Kirkwood Students Show Off Precision Training At Machinery Event

Precision agriculture students from Kirkwood Community College will be demonstrating a yield monitor simulator at the Ag Machinery Conference, May 3-5 in Cedar Rapids. Using precision ag training equipment on loan from Case-New Holland, the demonstration will be a duplicate of a simulator originally designed and built by Purdue Ag Engineering students. Kirkwood students are recreating the simulator in a course called “Precision Ag Hardware.”

“The Precision Ag Hardware class is very much a hands-on class on installing and using precision ag equipment,” says Terry Brase, Associate Professor for the program. “I want the students coming out of the class understanding electronics and how a variety of hardware works.”

A team of students has collected and purchased all of the parts for an operating yield monitor and are in the process of mounting them onto a two wheeled cart. When completed the system will work much like a real yield monitor to calculate and display yield data, except that it will rely on hand pressure on the mass flow sensor instead of corn.

Putting together their own system allows the students to get a detail look at the connections and how a yield monitor actually works, notes Brase. Other Precision Ag Hardware projects include: installing air clutches and hydraulic drive onto a Kinze planter; setting up and diagnosing a problem with an New Leader CAN-BUS simulator; installing a AgLeader EZ-Steer onto a Deere Gator; and setting up an AutoTrac Universal into a Deere 7810.

Andy Osborn, a 23-year-old Kirkwood Community College alum of the Ag GPS/GIS program, works for Case New Holland as a precision farming tech support specialist at the company’s global headquarters. Now, Osborn is helping Kirkwood students construct the yield monitor simulator from scratch.

“We struggle finding good people who are not afraid of the technology,” Osborn said. “While a lot of colleges offer agriculture degrees, many of them don’t offer enough of a focus on precision farming.”

Students will have the “yield monitor in wheelbarrow” at the AMC 2010 and will discuss its construction with other participants.

“This is an opportunity for our students to interact with industry people; it will be good learning experience for them,” says Brase. “We hope people stop by just to chat with the students and learn more about them and the Kirkwood program.”

For more information, contact Terry Brase.

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