This week’s edition of the Hick Chick Chat again comes to us from NAFB Trade talk.
I had a chance to catch up with Phil Jennings, service manager, from Kinze Manufacturing. We talked about all the exciting changes that are happening at the plant as well as some new things they have been working on for the field. Including a driverless tractor and new seed and planter technology coming around for 2014. For a tractor without a driver, they made some adjustments this year; the range of wireless communication between vehicles has been increased, additional diagnostic feedback is available to the operator, a “go to here” feature has been added which allows the operator to position the tractor in the field in the best possible area and wait for further instruction and the speed of vehicle path planning has been improved. Plus, they are building a new facility to grow their autonomy project.
Everyone has their preferences. On our farm, we liked red tractors and combines, on yours you may like green ones, maybe blue or even yellow or silver. Regardless, new products are rolling out for 2014. I had a chance to chat with the boys from CaseIH while at Trade Talk at NAFB about their upcoming 2014 line.
Dr. Rob Zemenchik, Case IH Crop Production Marketing Manager. Rob discusses with me how important their new discs and plows make for a successful planting season which in the end makes harvest more profitable.
Ryan Schaefer, Case IH Marketing Manager for High Horsepower Tractors, talks about Efficient Power. He shares how Case IH is delivering Tier 4 B/Final compliance with superior performance, economy and operating efficiencies.
Nathan (Nate) Weinkauf is the North American Harvest Marketing Manager at Case. We discuss what they are learning about their 2013 models following this year’s harvest and look forward to 2014 and where they are headed with 2014 year models.
You loved the commercial, you’ll love the book. It’s a new photography book launched by Ram Trucks with National Geographic titled, “The Farmer in All of Us: An American Portrait.” The book is available for purchase now for $45 at www.ramtrucks.com/outfitter and will be in retail stores beginning late spring 2014.
The 300-page coffee table book is a beautiful and comprehensive collection of original agriculture and farming photography, including many of the images commissioned by the Ram Truck brand for its “Farmer” Super Bowl commercial inspired by Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” essay. Every book purchase backs a minimum contribution of $25,000 by the Ram Truck brand to the National FFA Organization’s “Give the Gift of Blue” program, which donates traditional FFA blue corduroy jackets to members who would not otherwise be able to own one.
“Supporting farmers isn’t just about those who till the soil, it’s about reminding America who we are and where our greatness comes from,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group, LLC. “This book truly brings the ‘Farmer’ story to life, and continues to give back in support of the amazing students of the FFA who embody this spirit every day.”
To create the book, ten world-class photographers were tasked with traveling throughout America’s heartland over the course of three weeks to capture the essence of the farmer. Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech served as their inspiration. The photographers’ original goal was to create the visual backdrop for a television commercial celebrating the “Year of the Farmer.” The two-minute tribute aired during Super Bowl XLVII, stopping the nation in its tracks.
Welcome to the very first installment of the Hick Chick Chat, with me, Leah Guffey, @the_hickchick. We plan for this to be a regular feature here on Precision Pays to chat about precision technology and equipment on the farm.
During 2013 NAFB Annual Convention, I chatted with Justin Miller from MachineryLink. They do something a little different, they rent combines to growers to harvest the crop they have produced throughout the year. Justin tells me how this works for them and how the concept came about, which is really to be more cost effective and help the bottom line of the producer.
MachineryLink comes from the concept of sharing equipment to “reduce costs, free up capital and more effectively manage risk.” Justin says MachineryLink continues to grow in popularity each year and even has growers calling as soon as they are done harvesting to secure their machine for the coming year.
Justin tells me they are there to provide a service, the same one they have since the late 1990s. Worried about getting equipment to your field for harvest? Never fear, Justin says they deliver, service and pick up the combines from each farm when they farmer needs it. 24/7 service is also part of the package deal as they meticulously inspect the combines before and after each drop off.
Raven Industries is always working on something. During the recent NAFB Convention’s Trade Talk, I met up with Raven’s Marketing and Business Development Manager, Ryan Molitor. He expressed Raven’s desire to continue to add new technologies to the precision marketplace as well as improve on their existing products.
“One of the things we really invest a lot in is training our dealers on not just supporting and servicing our equipment but helping them better educate growers on the benefits of precision ag technology. It’s pretty diverse from a technology standpoint. There is a lot of different technology out there. Growers and producers have a lot of diverse needs also. It is important to talk to them and understand their individual operations and where the technology can fit for them.”
Raven introduced many different technologies earlier this year. Ryan said the feedback they have received from their beta testers has been great. In my interview he discusses their direct injection technology, data management for ag retailers and producers and their multiple hybrid planter control. Their newest precision equipment to hit the marketplace is their yield monitoring system and Ryan shares what growers have said about it’s acute accuracy.
“The cotton market this year used a new product called Display. It’s a harvest aid material. What we do is after the cotton is mature we put it on and take the leaves off the cotton. It normally takes two applications of product to do that. We use Display along with a boll opener with the first application and after that we come back with another FMC product called Aim to finish. We call it to take in the skirt off the cotton and then in about 10 days the harvesting equipment can come into the field and begin picking the cotton.”
Bentley has been an agricultural consultant for 40 years and still lives on the farm he was born on. He started in the private sector and has done contract work with FMC for about the last 20 years. He also welcomes around 50,000 guests to his farm each year where he focuses on agritourism. Guests can take part in holiday activities such as picking pumpkins and finding their own Christmas tree.
Bentley remembers the time when they were only concerned about controlling crab grass. But it didn’t take long for the cotton fields in the South to start to see the appearance of weeds. He shared that the entire South was consumed with cotton fields, soybeans were simply used for hay and corn was used to feed the animals on the farm.
“We’ve gone from big cotton to very little cotton in the mid-South and a multi-crop culture. We’ve gone to banding herbicides to broadcast herbicides. We’ve gone from cotton gins baling six bales an hour to cotton gins that will bale 75-100 per hour. And we’ve gone from cotton being picked by human beings to six row pickers. There have been great changes in agriculture in our area since I was a kid.”
To Bentley the 80′s brought about the most change for the mid-South region. Farmers started using precision technology to level land for drainage and irrigation purposes. Today weather doesn’t affect area as much as it did in the past. During that era the usage of herbicides and then pesticides were more widely seen and then at the tail end of the 80′s farmers began to see GMO’s come on to the scene.
Farmers who provide corn for ethanol plants can get special discounts on New Holland equipment and help the ethanol industry at the same time.
New Holland district sales manager Bob Kacher says their American Ethanol Producers Club is an initiative they developed two years ago with Growth Energy to help both growers and the ethanol industry. “It offers the opportunity to reinvest back into the ethanol industry through the purchase of New Holland products,” he explained during an event last week at the Absolute Energy biorefinery near Lyle, Minnesota. “The producers are part of the club by their contracts and the amount of grain they sell to the ethanol producing plants and that membership allows them discounts off New Holland equipment that they purchase through their local dealer, and in turn New Holland reinvests back into the support and promotion of ethanol.”
Producers can qualify for club membership if they have a current contract with an ethanol plant for at least 10,000 bushels, supply at least 50,000 bushels per year or purchase at least 280 tons of distillers grain, or be a board member or major investor in an ethanol plant. Bob suggests producers contact their local ethanol plant or Growth Energy for more information.
“This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all who serve,” says Abe Hughes, Vice President, New Holland North America. “New Holland is honored to be able to demonstrate our appreciation and support of our military and their families and contribute to the outstanding work being done on behalf of our military through the Fisher House Foundation.”
From now until Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013, New Holland is offering a $911 “Thank You” coupon off selected models of New Holland Agriculture and Light Construction equipment. This is extended to members of our Armed Forces, Police Officers and Firefighters, as well as their families. In addition to the “Thank You” for military and first responders, New Holland will donate $250 to the Fisher House Foundation for each qualifying model sold under this program.
“Precision nutrient application technology has grown in importance as our customers continue to address environmental concerns while improving fertilizer use efficiency for the plant,” says Travis Harrison, product specialist from John Deere. “The 2510L enables customers to maximize crop yields through more accurate and timely liquid fertilizer placement.”
This latest model is available in two different models with vertical folds that are 30- and 40-foot with a side fold widths up to 66 feet. There are 18 spacing and control options and Deere is offering one of the largest tank options, up to 2,400 gallons.
John Deere has been showing off its 2014 product line to farmers this week at the Farm Progress Show, and the big news for the S-Series combines is that for the first time ever, John Deere will be offering 36″ tracks for better flotation with reduced compaction and fuel use in challenging field conditions.
Product specialist Jordan Danner says the tracks allow reduced ground pressure and the ability to harvest in a variety of conditions. They are designed with a high-idler configuration for enhanced performance and easy changeability between tracks and tires. Other enhancements to the S-Series line-up include a new Interactive Combine Adjustment™ (ICA) in base equipment which automates combine settings while harvesting on-the-go.
You can only imagine the fuel consumption during the Farm Progress Show. GROWMARK and FS have sponsored the fuel for the largest outdoor farm show for the last 30 years and expect to go through about 2,500 gallons this year. That amount is down from previous years because the field demonstrations had to be cancelled.
Gerald Doty retired from the cooperative seven years ago and was asked to come back and run the fueling station. He eagerly agreed to do a it for three years, but has been here ever since. Gerald said it was a great opportunity for him to stay in-touch with the industry.
“GROWMARK and FS have sponsored fuel for the Farm Progress Show for over 30 years. Typically they would get 50 gallons of free fuel in exchange for us putting a fueled by FS sticker on their equipment, but this year because there wasn’t any field demonstrations we have cut that back to 25 gallons. Here we do this in cooperation with Evergreen FS. Evergreen FS takes care of all the fuel needs inside the fences and we take care of the equipment they need for demonstrations and golf carts.”
Dealers and the media got a preview of what’s new from John Deere last week at the product intro in Columbus, Ohio and this week producers got to see the latest for 2014 at the 60th Annual Farm Progress Show.
The All New W235 Windrower can keep you comfortable while you’re cutting faster in the field. Features include the JDLink Technology and has Integrated AutoTrac and better handling at any speed.
Jarrod McGinnis, division marketing manager for John Deere, says the new FT4 engine and the transmission options help the 7R Series Tractors offer greater productivity and value to customers.
“These new machines are more fluid efficient and offer increased horsepower for exceptional engine, hydraulic and PTO performance that many customers want in a highly versatile row-crop tractor.”
Besides that, they have some great new comfort and efficiency features, such as the roomy CommandView™ III cab that is quieter due to a laminated front windshield that dampens outside noise. The cab features an operator’s seat that swivels 40-degrees right for easier viewing of rear implements. Other options include the convenience of an in-cab refrigerator and LED lighting package that provides 40 percent greater illumination compared to HID lights.
You will be able to see the new 7R series at Farm Progress Show next week but for now take a ride John Deere manufacturing rep Mark Mohr to check out some of the new features of the 7R series tractors for 2014:
There’s a very good chance you’re using an iPad on your farm today. If so, are you concerned about keeping it protected? Here’s an option to consider. The rugged Drop Tech Series case from Gumdrop Cases. Here’s me with one I just got for my iPad mini in orange and blue (Go Gators!). These cases provide maximum protection that includes screen and port protection, shock absorption and drop protection.
So how about a real world ag application. You can look to Precision Planting customers who use iPad to access their FieldView App, which allows them to view real-time planter data as they go through the field and sync to the cloud so other farmers can access the data and monitor the operation. The FieldView app brings the farmer’s field to life on high-resolution maps. Farmers can view spacing and singulation as well as ground contact and row unit weight, making analysis much easier. The Gumdrop cases provided Precision Planting with a case that can withstand weather conditions and protect against any possible damage in the field.
“With the ruggedness of the cases, our farmers are able to take their iPads with them from the tractor and use the device as a crop-scouting tool throughout the season and then put it in the combine to monitor harvest operations in the fall,” said Sean Arians, Product Marketing Manager of Precision Planting.
You can find Gumdrop Cases here. I’m liking mine and will be taking it on the road with me this week to the 2013 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Charlotte, NC.
John Deere is preparing for next season this week with the big product launch in Columbus, Ohio.
“We’re launching a lot of our new products for 2014 at the Columbus Convention Center,” said Deere’s Barry Nelson. “We’re bringing in about 45 of the ag media … and the final wave of all the dealers that come in to learn about the new machines that they’re going to be able to sell.”
The theme is “Delivering Distinctive Value” and Barry says it’s not just about the machinery itself, but the technology that goes with it. “A lot of the new technology we’ll be rolling out – new wireless systems, advancements in precision technology,” Barry added.
We’ll be bringing you the latest on those new Deere offerings as we head to Columbus today. Stay tuned!