Geographical Information Systems Training Course

The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources is conducting an Introduction to ArcGIS 10 training course on March 24 & 25 in College Station, TX. The two-day course will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days in Room 200 of the Centeq Building, in Texas A&M University’s Research Park.

The course will teach the range of functionality of the software and the essential tools for visualizing, creating, managing and analyzing geographic data, according to Amy Snelgrove, a program manager for the institute and instructor for the course. Snelgrove has both Certified GIS Professional and Comptia Certified Technical Training certifications.

“The exercises of this hands-on course emphasize practice with ArcMap and ArcCatalog to perform common GIS tasks and workflows,” Snelgrove said. “Students will learn the tools for creating and managing geographic data, displaying data on maps in different ways, and combining and analyzing data to discover patterns and relationships. By the end of the course, they will be prepared to work with the software on their own.”

Register online at irnr.tamu.edu/arcgis. Registration is $500 and includes refreshments, course material and a certificate of completion. Seats are limited.

Snelgrove said three additional 2014 dates are set for the course at the same location in College Station: May 13-14, July 29-30 and Oct. 8-9. On-site training can also be scheduled by contacting Snelgrove at amy-snelgrove@tamu.edu.

NuTech Seed’s YieldLeader Precision Placement Tool

NuTech_Seed_Logo4color-with-TM-1024x315NuTech Seed®, LLC has launched YieldLeader, a Web-based precision placement tool program powered by MyFarms, for their dealers and customers this season.

“The YieldLeader placement tool allows our growers to better use the field data they have collected over the years, combine it with all the great genetics and choices that NuTech offers, and use this information to make better decisions on their hybrid placement,” says Gene Kassmeyer, director of products for NuTech Seed. “Growers can use this tool and technology to get suggestions on hybrids in minutes rather than hours. Time is valuable to farmers and every minute counts.”

MyFarms is a leader in Data-Driven Farming and services growers and their supporters by delivering security accuracy and convenience. With the help of their dealer, growers can review, select and place unique NuTech Seed hybrids based on soil type, management practices, diseases and pests, as well as desired agronomic characteristics. Utilizing this program will help NuTech Seed growers increase their accuracy and efficiency, while ultimately increasing yield potential and adding convenience.

“With ever increasing access to new technologies and devices, having a program for farmers to access anywhere will be more important down the road,” says Tim Elliott, general manager for NuTech Seed. “The YieldLeader precision placement tool allows our dealers and growers to access their farm data from just about anywhere, at any time, as well as record notes about their day-to-day operations.”

The new tool runs on any web-accessible electronic device and can be found at NuTechSeed.com.

2014 MapShots Customer Conference

AGStudioThe MapShots 2014 Customer Conference is on the calendar for February 6-8 and will feature presentations from many industry partners. The MapShots staff will also provide attendees with information and hands-on experience with AgStudio for precision crop management and record keeping. In addition to presentations from seven industry leaders on how their products integrate with MapShots AgStudio. These partners include: Agri ImaGIS/Satshot, AgIntegrated, AgSense, GeoVantage, John Deere, Raven and Veris Technologies.

Ted Macy, Vice President of Operations at MapShots says, “This is the first MapShots customer conference where we have had the opportunity to have our industry partners present to our customers. We are looking forward to our attendees learning about the breadth of our product offerings.”

Content will be featured for both farm users and service provider users of AgStudio. Farm users will be particularly interested in how AgStudio can record multiple boundary sets, using the Lease Manager module, and track grain inventory after harvest using the Commodity Inventory functionality.

Service provider users of AgStudio will learn about the power and flexibility of AgStudio Select, MapShots new web-based offering designed for use by sales agronomists and their farmer customers.

MapShots also plans a session for those interested in learning how to take advantage of MapShots- patented AgDirector Services platform. Designed as a turnkey solution for reading GPS logs generated by precision ag field devices, AgDirector Services is being implemented by firms who need an easy way to process logged data into their own data stores.

The event will be held at the Georgia Tech Learning Center in Atlanta, GA. For registration and other info visit MapShots.com or call 678-513-6093.

What Deere’s Expanded Access Means to Partners

jd-integrators-13-ted-macyAnother agriculture technology company that took advance of John Deere’s API Integrators Conference was MapShots. Chuck met up with Ted Macy, Vice President of Operations and Lead Architect for MapShots. The company focuses on software development and providing crop management applications for the agriculture industry.

Ted gives credit to Deere as being one of the first companies to give expanded access into their products. MapShots are proud to already have a developer.deere.com account and are eager to see what’s next in Deere’s precision pipeline.

“Well, it’s working great. We’ve got a large number of growers between our own customers and those of some of our private label companies. The grower leaves the field with the machine and within 15 minutes he can go into his record keeping system and see the yield map, tillage map or whatever map with the activity he has performed. It is what we have always hoped for.”

MapShots has been a part of the beta of this wireless transfer integration, but they have learned some things about where Deere is going with their water management area. Ted also shares what this means for the growers out there and how they can get more data, easier.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Ted here: Interview with Ted Macy

Check out photos from the event here: John Deere API Integrators Conference Photo Album

John Deere’s Approach to Developers & APIs

jd-integrators-13-robert-witcherOn day one of John Deere’s API Integrator Conference the idea of treating developers like customers and API’s like products was brought to the table.

Robert Witcher, Manager in API Enablement & Developer Relations for John Deere, has over 18 years of technology experience, has focused mostly on leading IT for software engineering, including IT strategy for software products and web APIs. Chuck spoke with him later and he gave more insight into the not new, but advanced integrator partnerships.

“What’s happened is a few years back we started a very small user group and it’s grown quite a bit over the years. The reason why we think we are offering more API’s and that there is more excitement about them is because each year we have taken feedback from partners. We have tried to incorporate that into new API’s and we have learned a lot ourselves from when we first started doing API’s. We have better quality, more features for our partners. So we feel like we’ve got the right mix to roll these API’s out like products and really treat the partners and developers like customers so we can give them good support and listen to what they need.”

“When we were first into the API space we just rolled out an API because some folks wanted it and we learned because we were new with it and so did our partners. And now over the last few years in the API industry, in the API economy, in the technology industry, in the precision agriculture industry people are learning best practices about API’s and how do you treat them like products.”

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Robert here: Interview with Robert Witcher

Check out photos from the event here: John Deere API Integrators Conference Photo Album

John Deere’s Focus on Partner Goals

jd-integrators-13-pete-clarkJohn Deere’s API Integrators Conference shared with current and future partners the importance of adding customized value to applications for growers globally. Ag Connections attended the event and expressed their excitement for Deere’s customer focus as it lines up perfectly with their customer focused company.

Pete Clark, president and co-owner of Ag Connections, an agriculture software company located in Murray, Kentucky spoke with Chuck. He shared that the company develops and updates crop management software solutions that make lives easier and farms more efficient and compliant.

“The model is similar to ours. We believe the grower owns the data and they said that data would be on the portal, but that the grower had control and if they wanted to remove their data they could. That’s pretty much our business model. Our customer has control. We are all about data privacy and we have been all these years. I feel like they are headed in the right direction and they are making progress.”

Ag Connections have been integrators since 2007. They already have their account setup at developer.deere.com and have participated in some pilots with the program Deere is now offering.

“As we looked at the marketplace and this became available with Deere’s marketshare we looked at it as a high value for us to put a lot of our time and resources into. It has added value to our product. As we go to a green customer and explain to them what it means, they want to utilize it.”

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Pete here: Interview with Pete Clark

Check out photos from the event here: John Deere API Integrators Conference Photo Album

John Deere – Making Precision Ag Easier

jd-integrators-13-kevin-veryMaking precision agriculture easier was the goal of John Deere’s API Integrator Conference. This global outreach is geared towards unlocking new innovation for customers across the world.

Chuck met up with Kevin Very, API Strategy for John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group. Kevin’s role focuses on developing the API strategy and structuring information solutions partnerships with 3rd parties for John Deere’s Agriculture & Turf as well as Construction & Forestry Divisions worldwide.

“We have companies here from eight countries, three continents, 50 plus companies to learn more about the John Deere data sharing program. Developer.deere.com, which is the platform by which folks can integrate data from Deere as well as the ways we are bringing that data together. We are looking forward to working with all our industry partners to bring those solutions to market.”

They also announced MyJohnDeere Data API will be combined with MyJohnDeere.com to merge data wirelessly into a business system of your choice. Options are the element Deere is focusing on with this new opportunity. Customers get the choice as to where they want to send their data quickly and easily.

The program is up and running with registration continually growing. Version one is out now and they are looking for feedback so they can make improvements along the way.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Kevin here: Interview with Kevin Very

Check out photos from the event here: John Deere API Integrators Conference Photo Album

GEOSYS: Good Decisions from Good Information

infoag-13-dave-westMaking good decisions on the farm has a lot to do with knowledge and hard work. But the best knowledge and the hardest work can be undone if you’re starting with bad information. To help farmers get the best information Geosys has just announced the Field Profit Planner, a comprehensive tool for farmers and their advisors who pursue high efficiency farming.

The new cloud-based GEOSYS Field Profit Planner service gives growers quick analyses of their individual fields while also providing insight into productivity across the entire farm. Unique to the GEOSYS platform, profit analysis for each field is included as part of the standard package. Each grower’s individual field costs and yields can be used to calculate returns on each field or variable rate technology (VRT) field zone. The data is displayed in an easy-to-use format.

At the recent the 2013 InfoAg Conference on precision agriculture, Chuck caught up with Dave Scott with GEOSYS, one of the speakers at the event. He says GEOSYS uses the latest tools in agronomy so are enabled to make the best decisions for their operations.

“We’re not actually making those decisions for a grower. Our tools are meant to give the producer or decisionmaker the best information to make the best decisions,” he said, adding GEOSYS has been in business around the globe for 25 years. And over the past decade, they have put together a database on satellite imagery that is what Dave characterizes as the most effective tool for measuring variability in a field. That’s a lot of information at the fingertips of GEOSYS providers. “Being able to take that, build the algorithms to it and process it, and deliver visual tools that will act as either a substrate for a conventional solution or a precision ag, variable-rate solution, that’s where we play.”

Dave says GEOSYS’ information can tell a subscriber what’s going on in the soil, past performance, variables, and where to plant crops, just to name a few items. He added the data really helps producers who need to be able to anticipate and react to the variables in those fields. Dave said knowing what to do in the various parts of one field can significantly cut down on the costly inputs, such as fertilizer and seed.

“We’re talking about producing more crop with either the same amount or less inputs.”

Dave concluded saying all a farmer needs is internet access to get the information they need from GEOSYS, and the data they gather from their own operations would be cloud-based, so producers don’t have to worry about having a wall of servers just to preserve all that info. Plus, he said they have an Apple-based app for mobile devices.

More information on GEOSYS is available at www.geosys.com.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Dave here: Interview with Dave Scott, GEOSYS

2013 InfoAg Conference Photo Album

Introducing The New Field Computing System – Viper 4

ris-13-063_edited-1The Viper 4 was the talk of the 2013 Raven Innovation Summit in Sioux Falls, SD earlier this week. This was just one of the many products Raven Industries unveiled during the event.

As a fourth generation Viper, the Viper 4 comes from a legendary family loaded with connections, resources and support. The precision ag system integrates into a simple, connected platform.

The Viper 4 is a rugged modular field computer platform with a flexible design, wireless communication capabilities, will interface to many systems for multiple farming operations and has complete consistant consumable data. It runs on a Raven Operating System and is lighter. The display is 12.1 inches with a resistive touchscreen and airtight design. It comes with fully scalable GPS, camera inputs and equipped for future applications. viper 4

Right after the announcement of Viper 4 attendees had the opportunity to walk through the trade show and see first hand how these new precision ag technologies could benefit them. I spoke with Shane Swedlund, Senior Product Manager in Field Computers for Raven, during the trade show and his enthusiasm for the new product was easy to see.

Listen to my interview with Shane here: Interview with Shane Swedlund

Check out photos from the event here: Raven Innovation Summit Photo Album

XL Solutions at Raven Industries

classic-13-jamie-176-editedExperts in Raven Industries’ applied sciences division have been busy bringing new and innovative technologies to the door step of growers across the country.

The 2013 Commodity Classic was the place to display these new products and Raven Industries was there to do so. I spoke with Paul Welbig who oversees a lot of the product management issues at Raven. Looking into the future he shared how their goal is to continue to enhance products that save farmers time and money. Slingshot is one of those data management systems that can improve efficiencies on the farm.

“An innovation of technology has been a key point to a lot of growers here. There operations are dependent upon the various technologies that are available out there and we try to integrate those technologies together to eliminate the complexities and provide them a faster ROI because they are integrated into their solutions.”

“Some of the new stuff that we are really talking to producers about here is a couple of different things. We have what we call out Envizio Pro XL, which is a field computing device. Envizio Pro has been around a little while…[Envizio Pro XL] does basically what it says, an extra large screen so people can see it a lot easier.”

Listen to my interview with Paul here: Interview with Paul Welbig

2013 Commodity Classic Photo Album



Harvest Masters Unveiled New Mirus Software at ASTA

asta-mirusJust last month at the ASTA Seed Expo in Chicago, Harvest Masters by Juniper Systems, announced the release of their new harvest data collection software system they call Mirus.

Cindy spoke with Allen Wilson, Ag Marketing Manager for Harvest Masters, during the event. Allen shared how the two year long process to develop this software resulted in a brand new generation. Not simply a new addition to the previous version.

“The Mirus software that we just released works with our harvest data collection for research combines. It’s a Windows based platform. We have been using Windows mobile, but this is a Windows so it will be running on tablets, Windows XP and Windows 7 & 8. We are in that Windows environment. It is a next generation software to work with our hardware that we previously put out. This is a lot more flexible and easy to use. The operators are now able to see four different screens at one time about their system statues and yield levels. A lot more information available for the operators.”

“The feedback we got back from our beta testers, which were about 20 people that have run our previous software, all said it’s intuitive, it’s easy to use and they don’t have to go struggling through a bunch of different screen to find the information they need or settings to change. It’s a precision piece of equipment so they have to be monitoring it and watching to see if there are changes occurring. It was really over-whelming to hear these people that have used our software say we have made a step forward.”

You can find more information about the release of this new software on a previous post New Mirus Harvest Data Collection Software.

Listen to Cindy’s complete interview with Allen here: Interview with Allen Wilson

Check out photos from ASTA here:
ASTA-CSS Photo Album

The World of Raven Field Computers

They’re all pretty smart but one of Raven Precision‘s field computers actually speaks 22 languages!

We learned more about the multilingual entry-level Cruizer II, as well as the Envizio Pro II and Viper Pro field computers from Raven at last week’s Innovation Summit, where many of the 230 attendees came from other countries. Shane Swedelund, Senior Product Manager, says they each offer new improvements and have certain strengths and benefits for the growers in the field.

Listen to my interview with Shane where he talks about what is new with each product line and how they compare: Shane Swedelund, Raven

You can also compare them yourself and get a 360 degree view of each field computer by downloading the Raven Product Guide app to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.

Precision Gadgets and Gizmos

The InfoAg Conference session titled, “Gadgets and Gizmos for Precision Agriculture” got my attention. One of the presenters was Dr. “No-Till Phil” Rasmussen. He had a collection of gadgets and gizmos on display to show and tell.

I interviewed him after his presentation. This soil physicist has a love for gadgets. They’ve been a big part of his career. He says that GPS systems have become more and more important to the farm. Therefore, the data that can be collected by various devices is becoming essential for efficient farm management today. One of the gadgets that has become very effective for in the field data gathering is a gel cell battery that has an adapter to allow you to charge various devices when you’re spending a day away from electricity. I recorded the interview on my iPhone with a recording app. Seemed very appropriate. Listen to my interview with Dr. Rassmussen here: Interview with Dr. Philip Rasmussen


2011 InfoAg Conference Photo Album

Precision Pays coverage of the InfoAg 2011 Conference is sponsored by:

Computer Model Calculates Livestock Numbers

Ranchers in the central Great Plains may be using some of their winter downtime in the future to rehearse the upcoming production season, all from the warmth of their homes, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) soil scientists.

The ranchers would use the GPFARM (Great Plains Framework for Agricultural Resource Management)-Range computer model to see which cattle or sheep stocking rate scenarios are sustainable. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientists are testing the model in enough locations to get the model fully usable throughout the central Great Plains.

The model would allow ranchers to test various scenarios involving forage yields and the weight gains of beef cattle and calves and other livestock under various stocking and weather scenarios. The high variability of precipitation makes it difficult to choose a stocking rate that is the best balance between economic and rangeland sustainability. Looking at National Weather Service seasonal weather predictions, ranchers would judge whether precipitation in the coming season would likely be normal or above or below normal.

GPFARM-Range is one of a few range models that can factor in the effects of climate change on stocking rates, predicting the response of forage plants to increased carbon dioxide and higher temperatures.

Source: USDA-ARS