GROWMARK and Deere form Data Collaboration

growmarklogoGROWMARK and John Deere are collaborating to make life easier and improve decision-making for producers and agronomists.

The two are collaborating to deliver near real-time field level data to producers and FS Crop Specialists by linking FS Advanced Information Services (FS AIS), a suite of precision agronomy software, with John Deere Wireless Data Transfer, JDLink™ and MyJohnDeere.

John DeereGROWMARK Agronomy Marketing executive director Ron Milby says they are among the first agricultural retailers to leverage the Wireless Data Transfer Application Programming Interface (API) for its precision agronomy decision support software, making data exchange faster and more useful for growers and its FS company staff. “The open platform John Deere provides enables farmers and FS company staff to use the FS AIS software to make decisions in near real time – that’s a win-win,” Milby said.

Ron says GROWMARK chose to work with Deere because they are a leader in the field. “I think they’re going to be a viable leader in the future,” he said. “We were headed to this base, they were headed to this base, and we were able to work with them.

Producers will utilize an efficient and secure interface between FS AIS and MyJohnDeere, taking advantage of both companies’ commitment to supporting better decisions through improved data integration at the field level. This includes the ability to easily transfer work instructions, prescriptions, and product lists to the GreenStar™ 3 2630 display. Yield data, as-applied maps and work records can be transferred back to the FS AIS software.

Find out more in this interview with Ron: Interview with Ron Milby, GROWMARK

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

Mass Changes for Solum Inc.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 8.59.58 AMSolum Inc. recently has changed it’s name to Granular Inc. and launched a new cloud business software and analytics offering for farmers. The new platform is now beta testing on several farms in the Midwest. Monsanto Company has also acquired Solum’s soil science business, which will be operated by it’s subsidiary The Climate Corporation.

The proceeds from the acquisition, along with a new $4.2 million round of financing from Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, are being invested into Granular to develop business software for the $3 trillion agriculture vertical. The funds will be used to expand Granular’s engineering team in San Francisco and sales and customer support teams across the United States.

“We were fortunate to develop two great business lines at Solum: an advanced soil science business based in Iowa and a cloud software and analytics business here in San Francisco,” said Sid Gorham, CEO of Granular. “The Climate Corporation is the right partner to bring our soil science innovations to their full commercial potential. For our part, we’re excited about building out Granular as a cloud software provider to help large farming businesses become more efficient, profitable and sustainable.”

Large farmers are managing highly complex businesses using general business software on an office computer. With Granular, they will run their entire business on cloud and mobile applications that are purpose-built for agriculture.

“There have been significant technology advances in farm equipment and agronomic science, but nobody has developed enterprise-wide business software for our industry,” said Kip Tom, who runs large farms in Indiana and Argentina and is chairman of Granular’s Industry Advisory Board. “The time is now for a software platform that integrates business planning and performance analytics across our entire organization.”

Granular gives producers the end-to-end visibility and control they need to improve efficiency and make smarter business decisions. Capturing critical production and financial data from each cropping cycle and using advanced analytics to suggest opportunities for financial, operational and agronomic optimization.

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

Using Technology to Create Efficiency, Increase Profitability

nbb-14-frank-legnerAt the recent National Biodiesel Conference a number of commodity groups were represented. Frank Legner, Legner Farms is a member of the Illinois Soybean Association and attended the conference to get an update on biodiesel for grower members back in Illinois. He talks about how he uses precision agriculture and Ag Leader software technology on his farm where they grow 50/50 soybeans and corn.

“We use SMS Advanced from Ag Leader because it gives us a lot of ability to write our own recommendation for fertilizer; we use SMS Mobile to go out into our fields and take our own samples, that way we can control the sampling sites and take care of the ground the best it can be. We use SMS Mobile for crop scouting – when I write recommendations myself, I can save the money on the acres that we do spread and that’s how I can justify the upgrade fees every year to keep my software new. And the analysis we run on soil types with hybrids, with population, helps us drive better decisions so we can know that we are putting the right product on the right acre due to past performance. What’s great it doesn’t matter what color.”

Legner Farms has truly adopted the use of technology to create efficiency and increase profitability. He goes on to explain how they have taken advantage of different precision ag company’s innovations and looks forward to seeing what’s next.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Frank here: Interview with Frank Legner

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Ag Leader SMS Water Management Module

We told you about the new SMS Water Management Module from Ag Leader Technology earlier this month, but we actually got a demonstration of what it can do at Farm Progress Show.

Watch Ag Leader’s Luke James give us a demo here:

2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Growmark and New Holland

Data Management Dilemma

There is a data management dilemma facing modern farmers who are collecting and using increasing amounts of digital data to run their operations and precision agriculture extension specialist Dr. John Fulton with Auburn University says addressing data management is a key issue for production agriculture. “Getting data off the machine automatically is the number one barrier that farmers say is keeping them from moving forward in data management,” said Dr. Fulton during a session at last week’s John Deere Product Intro for the media.

jd-intro-fultonFulton says bigger machines have led to more data. “There’s more to it than guidance systems, it’s rate control, variable rate, section control – all that technology’s built-in,” he said. “But how big is not really the question, it’s the processing that’s really limiting us” and that will need to be addressed on the software level. “Getting it down to where it’s organized, where I can view it, simply bring it up when I’m on the road,” he said. “The key to success is being able to visualize the data.

Dr. Fulton says farmers have told them in surveys that they need wireless data transfer that is automatic, simple and web-based, and they need local support to make it happen and he thinks the introduction of wireless data transfer for MyJohnDeere.com is an example of what is coming.

Listen to Dr. Fulton explain more here: Interview with Dr. John Fulton, Auburn University extension

John Deere Product Intro photo album

AgGateway Launches SPADE2

AgGateway_LogoAgGateway’s Precision Ag Council is building on its successful work to date on the Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) Project by launching SPADE2. While the first phase focused on seeding, the second phase will cover crop protection and harvest operations. SPADE2 will also build infrastructure to source the machine and product reference data needed to share crop plans, recommendations, work orders and work records across the industry. These advances will help drive the use of precision ag equipment for a number of basic field operations, enabling growers and agri-businesses to achieve tremendous technological advances, enhanced yield and improved net revenue performance.

The SPADE project will have global impact. The project’s proposed extensions will modify the ISO11783 standards used in agricultural machinery. SPADE is working to allow seamless interoperability and data exchange between hardware systems and software applications that collect field data across farming operations. This ability to share data will simplify mixed-fleet field operations, regulatory compliance, crop insurance reporting, traceability, sustainability assessment and field or crop-scale revenue management. It will also make it easier for growers to share data with their trusted advisors, suppliers and other value partners, and will lower the cost of entry for growers and ag retailers who want to use precision ag technology.

AgStudio Summer Showcase Event

AgStudioHeaderMapShots is planning to showcase the AgStudio line of software products on Monday July 15th, in Springfield, IL. The showcase event will be held at the Northfield Inn Suites & Conference Center.

Ted Macy, MapShots President, says “This summer’s InfoAg Conference will be the most significant in MapShots history. We planned this event to give our customers, and those interested in MapShots AgStudio, an advanced look at what we will be featuring at InfoAg.”

The MapShots team will be demonstrating the use of AgStudio for precision soil fertility management, variable rate irrigation and seeding, data analysis, and new business integration tools, including automated crop insurance reporting and AgStudio’s exclusive multiple boundary sets feature.

In addition, MapShots will be demonstrating the AgStudio Select web application. More than just a data viewer, AgStudio Select is poised to become a central part of the AgStudio data management solution.

FarmLogs Sponsor ISOBlue Project

farmlogsIn an effort to free farmers from vendor-controlled data, Purdue University has launched ISOBlue, an open-source project that aims to provide farmers, via smartphone, with easy access to agricultural data gathered by the industry-standard ISOBUS port located on tractors, harvesters and equipment. FarmLogs, the company that created user-friendly farm management software and mobile apps to help farmers plan, manage and analyze their farms’ operations, is contributing by making a financial commitment and acting as a mentor on the project.

Currently, farmers, agronomists and consultants cannot easily access the useful data that is being generated by farming equipment because of the proprietary data collection systems put in place by agricultural equipment manufacturers. Modern farming equipment generally communicates via a standard ISOBUS network to a proprietary monitor in the tractor or harvester.

ISOBlue’s goal is to free the data by creating a small, low-cost device that forwards the information directly from ISOBUS to the smartphone via Bluetooth. From there, the farmers can easily access the data in real time on their smartphones or elsewhere in the cloud. Unlike other expensive telematics solutions from vendors such as John Deere and Trimble, ISOBlue uses the existing data connection already on the farmer’s smartphone, saving the cost of a dedicated connection. In addition, the device does not require expensive hardware. Ultimately, ISOBlue will provide farmers with cheaper and easier access to their data, which can be used to increase production and cost savings.

FarmLogs will be exhibiting its farm management software at the IDEAg Interconnectivity Conference in Altoona, Iowa on June 26 and 27.

Pioneer Field360 Select Software

field360DuPont Pioneer is bringing the next generation of powerful Web-based field management tools to growers with the introduction of Pioneer Field360 Select software. This new subscription service combines field-by-field data with real-time agronomic and weather information to help growers make informed management decisions.

With a subscription to Pioneer Field360 Select software, growers can transform farm data into timely and actionable information. Multiple digital tools for monitoring and predicting field progress and growth stage, plus interactive field maps come together in the Pioneer Field360 Select software offering.

Pioneer Field360 Select software can provide growers substantial information about a field without the grower ever setting foot on the ground. This program is backed by soil, weather and precipitation data spanning many decades. It is also supported by Pioneer Agronomy Sciences data trials to determine growth stages of Pioneer brand corn hybrids.

Precision Pays Podcast: The future of crop scouting

pp-podcastiPads are becoming a great tool for scouting fields.  Purdue Extension has recently released their Corn and Soybean Field Guide in an interactive app format.  Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist says the app makes it easier for a farmer to diagnose problems in the field because of the in-depth resources available at their fingertips.

In this Precision Pays Podcast we’ll talk to Kevin Smith – part of the apps development team about how the app can better assist farmers and crop professionals in the field.

Precision Pays Podcast

You can subscribe to the Precision Pays Podcast here.

The Precision Pays Podcast is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology.

Farmers Field Test Monsanto FieldScripts

We first told you about Monsanto’s FieldScripts last fall at Farm Progress Show. Now we will be hearing much more from farmers using it on a trial basis in the field.

This planting season, more than 150 farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota are trialing the first offering from Monsanto’s Integrated Farming SystemsSM (IFS) research platform – FieldScriptsSM. With FieldScripts planted on more than 8,300 acres in Illinois, Ground Breakers® farmers there are impressed with how FieldScripts revolutionizes variable rate planting.

FieldScripts integrates Monsanto’s understanding of hybrid performance with the data farmers provide about their individual fields to identify the best hybrids and provide a variable rate planting prescription for each field. The process is led by FieldScripts Certified Dealers, delivered through the FieldView® Plus app on the farmer’s iPad®, and executed with precision equipment on the planter.

Ground Breakers farmer Mark Sturtevant in Carroll County, Ill. has planted several fields with FieldScripts and is excited about bringing together Monsanto’s knowledge of hybrid performance in multiple yield environments with the latest planter technologies, “If we can harness this technology, we’ll be able to increase our yield and profit potential. We’re working to put the right seed, at the right amount, on every acre. FieldScripts is a step in the right direction for the industry.”

While many farmers own variable rate planters, there has not been a simple and accurate way to utilize them. Traditionally, variable rate seeding has been based on soil type or normalized yield, but these methods fall short of revealing the true picture of what is happening in the field or providing a means to plant accurately using that information.

FieldScripts allows the farmer to accurately plant a lower seeding rate in lower-yielding areas of the field, and a higher seeding rate at higher yielding areas of the field, maximizing the yield potential of every seed. Monsanto research has shown that FieldScripts delivers a 5-10 bushel per acre yield advantage across the field as a whole, as compared with fields not planted with FieldScripts. In 2014, Monsanto plans to launch FieldScripts that will be delivered to farmers through FieldScripts Certified DEKALB® seed dealers.

Read more from Monsanto.

WineHawk Labs Becomes Precision Hawk

precisionhawkUnmanned aerial systems and remote sensing company Winehawk Labs announced they will release a new model of their successful UAV platform in May of 2013 to coincide with company re-branding. The change in company name, from WineHawk Labs to Precision Hawk, reflects a change in focus from specifically viticulture to broader agriculture where there is a great need for precise data collection and cost-effective platforms for farmers and surveyors.

The new UAV model, the HawkEye Lancaster Mark III, has a fully integrated sensor suite that provides more flexibility in data collection than the previous model. The small and lightweight fixed-wing platform, weighing only three pounds and measuring three feet nose to tail, is completely autonomous, running on the ‘fly and forget’ method. The user-friendly platform allows users to walk out of their back door, toss the platform, wait for it to come back and instantly have the data transfer to a preferred software location. The hyper-intelligent sensors allow for the collection of data on anything from plant research to crop production and protection and account for the current weather conditions to ensure reliable and complete data.

Precision Pays Podcast: Adaptive nitrogen management

pp-podcastWhat if there was a way to know if too much nitrogen is applied one year or not enough the next year – before the application is ever made?

Cornell University professor of soil science Harold van Es says by utilizing adaptive nitrogen management they’re trying to account for the many factors that influence how much nitrogen a corn crop will actually need.

In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, we’ll talk to Harold van Es of Cornell University about Adapt-N.

Precision Pays Podcast

You can subscribe to the Precision Pays Podcast here.

The Precision Pays Podcast is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology.