Mix Tank Features Ready for Planting Season

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 9.11.34 AMWell before the planters have stopped rolling, efficiency-minded retailers, applicators and growers are already thinking about best practices for tank mixing and applying their crop protection products. Precision Laboratories’ Mix Tank 3.0, an award-winning and patent-pending app for iPhone and Android smartphones, is a convenient tool to help ensure that tank mixing compatibility, proper logging and more are available right in the palm of your hand.

Mix Tank simplified its design and added features in November 2013. In time for the 2014 growing season, retailers and growers will be able to utilize Mix Sheets™, the app’s latest feature that captures product use rates, field size, spray volume and tank size. Use rates are calculated automatically after entering basic information, which can then be easily shared via email.

“We’re excited for applicators to get out in the field and start using the Mix Sheets feature this season,” said Jim Reiss, vice president of Ag Chemistries at Precision Laboratories. “Mix Tank was created to make tank mixing easier and more predictable by identifying compatibility issues and encouraging proper mixing sequences. Applicators will appreciate having these new features available during the busy spring and summer months ahead.”

Along with its newest features, Mix Tank offers additional tools such as weather integration, which captures real-time data to maintain accurate spray logs and documentation. It also has a “My Favorites” feature, providing quick access to the user’s preferred crop protection products.

Mix Tank is the only app in the ag industry that offers these features completely integrated into one user-friendly platform. The app is available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play by searching for Mix Tank or Precision Laboratories.

Preventive Resistance from Sygenta

Herbicide resistance has become an increasingly troublesome concern for farmers across the country. As farmers begin planting their 2014 crops, they will be interested in learning more about herbicide resistance in the U.S. and how to fight it. This infographic from Syngenta below shows the history and expansion of herbicide resistance across the country, a guide on which weeds to look out for, and best management practices.

Evolution of Prescription Farming

LGSeeds_logo2012LG Seeds shares the evolution of prescription farming.

When we think about technology advancement over the past 20 years a good example is our electronic devices. Smart phones, hand held tablets, sleeker computers; all these devices having data/software storage by the gigabyte and increasing. We live in a technology driven age with demand for real time information. This technology is common place in our society, but has also incorporated itself quite extensively into production agriculture over the past few years.

Prescription Farming at the Beginning
When thinking about prescription farming, variable rate fertilizing and/or seeding, generally comes to mind. Variable rate seeding began with the advent of hydraulic motors serving as the drive or transmission on the planter, giving farmers the chance to change seeding rates on the go. They were also putting GPS receivers and equipment on and in their tractors and combines for auto-steer and yield mapping capabilities.

Prescription Farming Today – Nutrient Application
The evolvement of prescription farming has become more of a streamlined process in farming today. Incorporation of the “smart technologies” into the farm, along with modern GPS/rate controlling equipment
has led to more fine tuning of seeding prescriptions and nutrient application. Nutrient management has seen
an influx of aerial imagery from satellites, airplanes, and now unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s).

Prescription Farming Today – Variable Rate Seeding
With past history of yield maps, fertility tests/maps, and topography/soil information for a field, we now have the opportunity to layer different data points on top one another to create more precise seeding zones.

Recently, LG Seeds parent company, AgReliant Genetics, began to do additional hybrid testing beyond traditional strip tests and randomized research yield trials. Testing includes population trials in high, medium, and low yielding environments along with larger strip tests over multiple soil types and topography changes, allowing for multiple data points across hybrid entries at one location. In the future, this data can be coupled with the grower’s yield history and soil tests to get more accurate seeding rates, in the right locations of the field.

Between the Ears - Evolution of Prescription Farming

You can view the entire release here.

Deere Shows How to Be Accurate Up to 10 MPH

classic14-deere-kelbyImagine getting your work done at twice the speed you normally do! Producers attending this year’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio got to see more of John Deere’s new ExactEmerge planting system, which allows planters to be accurate at speeds up to 10 MPH. Kelby Krueger, product specialist with Deere’s Seeding Group, explained to Leah on the trade show floor that is quite revolutionary, considering that’s about twice as fast as farmers are used to planting using the old seed tube systems.

“The slower you go, the better your seed placement. Well, that doesn’t work very well when you have tight planting windows or when you’ve got rainstorms coming,” he said, pointing out that with ExactEmerge, you don’t have to choose between fast and accurate; you get both. “It controls the seed through the whole entire process from the meter, through a brush belt delivery system, and places it in the bottom of the trench.”

Kelby said they used high-speed video to see seeding errors with tube systems. They’ve been actively testing the new system in customer fields for the last three years, in a variety of conditions. In fact, for no-till operations, they found ExactEmerge really works well because it is built to stand up to rough conditions.

As expected with technology that doubles the speed at which you can get something done, ExactEmerge brought plenty of questions from farmers attending Commodity Classic.

“People are taking the time to come down here, try to understand how this system works, because they understand how revolutionary this will be for their farming operation,” Kelby said.

Listen to more of Leah’s interview with Kelby here: Kelby Krueger, John Deere

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

Case IH Talks “Photo Copy” Plants at NFMS

nfms14-case-hoegIt’s been a pretty tough winter in farm country this year, but as they say, hope springs eternal … or maybe in this case, we sure hope spring breaks this eternal winter! To be ready for the season ahead, producers need to make sure they have the right equipment in place, in particular their planters.

“If you don’t start right, nothing else works properly,” Bill Hoeg, Case IH Planter Marketing Manager in North America told Cindy during the recent National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. He showed off his company’s new line of Case IH Early Riser® 5 series planters, which allow farmers to move beyond picket fence stands to photocopy plants so that they can realize higher yields. “Photo copy plants allow the user to grow profitability from 9 to 22 percent, from a yield impact.”

Bill said the key is this new line of planters helps farmers better control compaction, depth uniformity, moisture and soil density. He offered visitors to the show to compare for themselves, touching and seeing the difference in a mockup between Case IH’s performance against their competitors in those key areas on yield. He also pointed out that with grain prices waning again, it will be more important than ever to make sure yields stay high.

“Inputs’ costs haven’t really come down, so the yield going up is going to be a real big benefit to our user.”

You can hear more of Cindy’s interview with Bill here: Interview with Bill Hoeg, Case IH

2014 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

Classic is Next Show for John Deere ExactEmerge

nfms14-exactemergeIf you missed the new John Deere ExactEmerge Planter at the 2014 National Farm Machinery Show, you’ll have another chance to see this baby at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio next week.

nfms14-jd-kelbyAt NFMS, I talked with John Deere Seeding Group product specialist Kelby Krueger who worked on the ExactEmerge project from start to finish. He says the new row units are a perfect fit for producers who want to plant more acres in less time due to narrow planting windows, or to increase the size of their operations without adding equipment. “It’s hard for planters to get wider, so we had to make it more productive,” Kelby said. “This planter here with 24 rows, at ten miles an hour, will be doing something close to 75-80 acres an hour.”

If you haven’t seen the unveiling of the new planter at NFMS, click here.

Listen to Kelby explain more about ExactEmerge and see it for yourself at Commodity Classic in San Antonio: Interview with Kelby Krueger, John Deere

John Deere Planter at NFMS photos

Sponsored by John Deere

John Deere Introduces SeedStar™ Mobile

nfms14-jd-seedstarIn conjunction with the launch of the ExactEmerge™ planters and MaxEmerge™ 5 row units at the National Farm Machinery Show this week, John Deere also introduced SeedStar Mobile to help producers better visualize, document, and access their planting data in real time.

The new John Deere SeedStar Mobile solution uses an iPad to provide critical planting information producers need to better monitor and document their planter performance in the field.

Mike Brandert, senior product manager at John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, tells us all about it in this interview – and below his colleague Diana Reed shows us what it looks like.
Interview with Mike Brandert, John Deere

John Deere 2014 NFMS Photo Album

Sponsored by John Deere

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

Details About John Deere ExactEmerge

jd-exactemerge-imageYou want details about the new John Deere ExactEmerge planting system? We got ‘em! Here’s a few from the press release:

The John Deere ExactEmerge row unit incorporates new technology that gives corn and soybean producers the ability to plant at speeds up to 10 mph while maintaining superior seed placement. The exclusive seed delivery system cradles the seed from the meter down to the seed trench maintaining optimal seed spacing in varying field conditions. The new system ensures superior seed placement at faster planting speeds and offers a 10 percent improvement in seed spacing at traditional speeds.

nfms14-john-deere-elenaElena Kaverina, John Deere Planters Product Line Marketing Manager, was glowing as she talked about their new baby. “The heart and the soul of this product is the exclusive trench delivery system that makes precise seed placement actually happen at higher speed,” she told us. “With this new technology, we control the seed positively through the whole delivery system. It starts with the meter that gently allows for a crisp hand off to the brush belt. It’s placed consistently in the center all the time and then it’s delivered to the bottom of the trench and then it is released at a real world trajectory that truly matches the ground speed and results in a dead drop.” Interview with Elena Kaverina, John Deere

John Deere 2014 NFMS Photo Album

Sponsored by John Deere

John Deere Excited About ExactEmerge

nfms14-john-deere-aaronThe folks at John Deere are more excited about the new ExactEmerge planter than they have ever been about any product in their history. “We’ve been able to design from the ground up a whole new technology,” said Aaron Wetzel, John Deere VP Global Crop Care. “Being able to provide to our customers unparalleled accuracy in the trench with great opportunity to enhance yield.” That goes for both corn and soybeans. Interview with Aaron Wetzel, John Deere

nfms14-john-deere-gregAaron says they have tested ExactEmerge with hundreds of farmers around the country and “every single one of them are just completely blown away” by the capabilities of the new planter. One of those farmers is Greg Smith of Cummings, Kansas.

“The guys from John Deere said ‘drive it like you stole it’ just go as fast as you can go,” Greg said. But, since he only raises one crop a year, he was a little nervous about that idea. Once they got up to 7-8 miles an hour, Greg had to get out of the tractor and check it out for himself. “Sure enough, seed depth and spacing was – right on, it was exact,” he said. “No joke, there was absolutely no difference between five mile an hour and ten mile an hour.”

He adds that the emergence was “unheard of – all the agronomists say you want to have everything come up within 48 hours, I think it was 48 minutes,” he said. Interview with Kansas farmer Greg Smith

Great question, Ben (in comments) – yes!! If you are not at NFMS, ExactEmerge will be on display at all the major farm shows in the United States this year – starting with Commodity Classic in San Antonio in just two weeks!

John Deere 2014 NFMS Photo Album

Sponsored by John Deere

John Deere Reveals ExactEmerge™ Planter

nfms14-john-deere-exactemergeGround-breaking, revolutionary, and just simply amazing are some of the words being used to describe the new John Deere high-speed, high-performance ExactEmerge™ planter, unveiled this morning at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville.

John Deere is breaking the planting speed and accuracy barriers of traditional row-crop planting with the introduction of a revolutionary new seed delivery system. With the launch of the ExactEmerge row unit for the most accurate planting at speeds up to 10 mph and the new industry-leading MaxEmerge 5 row units for planting at traditional speeds, customers can now plant with greater speed, accuracy and ease than ever before.

John Deere 2014 NFMS Photo Album

Watch the reveal below – and we’ll tell you lots more about it in posts to come!

Sponsored by John Deere

Hydraulic Down Force Leads to Up in Production

It’s hard to forget the spring of 2013 when growers had more rain then they could handle. For some they lost crops, for others the seed was planted a bit late. But 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.

Brett Buehler Ag LeaderTo learn more about how this precision technology works, I spoke with Ag Leader’s Brett Buehler during the 2014 Iowa Power Farming show. As explained by Buehler 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.

For many growers, last year’s crops were planted in wet conditions. (During planting the soil gets compacted and in essence turns in to cement so the roots can’t grow deep enough to access the water and nutrients they need throughout the growing season). “Last year was the perfect storm. We had a wet planting spring and it got dry during the summer. So the guys who used our Hydraulic Down Force System last year had tremendous yield,” said Buehler.

Planters still come from the factory with springs that growers have to adjust and it is hard to determine what the right adjustment is when field conditions can change in less than 50 feet. So unlike the air bag option that some companies have developed, Ag Leader went with a hydraulic actuator that in essence allows the planter to react nearly instantaneously.

“So instead of taking 30 or 40 seconds to compass the air to get the right amount of downforce,” explained Buehler, “we can react within a second with the hydraulic down force.”

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

Listen to my full interview with Brett Buehler: Hydraulic Down Force Leads to Up in Production

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

Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology

Raven & Kinze Collaborate on Multi-Hybrid Planter

ravenRaven Industries has announced a collaboration with Kinze Manufacturing bringing a new multi-hybrid planter control system to Kinze’s product offering. This past summer, Raven introduced the first commercially available multi-hybrid planter solution that allows growers to switch between two different hybrids at the drop of the hat.

Raven will be the technology provider for Kinze’s new 4900 series multi-hybrid concept planters that are being tested by farmers across the United States this spring. This planter will be the first to offer producers this capability as a factory-installed option. Beck’s Hybrid, the world’s largest family-owned independent seed company, will provide their agronomic expertise. Beck’s introduced their first multi-hybrid planter in 2012 and will be starting their third year of testing in 2014.

“Multi-hybrid technology allows corn planting to include precision hybrid placement,” said Jason Webster, Central Illinois Practical Farm Research Director for Beck’s Hybrids. “Placing the correct corn hybrid is one of the most important decisions a grower can make each and every year. Our multi-hybrid testing at Beck’s has shown significant yield gains and profitability by changing corn hybrid placement on the fly based upon varying degrees of yield potential throughout a field.”

“We’re very excited to see a quick adoption of this ground-breaking technology with one of the world’s leading manufacturers, Kinze. Growers will quickly realize the benefits of a multi-hybrid system and the resulting ROI through the use of that technology,” said Matt Burkhart, Vice President and General Manager for Raven’s Applied Technology Division.

You can learn more about Raven Industries and their multi-hybrid planter system at RavenPrecision.com.

Precision Planting’s Multi-Hybrid Metering System

MHInitial research has shown solid yield improvement when the right hybrid is placed in the right yield environment. In any field, there are multiple yield environments that are determined by soil type, slope, drainage plus dozens of other attributes. In order to place the right hybrid in the right area of the field, each row of the planter will need to be able to frequently switch between hybrids as it moves from zone to zone.

Precision Planting is developing a retrofitable multi-hybrid metering system that uses the innovated vSet® meter technology and the new vDrive™ electric meter control system. Meters are positioned to fit within the existing row unit frame and deliver seed to a single, standard seed tube. The electric drive system allows for instantaneous switching from one hybrid to the other – including the ability to plant each hybrid (and even each row) at different populations. The system utilizes the standard dual bulk seed supply tanks available on most planters.

Precision Planting demonstrates a new method of planting multiple hybrids within an existing planter row unit. The system uses the company’s vDrive electric meter control system to instantaneously switch seed delivery from the front meter to the rear meter… and back to front meter. The in-line meter orientation delivers seed from each meter to a single, standard seed tube.

After successful concept testing, the new technology will be tested over more acres and more environmental conditions in the throughout 2014. No schedule for commercial release has been determined.

Precision Planting Introduces New SpeedTube™

SpeedTube_vSet_vDrive copyA new seed delivery system now in development by Precision Planting promises to allow growers to plant corn and soybeans much faster than is possible with seed tubes.

Jason Stoller, Precision Planting Engineering Product Manager for the new SpeedTube™, says, “Available time for optimum spring planting is both limited and critical, and larger planters are not the answer to growing farm sizes. But planting speed is limited by the constraints of the seed tube, because high speeds lead to poor spacing.”

Stoller explains that SpeedTube solves these problems by controlling the seed all the way from the meter to the furrow. Feeder wheels at the top grab the seed from the disk and pull it into a flighted belt that deposits it in bottom of the trench. The SpeedTube belt spins at a rate that increases and decreases with planter speed and seeding rates, ensuring that the seed placement is optimal.

The SpeedTube concept development continues at a brisk pace, says Stoller, and more details will follow after the spring planting season.

Precision Planting is an industry leader in planter technology solutions. Founded in Central Illinois and now part of Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems, Precision Planting focuses on developing innovative products that improve the planting process. The company is also well-known for its unique and innovative approach to addressing the current agronomic issues facing growers and providing practical educational resources for planting improvement.