CruiserMaxx Beans Win No-Till Product of the Year

cruisermaxxOur friends at Syngenta have been honored with a product that cuts down on the amount of tillage producers have to do. Their CruiserMaxx® Beans insecticide/fungicide seed treatment won No-Till Product of the Year for 2013 at last month’s 22nd annual National No-Tillage Conference in Springfield, Ill.

“We are honored to have CruiserMaxx Beans recognized as the seed treatment No-Till Product of the Year,” said Wouter Berkhout, Seedcare product lead at Syngenta. “Recognition from these farmers speaks volumes about the early-season pest protection and results that CruiserMaxx Beans consistently provides to soybeans.”

Paid subscribers and readers of No-Till Farmer’s Conservation Tillage Guide selected CruiserMaxx Beans for this award. Many of these voters are farmers who have firsthand experience with the nominated products. Matt Rausch from Winamac, Indiana is one such farmer.

“We do a lot of no-till soybeans following corn, and I think we get a lot of early-season protection from pests with CruiserMaxx Beans,” said Rausch. “We also see a lot better stands. There are definitely a lot more soybeans, and they are better-looking compared to areas that are untreated.”

Syngenta officials went on to say that this honor is just another example of their “commitment to provide seed treatments that will enable soybeans to start strong and ultimately allow farmers to grow more soybeans.”

Superior Grain Bins Guaranteed in Wind & Snow

Superior_Binsite1Headquartered in North Dakota, the folks at Superior Manufacturing sure know something about grain bins able to stand up to the rigors of wind and snow. They let us know a little bit about some of their capabilities that include bins ranging from 1,850 to more than 1 million bushels, all backed with the industry’s only lifetime warranty.

While the most common causes of bin damage are high winds and heavy snow, Superior builds its roofs to withstand wind gusts of up to 90 mph and 37-pound snow loads per square foot. Roof features include 31Ž2-inch-deep rigidized roof ribs that are secured together by wind rings in a single resilient unit. Individual pipe pieces come together and further fasten the roof and its wind rings by clamping a locking bracket at every roof rib. These brackets give added security and durability because they eliminate the twisting and displacement common with expansion bolts.

Superior’s roof sheets run from the sidewall sheets to the top peak ring to keep the entire roof in one unit, rather than an apron design, which leaves weak points in the roof. Further, roof panels are bolted to the sidewall sheets in four locations to ensure there are no weak points. These bolts provide security and reinforcement at crucial structural points of the bin.

Superior also offers the largest vent size in the industry. The 20-by-20-inch vents increase airflow and reduce condensation to allow grain to dry faster. The vents are punched out of the steel, which prevents moisture from leaking into the bin. Unlike others that use metal vents that can rust, Superior uses poly vents, which are better suited to outdoor conditions.

Superior forms its Herculok® floors without removing steel. The end product is a floor that is 12 percent heavier and twice as strong as competitors’ bins. The bins come with deep rib floor supports that have proven to be four times stronger than the supports in competitive brands.

Superior bins come standard with plenty of more features that could be just perfect for your operation. Check out their entire line enhanced for safety and performance at

Vilsack to Address Commodity Classic

vilsackccThe growers of the Nation’s biggest crops will once again host the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for their biggest meeting of the year. For the fifth time in a row, Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address to Commodity Classic, the annual convention and trade show for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers. This news releases says Vilsack speaks to an expected crowd of more than 6,000 during the event’s General Session on Friday, Feb. 28, in San Antonio, Texas.

“We are honored to welcome Secretary Vilsack-someone who has been a strong advocate and voice for agriculture-to a conference that is both focused on and led by farmers,” said American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser. “As we face many challenges in this industry throughout this next year- trade agreements and access, conservation and water quality, moving the RFS forward and access to innovative technology-we are excited to hear the secretary speak on these issues and other important topics that impact farmers who grow the nation’s food.”

“Secretary Vilsack has done a lot to support our growers, and to encourage all farmers to speak out and represent their industry at a time when the general public is more removed than ever from the farms that feed them,” said National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre. “We’re looking forward to his visit to Commodity Classic so he can speak with our growers and learn more about our great efforts to rebuild consumer trust in what we do.”

The 19th annual Commodity Classic is Feb. 27-March 1, 2014, along the banks of the famous River Walk at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Tex. Your ZimmComm New Media team will be there, including myself, bringing you the latest from this annual meeting of the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers, America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show.

Check out the 2014 Commodity Classic website for additional information.

MapShots Review: Happy Customers & Good Ideas

mapshots-14-tim-taylor-reviewWrapping up our coverage of the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., where customers got the chance to see of John Deere and MapShots’ AgStudio software, which provides crop management applications for the agriculture industry. Looking back on the time filled with presentations and question-and-answer sessions, Tim Taylor with MapShots said he was excited by the number of attendees.

“The interaction and the chance to meet not only new customers, but some of our older existing customers,” he said. He was glad to show off the new features in AgStudio and how it applies to attendees’ own businesses. Plus, he was really pleased by the customers’ reaction to all of the partner companies they had come to the gathering.

Another feature of this conference was how well education flowed in both directions. And Tim said he got lots of feedback from the folks who attended.

“We always get a lot of feedback,” Tim chuckled. “There’s nothing like standing up in front of a group, teaching how to use the software to expose some weaknesses. We think highly of our customer base, and we always leave here with good ideas. Their input goes to improving the software.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Taylor, MapShots

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

Easy Integration with MapShots & AgIntegrated

When it comes to choosing how to do things, people will pick easy, right?

mapshots-14-mike-santostefano“They want it to be a simple as possible, like an Easy Button,” said Mike Santostefano, independent ag consulting company AgIntegrated‘s director of marketing and business development. While he was talking about his own company’s Onsite Ecosystem, a cloud-based, mobile and desktop app that assists with file management and communications to and from the field, he could have been as easily talking about the way Onsite has integrated with MapShots’ AgStudio software. “With the Onsite Ecosystem, we’re able to move files into the MapShots AgStudio product and have it be auto-processed right when it goes in there because it knows which grower it is.”

During the AgIntegrated presentation at the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga. (Mike is shown in the picture watching AgIntegrated colleague Bretton Beard, Onsite Product Manager, do the presentation), they talked about how they’ve been able to integrate AgStudio into what they’re offering to producers, making it as easy as possible for the users.

“[They want to be able] to grab the file that may be in the equipment on a USB or compact flash drive and get it to AgStudio or get it to the cloud storage area as quickly as possible. And if you’re talking to a non-techie person, they need to have that easier, one-touch system [such as Onsite offers],” he said.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Santostefano, AgIntegrated

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

MapShots’ Customers Show the Love

mapshots-14-vulgamoresIn honor of Valentine’s Day, it seems appropriate to talk about some folks who are truly showing the love for a precision ag software provider. That certainly has been the case as we’ve listened to many of the folks at the MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., who had nothing but great things to say about MapShots and its AgStudio software. That certainly was the case for brothers Brian and Myles Vulgamore, who farm and have a cattle operation around Scott City in West Central Kansas. They said they’ve been MapShots fans for more than a decade, not only using the old EasySuite software on their own farms, but also selling it to their Pioneer seed customers.

“We’re long-time MapShots customers,” said Brian, who went on to say how important MapShots has been as they’ve expanded operations over the last 10 years. And he’s really excited about the new AgStudio program. “AgStudio is the next generation of EasySuite, and in this last year, they’ve got a lot of the business features turned on with AgStudio. And that’s where the magic really happens.”

Both brothers were impressed with how MapShots brings together all of these production inputs from a variety of integrating companies and how well MapShots works with all of them. Another feature they really like in AgStudio is the ability to store data on the cloud.

“Anybody that’s willing to work and has a cloud-based system can eventually bring it in. It’s important that industry works together so it’s all out there, able to be accessed,” said Myles.

They concluded saying that the folks at MapShots understand farmers and what they want better than any other software company, making it a total solution.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Brian and Myles here: Interview with Brian and Myles Vulgamore

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

MapShots Integrates Irrigation into Precision Ag

mapshots-14-andrew-willisDuring the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., one of MapShots’ partners said sometimes it feels like irrigation gets left out of the equation for precision agriculture. But that’s why Andrew Willis with AgSense, a company specializing in remote management of pivots, is so glad they have partnered up with MapShots and the company’s AgStudio software.

“In the past, irrigation has been kind of neglected and left out of the precision ag world, and MapShots has been one that realized there’s some potential there and has really worked with us,” he told Chuck. Andrew added they are particularly happy with how MapShots is able to work with their main pivot product, Field Commander. Plus MapShots is able to give them information in their soil moisture and crop measuring products. “Anything you want to get from the field to a web server, we have a product to fit that application,” adding they are still developing all the particulars, but for now, the best way to get that information into AgStudio is by using AgSense’s WagNet, or Wireless Agriculture Network.

He said a customer conference like this one gives them a chance to hear some questions and consider some problems that might never have struck them before.

“A lot of forward thinkers here. You feel like you’re hitting everything, and then someone throws out a curveball, and [we say], ‘We didn’t even think of that!’”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Andrew here: Interview with Andrew Willis with AgSense

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

SatShot, MapShots Integrate for Better Imagery

mapshots-14-lanny-faleideAs we’ve talked about this week, integration was a key theme of the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., as the company brought in customers and the other precision agriculture providers used in its AgStudio software. Lanny Faleide, President/CEO of SatShot, a satellite and aerial imagery company, said MapShots uses the sophisticated images and the agricultural know-how that SatShots adds to those pictures.

“We take an ag perspective, understand the agronomy, reasons why an image will work in the precision ag market and for crop insurance diagnostics as well, and we’re able to put that agricultural flair to it,” he said. Lanny added MapShots is an integrator of their product. “A few years ago, we took the tact of wanting to do one thing really well: distributing the data. We integrate with these farm softwares, and they do the more intense precision ag techniques, and we provide that data automatically [that has that agricultural flair].”

Lanny also talked about how SatShot provides the information in the image, such the biomass or quality of the vegetation. Then, using the MapShots AgStudio software, a producer is able to come up with a prescription and plug that into their hardware out in the field to make sure the right amount of seed, fertilizer, and/or pesticides and herbicides are applied at the right place at the right time. In the future, he said SatShot will scale up its automatic notification system when new imagery is available, as well as working with new satellite companies that will take the imagery technology to the next level

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Lanny here: Interview with Lanny Faleide, President/CEO of SatShot

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

Geovantage Has Birds-Eye View of MapShots Info

Another one of the integrating partners with MapShots’ AgStudio software that showed and explained their product at the MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., was aerial imagery specialists Geovantage.

mapshots-14-nick-morrow“[We] offer an aerial imagery solution for agriculture in a rapid response format, providing you with what you want, where you want it, and when you want it,” explained Nick Morrow, Geovantage company operations manager, adding that MapShots’ customers can now receive high-resolution images of their field through AgStudio, which is why he’s at the MapShots conference.

He went on to say he wanted to present use cases so producers can see the potential of the information gathered by Geovantage and shared through AgStudio. Nick also said he expects the partnership with MapShots to grow both companies.

“The integration with the third party applications is what’s really going to change things. Now you actually use the data in the application,” he said, adding that Mapshots’ integration with Geovantage was something that came by popular demand. “Many of our customers use MapShots. They’ve been asking us for years to get the imagery in there faster, and now we should have a very seamless, push-button order.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Nick here: Interview with Nick Morrow, Geovantage

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

MapShots, Raven Work Together for Proof of Success

mapshots-14-josh-skanderupProving you’re successful sometimes can be tougher than actually being successful. You might have applied some new precision ag techniques or equipment, but how do you know that was the reason for success? During the recent MapShots Customer Conference, Chuck caught up with one of the company’s partners in MapShots’ AgStudio software, which provides crop management applications for the agriculture industry. Josh Skanderup, Raven’s product manager for its Slingshot application, which brings connectivity to field equipment, said there’s something important to remember when marrying up all these technologies with the point where the rubber meets the road … or in this case, the dirt.

“What we really have to pay attention to is, can you measure if they’ve been successful or not?” he said, adding you need not only accurate planting and applications data throughout the year, but you have to “ground truth” that with your yield results. “For this upcoming year, we need to really pay attention to if we can actually prove what we’re doing makes a difference.”

Josh said Raven has admired MapShots for years, as witnessed by the fact he was at the conference talking about how they’re integrating Raven’s products with MapShots.

“One of the great things about MapShots is how customer friendly and easy to use it is,” saying they’re excited about the start of their collaboration with their API and the transfer of their prescription maps.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Josh here: Interview with Josh Skanderup, Raven

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

MapShots Provides Knowledge, Info and Direction

mapshots-14-phil-howardAt the recent MapShots Customer Conference, those who use MapShots’ AgStudio software, which provides crop management applications for the agriculture industry, had a variety of reasons for attending.

“Knowledge, information and where we will be going in the future,” is what brought MapShots customer Phil Howard, Southern States Cooperative‘s head of precision ag planning, to the recent conference in Atlanta, Ga. Plus, he said it is a great opportunity to network with other MapShots users. He went on to point out that his company had offered MapShots EasySuite program for years, and he likes the of ease of AgStudio’s information sharing. “We operate in a 14-state territory. AgStudio gave us the capability to join all of our databases into one database, where we can manage them and provide service to our locations to provide the maximum service to our growers.”

Phil added that they are really excited about the ability to share data wirelessly, and he’s always been impressed with MapShots’ family-like atmosphere. But he says the company’s dedication to collaborating and facilitating collaboration between its customers brings him back to gatherings like this one.

“That has been what has made Southern States want to continue to provide services in ag technologies and precision ag because of how open MapShots is.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Phil here: Interview with Phil Howard, Southern States Cooperative

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

USDA Updates CropScape Data Tool

cropscapeBetter information on cropland will be at the fingertips of farmers across the country, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated its online geospatial exploring tool, CropScape. This National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) news release says CropScape has added Cropland Data Layers from crop year 2013 that gives the public an easy access to interactive data, without having to download specialized software.

These new Cropland Data Layer products, which are derived from satellite image observations at 30-meter (0.22 acres per pixel) resolution, help users visualize U. S. crop planted area during the last calendar year. Three earth observing satellites were used for the production of this product, including; the newly launched Landsat 8, and Disaster Monitoring Constellation’s Deimos-1 and UK2.

NASS developed CropScape in cooperation with the Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

You can check out the online tool here.

John Deere, MapShots Work for Product Integration

mapshots-14-brian-holtMaking sure your high-tech equipment works with the high-tech software is pretty important in the world of precision agriculture. At the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., customers of John Deere and MapShots’ AgStudio software, which provides crop management applications for the agriculture industry got the chance to ask questions directly how they can make that John Deere green hardware fit well with the new software.

“We wanted to support MapShots’ and their demo of their intergration with My John Deere Data API and answer any questions [MapShots'] customers have about how My John Deere and our data sharing agreements works,” explained Deere’s Technology Solutions Architect Brian Holt.

The whole idea of having Deere attend this customer conference grew out of an earlier integrators’ conference John Deere held.

Brian added that data privacy is very important to the folks he talked with at this gathering, as it is with MapShots and John Deere.

“We take it very seriously. We work pretty closely with our software partners so that they understand what our guiding principles are and that they’re responsible using our shared customers’ data,” he said.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Brian here: Interview with Brian Holt, John Deere

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

Customer Support Top Priority for MapShots

mapshots-14-shauna-ingramIt seems like really good customer service is a rare find these days. But at the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., that’s exactly the focus of the company that makes crop management applications for the agriculture industry. Chuck caught up with Shauna Ingram, MapShots’ head of support, documentation and testing teams, who said customer support is their top priority.

“We have a phone system open about 11 hours a day, and an email system that runs 24/7,” and they’re always watching out for issues that could come up on the weekends as well to keep producers running. And she added they make sure that farmer gets an answer when they call. “Instead of taking messages, we run it up the support tier as fast as possible so that if our first-tier support is not able to answer the question, we get it to the appropriate person as quickly as possible and minimize callbacks to our users.”

Hopefully, a producer gets the answer in the training classes before they ever hit the field and encounter an issue. But in addition to the training and the customer hotline and email, Shauna said they have a public forum on their MapShots website where other producers are able to chime in and help each other out. In addition, MapShots’ AgStudio software even can, with the user’s permission, allow a technician to go into that producer’s databases and see where any disconnect might be. In the future, Shauna said they are looking to put together webinars to allow farmers to sit down at their home computers and learn more.

Another thing noticeable at the MapShots Customer Conference was how knowledgeable all employees are about the other areas of the company that might not be their primary responsibility.

“We enjoy actually wearing multiple hats so that we can all be a part of all the different facets of the company, and it makes us that much more knowledgeable for our customers,” Shauna concluded.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Shauna here: Interview with Shauna Ingram

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

Mosaic Sponsors World Conservation Ag Conference

wcca1The Mosaic Company is joining several other agribusiness giants, including Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Seed Hawk, Inc., as a platinum sponsor of this summer’s 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture (WCCA). The conference runs June 22-25, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“At Mosaic, we work hard to help farmers sustainably produce more food per acre,” said Rick McLellan, Mosaic Senior Vice President – Commercial. “Mosaic supports the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture because of our shared commitment to advancing modern agriculture techniques and careful resource management.”

WCCA will provide an opportunity for more than 600 people from around the world to meet on conservation issues. During the conference, attendees will talk to leaders in conservation agriculture, network with peers from around the world, engage in policy discussion and learn about the latest research. The conference is hosted by CASA, a network of conservation agriculture organizations across North America, with the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) coordinating the Congress planning committees.

Organizers say the program will revolve around three themes of conservation agriculture:

Sustainable Intensification: Conservation agriculture (CA) allows producers to intensify cropping systems to increase production sustainably without undue expansion in land area devoted to agriculture.

Climate change: A well-designed CA system contains a diversity of crop types and healthy soils that give producers more options for adjusting to changes in rainfall patterns or growing-season temperatures while also contributing to climate change mitigation.

Innovative Adoption: The best teacher of interconnected farming practices is someone who has successfully mastered them. Innovative CA practitioners, researchers and service providers will share their experience and knowledge.

More information is available here.