Summer Precision Ag Training

Insights WeeklyDid you know Ag Leader offers a variety of SMS training sessions to help answer your questions about the software? That’s right, whether you’re more comfortable listening in on a webinar from your home computer, or attending an in-person, hands-on classroom training session, Ag Leader has a variety of courses to fit your needs.

Jessica Ahrens, software training specialist, says the software is always changing and customers need to stay up-to-date on the new features in order to best utilize them for their operations.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Ahrens says Ag Leader provides a wide variety of training for customers. Find out what’s available to you.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Ahrens says the training enables customers to troubleshoot and answer questions on their own instead of spending time on the phone with software support specialists, even though they are always available as a resource.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Be sure and sign up today for your training!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Extended Tech Support Hours

Insights Weekly Whether it’s good (hopefully!), bad or “help me before I throw this thing out into the field and run over it”, Ag Leader’s customer support staff wants to hear from you. And during busy seasons such as planting and harvest, customer support specialists are on hand extended hours to be sure that across all time zones, day or night, if you have a question in the field you can get an answer over the phone.

They may be called the silent heroes of the day, but Jordan Dittmer, Ag Leader Machine Guidance Support Supervisor, says, “We’re here to help. If you have something going on and you don’t tell us, we can’t help you. We want to hear from you.”

Listen to Dittmer explain

So think of these silent heroes as your next door neighbor, even though they may be thousands of miles away. In fact, most of the support staff are farmers just like you!

Listen to Dittmer explain

You can find Ag Leader’s 2014 Tech Support Extended Hours schedule here.

On behalf of Ag Leader’s support team, we wish you a safe, successful 2013 planting season!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Spring 2014 Pre-Planting Checklist

Insights WeeklyAlthough spring hasn’t fully arrived in many parts of the country, the polar vortex days are thankfully behind us. That means we’re all getting antsy for the warm, sunny days of May. Until then, this would be the ideal time for pulling the planter out of the shed to ensure your planting setup is ready for trouble-free field operation.

The first step will in getting ready for spring will be powering on your display to manage data, update firmware and create a backup. Nick Ritland, Ag Leader hardware tech support representative, gives a high-level check-list of some things to keep in mind before you get to the planting season.

Listen to Ritland explain

Current display firmware can be found here and should be updated prior to the start of the season. Guidance firmware can be found here.

Once your display is ready, move to the components located on the planter. Each of the links below will give you a step by step guide to confirm your clutches, population monitoring, hydraulic drives and Hydraulic Down Force are working as they should.
SeedCommand Pre-Season Checklist
Planter Task Controller Quick Reference Sheet
Clutch Control Module Quick Reference Sheet
Seed Tube Monitoring Module Quick Reference Sheet
Planter Population Monitoring for Kinze PMM
Hydraulic Seed Control Quick Reference Sheet
Hydraulic Down Force Quick Reference Sheet

Ag Leader also recommends looking over the physical components and setup of the planter. Ritland reviews some of the key “to-do” list items.

Listen to Ritland explain

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Using SMS Software on Your Tablet

Insights WeeklyThis week we caught up with Kaleb Lindquist, Ag Leader software sales specialist, who gives us an update on how growers can now utilize SMS mobile software from any tablet device they currently have.

Kaleb says SMS mobile can be used on any laptop with a Windows Operating System or tablet with the full version of Windows.

Listen to Lindquist explain

Kaleb also says you can take your tablet out to the field, attach a GPS receiver to it and that will enable you to do soil sampling, scouting or general coverage logging.

Listen to Lindquist explain

Ag Leader will begin holding SMS trainings this summer, but if you have questions prior to the spring planting season, be sure to ask your dealer or call Ag Leader customer service.

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Nutrient Management with OptRx

Insights Weekly At the 2014 Commodity Classic, Ag Leader Technology sponsored a learning session focused on using crop sensors to find out what your crops need.

Ag Leader did a study in 2009 that showed the advantages of using their OptRx crop sensor technology. OptRx Crop Sensor Product Specialist Chad Fick says this product has been around for six years now and growers are showing more interest as nutrient management becomes a bigger concern.

Chad says OptRx can be a helpful tool for farmers. Listen to Cindy Zimmerman’s interview with Chad from Commodity Classic.

Listen to Fick explain

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

What’s New in 5.2?

Insights WeeklyThis February, Ag Leader released the latest firmware of 5.2. There are a lot of updates and improvements in the latest firmware and no matter your operation, there will be a feature you will enjoy! The first thing that you will notice about 5.2 is the home screen has changed. It has a green backdrop, but that is just the beginning! There are added tabs that make adjusting the operation more convenient. Growers can now change operators, configurations, fields, products, and rates, straight from the home screen. Also, you can access the grower/farm/field and configuration settings by selecting the wrench next to the tabs.

AgLeader5.2Also in the new 5.2 firmware is “Events”. This mode is most convenient for custom applicators that do not want to log data to a specific field. Event mode allows data logging without being tied to a specific grower, farm, or field. This mode will allow operators to load the run screen with fewer button presses.

Another new optional feature that was added is headlands. Growers can use this to make AutoSwath work in different portions of the field. This option can help operators keep their field mapped more accurately and cut back on overlap.

Another new feature is managing guidance patterns. In the new 5.2 firmware growers have the ability to group guidance patterns together. This feature allows you to move from adaptive curve, identical curve, straight path, or pivot guidance lines without having to load the new guidance line into the display. This function will be most convenient for growers that use multiple lines in one field.

Ag Leader recommends upgrading to 5.2 before spring, as well as making a backup of the display before the season starts. We wish you a safe and successful planting season and enjoy the 5.2 firmware!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Ag Leader OptRx in Focus at Classic

If your crops could talk, what would they say?

classic14-agleader-optrx1That was the title of a learning session at the 2014 Commodity Classic, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, focused on using crop sensors to find out what your crops need – since they really can’t talk and tell you themselves.

We heard from Greg Kneubuhler with G&K Concepts of Indiana, and John McGuire of Simplified Technology Services in Ohio, who made several key points when it comes to using crop sensors to ascertain plant health and determine the amount of nitrogen that plants with lower crop health need.

McGuire noted that Ag Leader did a study in 2009 that showed the advantages of using their OptRx crop sensor technology. “In that study, there was quite a range in the payback of the OptRx system,” he said. “Agronomics is the first thing that came to mind. With any precision ag pursuit, you have to have a situation where (it) can succeed.”

Kneubuhler says that means paying attention to the basics. “We come across little things that get overlooked that mask the big things that drive yield,” he said. “You have to pay attention to your basic agronomy first and don’t let it override the technology you’re using in the field.”

Both of these experts say that while there are a number of crop sensors on the market, they recommend Ag Leader’s OptRx. Interview with Greg Kneubuhler and John McGuire on Crop Sensors

classic14-agleader-chadAg Leader OptRx Crop Sensor Product Specialist Chad Fick says this product has been around for six years now and growers are showing more interest as nutrient management becomes a bigger concern.

“If we can get our management practices in place and we can have our inputs reduced, we can still increase our yields but not be wasteful and ruin the environment,” said Chad, adding that OptRx can be a helpful tool for farmers. Interview with Chad Fick, Ag Leader

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Ag Leader AgFiniti Now Available

classic14-agleader-agfinitiAg Leader Technology’s new cloud-based platform AgFiniti® was a hit at last week’s Commodity Classic where growers were happy to learn that it is now available for them.

“AgFiniti is an affordable and reliable solution for wireless connectivity in the field because it allows users the flexibility to choose the best wireless service carrier in their local area and hotspot device,” said Luke James, Software Sales Manager.

James adds that what really makes AgFiniti stand out from other solutions on the market is data privacy. “We know growers value their privacy and that’s why with AgFiniti the data is 100% theirs,” he said. “We’re independent, just like the grower’s independent. We value that.”

Guidance lines, prescriptions, as-applied maps and more can be sent and received wirelessly from field to office and shared with trusted advisors such as dealers, co-ops or farm managers. Also, AgFiniti Remote Support allows dealers or farm managers to connect to the user’s display in the field for viewing and trouble-shooting from another location to help resolve issues faster and reduce downtime.

Learn more in this interview with Luke from Commodity Classic: Interview with Luke James, Ag Leader

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Water Management Software from Ag Leader

Insights Weekly

Kaleb Lindquist, Ag Leader software specialist, recently joined ZimmComm’s Cindy Zimmerman at the National Farm Machinery Show to talk about water management.

“SMS Advanced from Ag Leader allows for directional flow arrows, elevation, slope, water shed mapping and printing,” says Lindquist. “There’s also a water management module that can create a tile plan so growers know if it will be enough tile to drain their fields.

nfms14-agleader1“A lot of growers don’t know this kind of software is available, but it’s extremely user-friendly and once they see it, they realize how much it can help them in their operation.”

Listen to Lindquist explain

Lindquist says you can only do tile once, and it needs to be right the first time. Growers can make their initial investment back in less than a couple hundred feet of tile run.

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Get Crop Insurance Help with Ag Leader SMS

nfms14-agleader2Crop insurance is playing a bigger role than ever in agriculture with passage of the new farm bill and Ag Leader SMS Software is one way to make the record keeping required for crop insurance a little bit easier.

Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS) recently announced it has partnered with Ag Leader on the use of SMS software to submit field data electronically with RCIS’ Precision Farming service. Ag Leader also has a direct link with the Rain and Hail program software.

“A farmer can actually read in his planting data into SMS and then export it out in a generic format to read right into their crop insurance providers’ software,” said Kaleb Lindquist, Ag Leader software specialist, who adds that the program is very user friendly. “Once you get your farm field set up, create your map, it’s two button clicks and that file is exported.”

Find out more in this interview: Interview with Kaleb Lindquist, Ag Leader

Ag Leader had lots of grower interest in the SMS Software at the National Farm Machinery Show, and next they will be at the Commodity Classic trade show.

2014 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology

Water Management … An Ongoing Issue

Insights Weekly Today with input costs and costs of fertilizer and seed being as high as they are when you don’t get the crop planted and a good emerged crop with a good stand to it, you don’t get the max benefits out of the crop that you can. Too much water is a big proponent of this as well as not enough water and this is where water management comes in.

One of the solutions is adding tile to fields. Ag Leader has some precision ag technology, such as the Intellislope tile plow control system, that can raise the success rate of water management. Ag Leader also has software, such as the SMS Advanced Water Management module, that can help develop a tile plan and then analyze the data at any given moment or over time once the plan has been executed.

Every farm is different and tile systems can be put in during the fall or spring. Listen to ZimmComm’s full interview with Luke Bunkers about water management here.

Listen to Bunkers explain

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Managing Varying Soil Types

Insights WeeklyGrowers in many states have spent the winter months in drought conditions, and there’s non way to tell what Mother Nature has in store for the spring planting season. If we get rains like 2013, what if there was a way to improve your changes for a better harvest despite too much soil moisture? Well, there is a way to do just that: Ag Leader’s new Hydraulic Down Force System.

Ag Leader’s Brett Buehler explains that one of the big issues growers face during planting is that the seed is planted at the proper depth. When the seed is not optimally planted, it can negatively impact yield. While there are technologies on the market to help address this, Buehler said that many of them have limitations that the Hydraulic Down Force System overcomes.

Listen to Buehler explain

The technology, says Buehler, is excellent for the grower who has varying soil types his field.

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Ag Leader Helping Farmers Prepare for Planting

With the winter we have had this year, everyone is looking forward to spring – especially farmers who are anxious to get that next crop in the ground this time of year.

nfms14-agleader-russThat’s why this is the perfect time of year for the National Farm Machinery Show and Ag Leader Technology is happy to be talking with the thousands of farmers attending the show about their spring planting needs.

“Probably the biggest thing we’ve got is our Hydraulic Down Force – that’s been very, very popular,” said Russ Morman, Ag Leader Inside Sales Representative. “We’ve had a line of guys around that from nine o’clock in the morning to six o’clock at night.”

The second biggest draw at the NFMS is AgFiniti – Ag Leader’s cloud-based data management platform – and Russ says keeping data private is a big concern for farmers. “Who owns the data? Well, to Ag Leader the grower owns their data,” Russ says. “In fact, with the AgFiniti data cloud, we absolutely guarantee that the farmer has his own exclusivity of his data. We do not use it for any marketing or any research – the farmer has 100% ownership of his data.”

Because NFMS is such a huge show with 850 exhibits and 27 acres of show floor space, Ag Leader has booths on each end. You can find them at booth #416 or #914.

Listen to my interview with Russ here: Interview with Russ Morman, Ag Leader

2014 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology

Getting Started at National Farm Machinery Show

National Farm Machinery ShowWe’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.

Ag Leader Wants You to Know About the Value of Data

Ag Leader Tyler AndersonWhy should we care about data I asked Tyler Anderson with Ag Leader during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show. Anderson said we should care about data. So I asked the next logical question, “How do we know if it worked?”.

“We can check to make sure the data worked by reading the information we’ve recorded out in the field in our SMS Advanced Software program,” explained Anderson. “By looking at the maps we can make sure we’re not having any mechanical problems we didn’t see out in the field, but we can also confirm we’re actually getting results from the practices we’re doing.”

This, said Anderson, is what Ag Leader calls “the value of data”. He explained that growers spend all this money on precision technologies and farm equipment but how do you know if it’s actually having an effect? Using Ag Leader’s SMS tools, a grower can start analyzing various elements of the data or even analyze data across the entire operations.

Anderson said the data is also valuable because not only can you look to see what happened during the current year, but also using it to plan for the future.

Learn more about the “value of data” in my interview with Tyler Anderson: The Value of Data

Click here to view the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show photo album.

Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology