Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, along with Bill Gates, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, today kicked off a two-day international open data conference, saying that data “is among the most important commodities in agriculture” and sharing it openly increases its value.
During Commodity Classic this year Dupont Crop Protection surveyed grower attendees and found that more than half of U.S. corn, soybean and wheat growers have changed their herbicide tank-mix strategies within the last three years. Changes include using new, different or more herbicides in the same spray tank. Nearly 67 percent of growers surveyed said they or a farm employee handle all herbicide tank mixing on their farm. The rest said they rely on custom applicators to do some or all of the job. The number one reason given for changing tank mixes was dealing with or preventing herbicide-resistant weeds. Ranking close behind was the desire to improve crop yield by reducing weed competition.
To help growers find a solution Dupont has created PrecisionPac custom blended herbicides. I got a tour of PrecisionPac from Davide Schuur, Cereal Portfolio Manager at DuPont. As he’ll demonstrate in the video below PrecisionPac creates custom dry soluble formulations for customers.
Helicopters are just plain cool, especially if you can operate them by remote control. The Aerial Precision Ag booth at AG CONNECT Expo sold out of their new Multi Ready to Fly units! Using mini hand controlled helicopters for precision ag field imaging work got a lot of attention. These four rotor units were also being demonstrated right on the floor.
I visited with Halee Janes, Aerial Precison Ag, a sister company to Cirrus Rotors, to learn more about these new units they were demonstrating. In the video below you can watch Halee explaining the new units and a short demonstration of them.
Halee says the ag industry can really benefit from aerial imagery for things like checking storm damage, crop production, water damage and getting that information very quickly. The footage from the included camera is stored on an SD card which you would remove and plug in to your computer. The starter kits on sale at the show include everything a farmer needs in a box. Included are a Hero GoPro 3 camera with an SD card that holds about an hour of footage. She says you can quickly get an aerial look at 60 acres, as in just a few minutes. These units can withstand about a 10-15 mph wind, travel up to 2 miles and as high as 400 feet. The batteries included give you about 16 minutes of flight time with wind and heat being the main variables. The units are also pretty customizable as long as you consider the weight.
The 2013 Commodity Classic is taking place in Kissimmee, FL. We’re on the scene and will be sharing some stories and interviews with you starting with our coverage sponsor John Deere. John Deere held a press conference this morning. Patrick Sikora updated ag media on what is going on with the John Deere FarmSight system that was announced at Commodity Classic two years ago. All of the many components of FarmSight will be tied into a farmers MyJohnDeere.com account. Those include: JDLink™; John Deere Financial; My Equipment; Field Connect; JDParts; AgLogic™; and StellarSupport™.
In addition to updates on FarmSight John Deere has also announced new in-cab mounts for mobile devices.
The proliferation of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices has made them popular and essential communications and information resources for today’s farmers and ranchers. As a result, John Deere is introducing mounting brackets and attachments to make it easier and more convenient for producers to have hands-free access and improved viewing of their mobile devices while operating equipment.
These new brackets include a cell phone mount bracket kit, a tablet mount kit, and accessory mounting bracket kit. They are all cross-compatible with current John Deere monitor kits and are customizable to fit each operator’s specific requirements in the cab.
Deere also announced an expansion of their Field Connect soil moisture monitoring system. Thes new environmental sensors include: Weather Station; Rain Gauge; Temperature Sensor; Pyranometer and Leaf Wetness Sensor.
In addition to the soil moisture data provided by the Field Connect system, the new sensors provide data on temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, solar radiation, leaf wetness and rainfall. The sensors are installed in customer fields as part of the Field Connect Gateway.
We recently caught up with Russ Mormon, Ag Leader sales representative, at the National Farm Machinery Show who told us a little more about Ag Leader’s Intellislope tile plow control through the Integra display.
Installing field drainage tile improves soil tilth for better root development, lengthening planting windows and providing better nutrient access for crops by removing excess moisture from the soil profile. Intellislope eliminates manual grade calculations, laser tripod setup and repositioning hassles which removes many of the challenges growers have faced in the past, allowing them to tile their fields on their own time, and more economically than hiring contractors.
Watch Mormon in this video as he gives a brief demonstration of Intellislope.
There’s a lot of information out there. So much, in fact, that some producers can find themselves drowning in a sea of data as they go from machine to machine trying to collect and manage it all. That’s where our friends from Trimble come in. During the recent National Farm Machinery Show, Trimble’s Mike Martinez talked about their Connected Farm system that allows easier and more seamless data gathering.
“Everything that’s out on the farm today that’s precision farming is collecting data. It’s always been a challenge what to do with that data, how to get it to the place it’s most productive. So Connected Farm grabs the data without much user intervention and wirelessly collecting that in one centralized location so that the farm manager, the farm operator can then make intelligent business decisions based on that data,” Mike said.
Not only does Connected Farm give you vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity in the field, but it also lets people back in the office tap into the technology in the field to troubleshoot any problems within minutes. It also has productivity reporting to help decision-makers see what is and isn’t working, as well as what problems are being faced in the field.
For producers concerned about the security of their information, Mike said there are some extremely secure technologies out there that Trimble is using. “Multiple redundant servers, your data is not going to get lost or hacked into. We’re using global standards for data security, and we hold that very, very important.”
And since you need to make sure the information your gathering is valid, in the video below, you can also see Mike explain how Trimble’s Correction Services helps make sure the data you’re using is accurate:
To do so at the National Farm Machinery Show I visited with Matt Wolfe. It was a busy show floor here on opening day and we thank Ag Leader Technology for their support of our coverage of this year’s show!
In this video Matt talks about the Hydraulic Down Force system which is available from the Ag Leader dealer network. Growers who want to control planter down force through the Ag Leader® Integra display can simply work with their local Ag Leader dealer to purchase and install the hydraulic actuators that will adjust down force pressure based on changing field and soil conditions instantly. Planting seed at the optimum row unit down force is an important factor in good crop germination, and ultimately, yield.
In November 2012, Precision Pays interviewed WineHawk Labs, a precision ag company who works in remote sensing, unmanned aircraft operations, field work, software development, GIS, GPS systems development, and pretty much everything in between. WineHawk Labs has continued to grow within the precision agriculture market all over the world.
Watch and learn more about WineHawk Labs as Ernest Earon (Chief Technology Officer) and Patrick Lohman (VP for Business Development) talk more about the company and the services it provides.
If you’ve been active in farm social media any time since last night then you have to know about a great Super Bowl commercial from Ram Trucks in alliance with sister company Case IH. Just in case you haven’t then here you go. In our newest Ram brand commercial, we dedicate 2013 to celebrating the American farmer. Share the video, and join the Ram brand throughout the year as we celebrate the people, the food and the lifestyle that keep America growing.
WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF THE FARMER.
And just to sweeten it a little bit how about helping the FFA?
You watch the video, you share a badge, the Ram brand makes a donation. Help us raise $1 million to support FFA and assist in local hunger and educational programs.
So watch the commercial. It’s worth it just to listen to broadcast legend Paul Harvey!
“With our hydraulic system we can fully adjust pressure from zero to full down force in one second or less,” said Will Cannon, product specialist for Ag Leader. “Airbag systems, because of some of the limitations with airbags themselves, it takes much longer – upwards of 20 or 30 seconds.”
With a 24 row planter at 5 mph that could mean as much as a quarter of an acre goes by before the system adjusts. “That one second is a big deal out in the field,” Cannon said.
Ag Leader’s Hydraulic Down Force System is available for this planting season for all John Deere planters and Kinze 3000 series row units. “We’ve got plans already for testing on White and Case IH planters and expect to have them available for spring of 2014,” added Cannon.
Some people were born with a voice destined for radio. Fortunately, Ag Leader training specialist Jessica Ahrens, who possesses all the qualities of a great broadcaster, decided to pursue a career in precision agriculture and is a member of the SMS Support Team! Many have heard her voice through a number of educational resources available including classroom training, free online webinars and the video tutorial series created to help growers use the software to manage their data.
The SMS tutorial videos are fast and easy to access from home or the tractor cab through Ag Leader’s YouTube channel. No more shuffling through a mix of guidance, hardware and software videos on the Ag Leader YouTube channel – SMS tutorials now have their own home at http://www.youtube.com/agleadersmstutorials. This YouTube channel is solely committed to all things SMS. Let Jessica walk you through your SMS software, and then take a minute to “favorite” the channel in your browser – this is one site you won’t want to forget!
The boys now have a new video just released, in the ever popular “gangnam” style, called “Farmer Style” – and it’s already hit nearly 200,000 views in less than a day. What’s really great about these videos is that they are reaching a wide audience via social media with a strong message about the importance of agriculture.
Watch, enjoy and share it with your non-farming friends!
Precision Laboratories has released an animated video that demonstrates the role foliar nutrition plays in agriculture and the differentiating factors specific to their unique line of Wuxal® suspensions.
The animated video provides an in-depth look at how plants receive nutrients and how an effective foliar nutrient program can benefit different stages of a crop’s lifecycle. The content is designed to educate applicators and growers on the unique benefits of foliar nutrition, as well as serve as an educational tool for retail management and agronomy sales representatives.
If you have never seen a brand new, empty dry terminal – here is your opportunity.
GROWMARK is opening a new dry terminal in Stuart, Iowa very soon – the first loads of product will arrive next week to test the system – and some of the agricultural media had a chance to get a tour last week to learn about it. The 15,500 ton facility will handle granular urea, monoammonium phosphate and white potash. It has capacity for 18 railcars with six 10 ton hoppers, five micro hoppers and a blending capacity of 300 tons per hour.
In this video, GROWMARK Plant Food Operations Manager Brian Hundman provides a behind-the-scenes look at the new facility in its nearly complete stage. You can also check out photos from the media tour last week in this photo album.