Ohio: Straight On To Success

Our example of precision technology success in the eastern Corn Belt was an examination of Ag-Knowledge, a program of the precision consulting division of Central Ohio Farmers Co-operative, headquartered in Marion, OH. Program Coordinator Tim Norris, still working through the division’s second year, discussed his relationship with Fred and Tom Miller, a progressive team of farming brothers.

The Millers are highly motivated to try new things to maximize yield and farm efficiency. They are also very hands-on, doing their own planting, variable-rate fertilizer and lime applications, and harvesting. Tim Norris and the Ag-Knowledge program gave the Millers a chance to use technology to learn more about their fields and make better decisions, and save money.

Last year, the Millers had utilized the Beeline real-time kinematic (RTK) base-station driven automatic steering system for tillage and application, with a plan to expand their use of the technology in planting and harvest in 2004.

Norris provided baseline data analysis using SSToolbox. The key variables included soil type, rainfall, and seed variety. Combined with yield data at the end of the season, the plan was to determine the highest performing yields within the predominant soil types in the Millers’ farms.

In 2003, examining the data led to better identification of high-yielding varieties by soil type, which caused some reconsidering of hybrids thought to be poor performers, says Norris.

“There were some varieties we would have written off based strictly on yield performance data, but when overlaid with soil type it showed that we had judged too hastily in some cases,” says Norris.

In addition to the total farm data collection and analysis, Norris initiated a nitrogen (N) trial on 150 acres in an effort to help the Millers to determine the most economical N rate for corn.

“One goal was to use variable-rate phosphorus and potassium and apply sidedress N based on diammonium phosphate applied,” says Fred Miller. “The 180 pounds of total N and sidedress N rate varies according to the DAP applied. Where a high rate of DAP was used, we applied less anhydrous ammonia.”

Last year’s data suggested that an optimum rate of 180 pounds to 200 pounds of N per acre for most soil types provided economic benefit, but more data is needed, says Miller.

After the harvest, Miller says, “I will have two years of data on variable-rate N and may look at using an optimal rate based on soil type and yield goals for different soil types.”

Steering Benefits

The verdict on automatic steering has been clearly positive. The Millers had decided to switch over to Trimble‘s Autopilot system along with an upgrade to Ag Leader‘s INSIGHT in-cab CAN bus computer. The INSIGHT is able to run the Trimble Autopilot, a distinct advantage over the Beeline unit they owned in 2003.

“We were looking to make the switch to something that would be seamless and allow us to utilize some of the equipment our customers already own,” says Norris. “Trimble will be fully compatible with Ag Leader. This provides a huge advantage when we can use a customer’s existing yield monitor and GPS unit. And Case — the Millers’ equipment manufacturer of choice — is offering its machines as “Trimble ready,” from the factory, if the customer chooses to order it so equipped. With the advantages that Trimble and Ag Leader offer, I think we are on the right path.”

The only frustration is that the transmission of data between Ag Leader and SST is not completely compatible — specifically, data labels don’t always match or are in one program and not the other. This creates more work for Norris in the data analysis stage — not insurmountable, but not convenient, either.

The Millers own three automatic steering systems at this point — two RTK systems and one that uses the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). In 2004, they used the systems in planting, sidedressing, and for the harvest.

“The automatic steering worked fine,” reports Fred Miller. “I think we found an increase in acres worked per day, but our spring weather was so lousy that we never really got a rhythm going — there were too many rainouts!”

Overall, the plan does allow the Millers to see their fields in a variety of perspectives, and challenges Norris to keep looking for answers.

“There is definitely more collaboration between the Millers and myself,” says Norris. “We get in touch with each other at least once every week, and it’s great to be able to be in such close contact with customers.”

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Winter 2004 issue of PrecisionAg Special Reports.

Leave a Reply

Grower Services & Solutions Stories
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareClimate Adds New Features, Restructures FieldView Pricing
August 30, 2017
The Climate Corp. announced at Farm Progress Show the addition of new features and data connectivity enhancements for the 2018 Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsFarmobile Launches Farmobile Pro Tier with Universal File Transfer
August 28, 2017
Farmobile today announced the launch of a new subscription service, Farmobile Pro. Farmobile Pro includes significant technology advancements including the Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsSyngenta, Premier Crop Systems Partner to Offer ROI Analysis Maps
August 28, 2017
Syngenta and Premier Crop Systems announce a commercial partnership to bring growers customized, variable-cost-per-bushel analysis maps — the first of Read More
Data ManagementBASF, Proagrica to Jointly Develop Farm Management System Interface
August 24, 2017
BASF and Proagrica have signed a development and operation agreement to bring one of the first farm management system interfaces Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment for a More Sustainable Future
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights in Precision Agriculture
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversBlue River, Deere Deal Will Accelerate Farm Robot Innovation
September 11, 2017
No, Blue River Co-founder and CEO Jorge Heraud has not been deposed — Gaddafi-style — by big, bad corporate overlord Read More
Farming at Sunset
Business ManagementAgtech Issues: The Shiny Object Syndrome
September 6, 2017
Do you remember those cartoons where someone lures someone else by placing a piece of candy, small amount of money, Read More
AgQuip overview
Australia/New ZealandAgQuip 2017 Displays New Ag Technology in Australia
August 28, 2017
The annual AgQuip field days took place in Gunnedah, NSW on August 22-24. Being the largest agricultural field days in Read More
Latest News
Australian Harvest
Australia/New ZealandAustralia: Data Deal to Make Digital Information More A…
September 25, 2017
The announcement of a three-year collaboration between one of Australia’s most well-known agriculture technology providers, Precision Agriculture, and Federation University Read More
Mahindra-Photo-Money-Control
AsiaDrones for Soil Mapping? Mahindra Says Why Not
September 25, 2017
The Mumbai-based company is in talks with the Indian government seeking approval to make drones a part of farming methods, Read More
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Te…
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Kray Drone Application
DronesCrop Spraying Drone Manufacturer Kray Technologies Gets…
September 22, 2017
Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) has reached an agreement on investment into Kray Technologies company, which manufactures Kray Protection industrial robotic Read More
Imagery/SensingPlanet Announces New Hi-Res Imagery Products
September 21, 2017
Since our acquisition of Terra Bella, and the SkySat constellation of seven satellites, we’ve been focused on making this high-resolution Read More
Systems ManagementBayer Dismisses Antitrust Concerns about Digital Farmin…
September 20, 2017
Bayer said it was unable to propose the sale of any digital farming assets to allay EU concerns about its Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Robotics Specialty Crops
EventsPrecision in Specialty Crops Gains Momentum
September 20, 2017
When John Deere acquired Blue River Technologies (BRT) recently, BRT’s See & Spray technology received plenty of play. Yet many Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSyngenta Helps Lead Efforts for Farm Management Softwar…
September 19, 2017
Ag data from tractors, combines, planters, and other farm machinery present a huge opportunity for growers to manage their operations Read More
Petra-Andren-Cicada-Innovations
Australia/New ZealandGrowLab’s Rocket Fuel for AgTech in Australia
September 19, 2017
Despite its superpower status as a producer and exporter of agricultural goods and services, up until now Australia has had Read More
CropIn-Team-Photo-credit-BW-Disrupt
AsiaCropIn Aims to be a Global Leader in AgTech Sector
September 19, 2017
Krishna Kumar created AgTech startup, CropIn Technology in 2010, along with co-founders Kunal Prasad and Chittranjan Jena. The trio went Read More
China-Beidou-Navigation-Satellite-System
AsiaChina’s Navigation System Gets Powerful Chip to I…
September 18, 2017
A new powerful chip technology has been introduced in China’s national satellite navigation system to provide high-precision positioning, according to Read More
Tablet Grower
Industry NewsFieldReveal Names Hesse New CEO
September 18, 2017
Matt Hesse has been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of FieldReveal, a newly launched joint venture formed to deliver Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment…
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
Wheat sunrise
Australia/New ZealandSparkLabs Group Launches an Agricultural Tech Accelerat…
September 15, 2017
SparkLabs Group, which claims to be the largest startup accelerator group in Asia, is stepping into agricultural tech with a Read More
Sensors/IoTCollaboration Leverages Internet of Things, Sensors in …
September 15, 2017
The vision of having license-free community sensor networks for agricultural users has made a giant leap closer to reality. A Read More
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decis…
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
forbes-agtech-summit
Precision IrrigationImproving Water Management: Can Silicon Valley Help?
September 13, 2017
I recently attended the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, CA, where roughly 50 start-up companies originating from Silicon Valley and Read More