Aerial Precision Ag Helicopters

Aerial Precision AgHelicopters are just plain cool, especially if you can operate them by remote control. The Aerial Precision Ag booth at AG CONNECT Expo sold out of their new Multi Ready to Fly units! Using mini hand controlled helicopters for precision ag field imaging work got a lot of attention. These four rotor units were also being demonstrated right on the floor.

I visited with Halee Janes, Aerial Precison Ag, a sister company to Cirrus Rotors, to learn more about these new units they were demonstrating. In the video below you can watch Halee explaining the new units and a short demonstration of them.

Halee says the ag industry can really benefit from aerial imagery for things like checking storm damage, crop production, water damage and getting that information very quickly. The footage from the included camera is stored on an SD card which you would remove and plug in to your computer. The starter kits on sale at the show include everything a farmer needs in a box. Included are a Hero GoPro 3 camera with an SD card that holds about an hour of footage. She says you can quickly get an aerial look at 60 acres, as in just a few minutes. These units can withstand about a 10-15 mph wind, travel up to 2 miles and as high as 400 feet. The batteries included give you about 16 minutes of flight time with wind and heat being the main variables. The units are also pretty customizable as long as you consider the weight.

You can listen to my interview with Halee here: Interview with Halee Janes

Case IH Talks Info Management at AG CONNECT

agconnect-13-caseihInformation is power, but TOO MUCH information is, well, overwhelming. During the recent AG CONNECT Expo, our friends from Case IH sponsored a a morning networking breakfast on how to manage all the information farmers are faced with in precision agriculture.

“One of the things we find is this overabundance of information with data, and how do we control it, package it, bring it back down to a level that is simple to use, easy to store, easy to transfer, and how do we get a collaborative effort [between all parties],” said Trevor Mecham, Case IH AFS Marketing Manager. His company offers a variety of products to help manage that information more effectively on tools already in most people’s hands. “We want to be able to get from point A to point B in an efficient manner where our people are able to utilize it as easily as they use their cell phone today,” and do it seamlessly.

Trevor said the information you put in is only effective if you can get good information out of it, and he admits there can be a lot to manage out there. He believes the key is creating collaborations that produce good information, transfer it effectively while protecting proprietary information and deliver something usable. “This is really defining how we spell logic out of digital chaos. It really is a digi-cation, not an education.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Trevor here: Interview with Trevor Mecham

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

Claas’ Lexion 780 Shown at AG CONNECT

agconnect-13-claasFarmers this fall will see a new combine that sets itself apart from the competition in its efficiency. During the recent AG CONNECT, Chuck caught up with Claas product specialist Christopher Girodat, who talked about the improvements they’ve made in the company’s new Lexion 780 over the old 770 model.

“We have a new feeder house drive system, which allows you to have more horsepower going down to the actual feeder house to drive those bigger corn heads. We have a new dynamic cooling for our engine compartment cooling system, and we also have a new rear axle on this unit,” Christopher said.

Fuel efficiency is also a big feature, along with a more efficient Accelerated Pre-Separation (APS) threshing system combined with the ROTO PLUS separation system to increase grain retention.

The build schedule starts in a couple of months, so units will be available for this year’s fall harvest.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Christopher here: Interview with Christopher Girodat

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

Field Connect Brings High Tech to Moisture Monitoring

agconnect-13-jd-shaferWe’ve already heard about a couple of the more leading-edge technologies our friends at John Deere displayed at this year’s AG CONNECT, including their JDLink technology. Another product that caught attendees’ attentions was Field Connect, John Deere’s soil moisture monitoring tool.

“It’s pulling soil moisture information from your field, very specific to that location, and providing that to you to make decisions about how you want to manage that field moisture,” explained Nick Shafer, John Deere’s product manager for the company’s ISG group, focusing on Field Connect. The technology consists of three components with a sensing probe that gathers the information every 30 minutes, a gateway that collects and evaluates the information every two hours and a website where producers can collect the evaluated information. And since it operates on either a cell or satellite modem, there’s no worry about not getting a signal no matter where you are.

Nick said there’s also no worries about the security of the information, a hot topic at AG CONNECT. “We want to be transparent. The control of that data will be with the customer.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Nick here: Interview with Nick Shafer

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

Krone CEO Talks Latest Tech at AG CONNECT

agconnect-13-kroneThe recent AG CONNECT Expo can certainly be considered a success, especially if you talk to some of the exhibitors who attended.

“We have a group of customers coming into this show, who are coming into here for education, taking part in the 50 educational sessions, and almost every one of them have been booked out,” said Rusty Fowler, President/CEO of Krone NA, adding that every customer coming to his booth is a serious buyer looking to see how technology can help the operation. “And that’s what this show is all about, and it’s working.”

And Rusty said they’re making to sure to show these buyers Krone’s latest technology, including their 1100-horsepower BiG X forage harvester with a 12-row corn head. “This is the top of the line technology in forage harvesters, in fact, the largest one in the world. [You can fill] a 40-foot trailer with corn silage in about three and a half minutes.” Plus, it comes with all the newest bells and whistles, including telematics, remote diagnostics and plug-and-play GPS technology compatible with many GPS applications. Throw in some of Krone’s newest top-of-the-line balers, and Rusty said they have a whole showcase that fits perfectly with AG CONNECT.

Rusty said they’re already looking forward to the next AG CONNECT Expo in 2015. “I told the folks who manage this show that we’ll need more space in 2015. It’s the best show experience [our potential customers] have ever had.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Rusty here: Interview with Rusty Fowler

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

FieldScout GreenIndex+ App Picture Tells a Ton

agconnect-13-spectrumOne of the highlights of the recent AG CONNECT Expo are the AE50 Outstanding Innovations Gold Awards, honoring the “best of the best” displayed at the show. One of those awards went to Spectrum Technologies, Inc., for the company’s FieldScout GreenIndex+ App. The app looks at a smartphone picture of corn at the knee-high level and can make a recommendation on how much nitrogen should be applied, based on the color of the corn leaf. Mike Thurow, President/CEO of Spectrum, said they’re leveraging their knowledge of agriculture.

“Whether it’s row crop or biotech or in the areas of weather monitoring or nutrient or pest management or even soil moisture irrigation scheduling … we take that knowledge and develop some simple, affordable solutions to help these people do a better job of growing more consistent, quality crops,” he said.

Mike added the information gathered can be integrated into a number of systems and can be emailed back to your account at the office or home. And since there’s no stick or USB to pull and physically transfer… or get lost between the field and office… it takes out steps that the folks at Spectrum see as unnecessary.

“The day is already full of activities for a crop consultant, a farmer, and so if you can just make it simpler and streamline that process, then there’s a higher likelihood of success in adopting the technology, and more importantly, getting value out of it.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Thurow

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

JDLink Brings Telematics Solution to Users

agconnect-13-jd-bakreOur friends at John Deere made good use of their time at the premier show for technology, innovation and education, AG CONNECT Expo, showing off some of their latest equipment. Swarupa Bakre, Associate Brand Manager for John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group talked to Chuck about their JDLink technology, a telematics solution to communicate important information gathered by the equipment and send it back to the user.

“It captures all your machine health, field data, performance and any number of variables,” and transfers the data by cellular network to a website. Swarupa said that producers can then go to the website and look at what they need to know about their machines to make their operation more efficient. “They have a ton of information at their fingertips.”

Swarupa added the whole system helps to do things like simplifying and scheduling maintenance and even setting up anti-theft tools.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Swarupa here: Interview with Swarupa Bakre

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

New Name Coming for Soybean

agconnect-13-ms-techA new variety of soybeans will soon get a new name after making a debut at the recent AG CONNECT Expo. MS Technologies Brand Manager Lauren August says their FG72 soybeans, a collaboration with Bayer, will have their new name revealed at the upcoming Commodity Classic later this month. In the meantime, she can tell us about how the beans will address a problem that growers, especially in the South, face: herbicide-resistant weeds.

“FG72 is going to be one of the first systems to actually provide a double-stack herbicide tolerance,” allowing growers to use tried-and-true glyphosate and now isoxaflutole, the active ingredient in Balance Bean herbicide previously used on corn. “[Balance Bean offers] a unique reactivation capability. Once growers have sprayed it, they’ll receive coverage in their fields all the way up through canopy closure with a little bit of rain,” without having to worry tank mix issues and about it affecting their neighbors’ fields.

Ten years in the making with Bayer, Lauren said this has been an evaluation of more than 40,000 unique elite trait lines, and they expect to release 56 commercial lines in 2015 and another 200 shortly after. More information is available at the company website,

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Lauren here: Interview with Lauren August

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

AG CONNECT Expo Comes to Close

AG CONNECT ExpoThe 2013 AG CONNECT Expo has come to a close but I have a lot more interviews to share in coming days.

To wrap things up for now I spoke with Sara Truesdale Mooney, Show Director. Here are a few of the statistics from the show this year.

The high quality of the attendees was evident in the average acreage of 7,700 for the producers. One company executive said, “The caliber of producer that comes here – this is the best of the best … the business producers that will be the growers of the future. You can see that in the show today.”

The show set records for exhibit space and number of exhibitors, scope of education programs and education session tickets reserved, and number of co-located industry conventions, meetings and events.

AG CONNECT Expo & Summit had nearly 400 exhibitors and more than 220,000 net square feet of exhibit space. More than 30 co-located events were held at the show, including 10 association conferences, eight educational conferences/seminars and more than 13 exhibitor events.

Show management reports that attendance at AG CONNECT nearly doubled in 2013.

Eleven percent of the attendees came from outside the U.S., with more than 50 countries represented. Eight Canadian provinces were represented at the show, along with all the states except Hawaii.

You can listen to my interview with Sara here: Interview with Sara Truesdale Mooney

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

What to do With All That Data

Terry Griffin CrescoAg AG CONNECT ExpoAt a networking breakfast this morning at AG CONNECT Expo, sponsored by CaseIH, Dr. Terry Griffin, VP – Applied Economics CrescoAG, spoke on the “Making the Most of Precision Ag: I have all this data. Now What?” It is a good example of the type of sessions you’ll find at throughout the show.

I recorded Terry’s remarks which include a lengthy Q&A session for you to listen to. He does talk about some slides which I do not have to share but I think you’ll find some of the ideas he presented very interesting. Some of those that I took note of include. GPS guidance profitable with short payback. 3rd party help in the total precision ag system is needed. Without it there is a gap that provides an opportunity for companies right now. He said that “Data from single farm has finite value to that farmer. Greatest value is pooled community analysis.” Terry also talked about the whole concept of sharing data into a system for the benefit of all farmers. There was some disagreement in the audience about how this could work and concerns for what would happen with their local data.

You can listen to Terry’s presentation here: Precision Ag Presentation by Terry Griffin

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

AG CONNECT Expo Off to Fast Start

AG CONNECT Expo Sara Truesdale MooneyAG CONNECT Expo is off to the races in Kansas City, MO. Show Director Sara Truesdale Mooney was busy with ag media early, seen here being interviewed by Julie Harker, Brownfield Ag News.

Sara says there are over 30 co-located events taking place here this week. That’s a lot of extra activity that id drawing people to the convention center. There are almost 400 exhibitors this year with over 30% more exhibit space. There is also a record number of educational sessions taking place here as well.

You can listen to my interview with Sara here: Interview with Sara Truesdale Mooney

You can find my photos in the 2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album.

Scientific Integrity Important to Koch Agronomic

Koch Agronomic Services at AG CONNECT ExpoKoch Agronomic Services is on display here at AG CONNECT Expo. I visited with Greg Schwab, Director of Agronomy (pictured with the company team), to learn what he’s talking to farmer attendees about.

Greg says the company has grown tremendously in the last two years with multiple acquisitions to add to their product lineup. One of the key issues he’s talking to attendees about is nitrogen management. He’s also talking about the company commitment to “scientific integrity.” He says that they’ve been working with university researchers around the country to make sure the products they develop bring real value to producers that will help their bottom line.

You can listen to my interview with Greg here: Interview with Greg Schwab

2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album

AG CONNECT Expo Displays Will Be High Tech

AG CONNECT Expo 2013John Deere is ready for AG CONNECT Expo. So says Barry Nelson who I spoke with at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention.

john-deere-logoBarry says one of the great features of AG CONNECT Expo is that John Deere is bringing a lot of their executives. He says customers will be able to talk directly to them. He says this is true of all the exhibitors at this industry show. Barry says that if you visit the John Deere exhibit, “You’re going to see higher tech displays than you’ve ever seen?” It can’t be a more convenient location for the company since the John Deere marketing center is in Olathe, KS, right next door!

You can listen to my interview with Barry here: Interview with Barry Nelson

Precision Equipment on Display Next Week

AG CONNECT Expo 2013Precision agriculture products will be on display next week at the 2013 AG CONNECT Expo & Summit. The show runs January 29 to 31 in Kansas City, MO. Yours truly will be there taking photos and conducting interviews to share. ZimmComm New Media is proud to be the official new media sponsor of the show once again. While I am attending Expo, Cindy will be attending the Iowa Power Farming Show in Des Moines courtesy of our sponsor, Ag Leader Technology. So expect some good stories next week.

To get a preview of the AG CONNECT Expo I visited with Rusty Fowler, official Expo spokesperson and President/CEO, Krone NA. Rusty says to expect a show “that’s different from other trade shows that you normally go to.” He says it is different because they started out to make it different. The idea for the show goes back a number of years even before the first Expo when a group of ag executives got together to create a show “made by the industry for the industry.” It is different because the attending customer will be able to talk with top people at the companies who are exhibiting. This is a commitment each exhibitor has made. Rusty’s interview is the subject of my weekly podcast, the ZimmCast.

Besides seeing our coverage of these shows here you can also follow along on Twitter by following AG CONNECT Expo at @AgConnect or on Facebook and Iowa Power Farming Show on Twitter at @IAPowerFarmShow and on Facebook.

Learn more about what you can expect when you attend the 2013 AG CONNECT Expo in my interview with Rusty in my weekly ZimmCast podcast: AG CONNECT Expo Preview

AG CONNECT for Masters & Mavericks

When it comes to your business, are you a Master or a Maverick – or maybe a little of both, like Kip Tom of Indiana who is one of the AG CONNECT Masters & Mavericks.

As a Master, Kip values the tried-and-true methods that have brought high-yield harvests, but as a Maverick, he seeks opportunities for calculated entrepreneurial risk-taking that could provide even greater results. It’s an approach that keeps him on the cutting edge of innovation as he farms 16,000 combined acres in Indiana and Argentina.

Kip says farmers like him will benefit from attending the third AG CONNECT Expo and Summit, coming up January 29-31 in Kansas City. “Farmers evolve in the way they source information, they make decisions based upon that information,” Kip says. “When I go to a show, I want to be able to look at the product that company is making or that service they’re providing and I want to connect with the engineer that designed it, I want to connect with someone in the marketing/supply chain, so we can make decisions.”

Kip says what makes AG CONNECT different is that there are more real farmers looking for real ideas to use on their operations at home. “It gives you a great opportunity to peer network with these people, along with the 50 some educational programs going on at AG CONNECT,” said Kip, noting the programs cover a wide range of topics with something for everyone.

Started as a complement to the Agritechnica show held every two years in Germany, AG CONNECT attracts a large number of producers from other countries. “You come to this event and you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with producers from Argentina, Brazil, across Europe, part of Asia and Australia,” Kip said. “What that does is drive participating companies like John Deere, Agco, CNH, to really bring out the best of the best of their talent.”

If you are a Master and/or a Maverick in your agriculture-related field, AG CONNECT invites you to not only attend the Expo, but also to share your ideas and experiences with others in an on-line conversation. To join Masters & Mavericks, just visit the show website at and follow the link to answer a few questions and upload a photo. Even better, a brief personal video talking about issues facing today’s agriculture is highly encouraged. Everyone who joins Masters & Mavericks will receive their own web page, an AG CONNECT gift and complimentary registration for AG CONNECT 2013.

Listen to my interview with Kip from NAFB Trade Talk: Kip Tom on AG CONNECT

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album