are. Here’s some information from their release.
Precision agriculture is a quantified approach to cultivation that employs sensing, input modulation, and data analytics to enhance the efficiency of agriculture and increased crop yields. While individual tools are not typically cost-effective, and often not relevant for small farms, combining these technologies into integrated solutions for large farms leads to gains – cost savings plus revenue increases – of up to $66.50 per acre for U.S. winter wheat, according to Lux Research.
In the Lux Research study, the best-case scenario assumed wireless-transmitting soil moisture sensors, combined with weather forecasting service and integrated decision support on farms of 5,000 acres. While savings from input costs averaged $24.5 per acre, output gains were $42.0 per acre.
“The key to effective precision agriculture is legitimate decision support, closing the loop from measurements, through recording and analysis, to seamlessly link on-farm conditions with actionable advice,” said Sara Olson, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Every Input Is an Opportunity: How Precision Agriculture Is Redefining the Business of Cultivation.”
Like a story out of the future, except that it is now, comes The ZimmGlass Project. At least that’s what I’m calling it for now. What is it? We’re going to find out together over a period of time in which I experiment with Google Glass! Glass is basically a computer you wear on your face but that’s just just the short description. With its functionalities it is much more and that’s what I’ll be experimenting with.
I am one of the newest members of the Glass Explorers Program. Like Bruce Rasa, I want to find ways that this gamer changer technology can be incorporated into agricultural applications that will improve efficiencies and help farmer and company bottom lines. I’m looking for companies that may want to work on a test project that would include using Glass as part of an existing application or to develop a new one. You can be sure I’ll find a way to incorporate the device into online agricultural and social media.
This will serve as the first in a series of posts on my use of Glass and I welcome feedback and ideas you may have.
If you’d like to see the unboxing photos you can find them here: ZimmGlass Project – The Unboxing Photos
Hey farmers. The NRCS and FAO are urging you to adopt soil conservation practices like no-till on this World Soil Day.
Here’s a message from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service on how important healthy soil is and how using conservation practices like no-till can help farmers take better care of their land.
When soil is heavily tilled, the stalks from the previous crop are chopped, and the top several inches of soil structure are disturbed. Conventional thought suggests this fluffing action allows for better seed placement, but Ray Archuleta, NRCS conservation agronomist, said that no-till systems, especially when combined with cover crops, are better – and lead to healthier, more drought-resistant soil.
Archuleta, who works at the agency’s East National Technology Center in Greensboro, N.C., said no-till has significant financial benefits for producers, too.
“No-tillage can save thousands of dollars every year in fuel, labor and equipment maintenance,” Archuleta said. “The key is to let the soil organisms do the work.”
Here’s a message from the FAO and the Global Soil Partnership.
There’s a new farming “game” coming to a Playstation or Xbox near you just in time for your holiday shopping.
Farming Simulator invites you to the fun yet demanding world of a modern day farmer. Take on all the challenges of farming life, including animal husbandry (breed cows, chicken, and sheep), planting and harvesting crops, and managing the sales of your bounty! It’s up to you to create your own farm in a huge open world which includes an all-new American environment. As your career progresses, you will control over 100 farming vehicles and machines, faithfully recreated from the biggest names in the industry (Case IH, Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini, Grimme, etc.), with all new vehicles exclusive to Farming Simulator on consoles!
With an engaging experience, a large open world, and a huge fleet of vehicles, Farming Simulator invites you aboard the largest farming simulation ever created!
Farming Simulator will be available digitally and in stores on PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® on November 19, 2013.
Farming Simulator was released in Europe and Asia first with much success.