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Embracing the Power of Precision
When Tom Farms looks at a technology to deploy, the company asks two questions: What is its utility and what does it do for the farm’s bottom line?
“With earlier technology like auto steer, it was easy to figure out because we needed to reduce overlap and be more efficient when diesel fuel was $4 a gallon,” says Kip Tom of Tom Farms. “Some of today’s technology is a bit more difficult to calculate in terms of ROI, so it’s a harder sell for farmers used to devoting dollars to iron and dirt. We operated with the same belief, but that has changed.”
As farmers, you tend to do things the way you always have because you know you only get about 40 opportunities to produce a crop.
“We don’t want to risk failure in any of those years. I think that has made us a little shy to invest in new technology,” says Tom. “The reality is, these technologies give us the ability to ensure we won’t fail and let us trial things in ways we weren’t able to before.”
The Precision Ag Journey
In order to make the move into precision ag easier for farmers, John Deere is packaging automated guidance and documentation services.
“Automated guidance is one of the first steps you take in your precision ag journey, and the adoption of this technology is, frankly, quite high. This transition we are making to package these services is a natural progression,” says John Mishler, John Deere tactical marketing manager for Core Precision Ag. “By having the tools in place to engage with precision ag from the beginning, we are helping you take those first steps to farm even better.”
Going forward, all John Deere Gen 4 displays will come with both AutoTrac and documentation in the base price as a permanent activation. This includes all of the company’s model year 2019 large ag machines equipped with the 4600 CommandCenter display.
Model year 2019 equipment includes:
- Large 7R, 8R/RT, 9R/RT/RX tractors
- S-series combines
- 4-series sprayers/spreaders
- F4365 High Capacity Nutrient Applicator
“We are combining these important precision ag technologies so that growers have a completely integrated, comprehensive, and seamless solution,” he says.
Shannon Norwood says, since the vast majority of large ag equipment today utilizes some form of guidance, it just makes sense that this feature is included with the purchase of the machine.
“We also expect that by having documentation in base and ready to utilize, customers will begin to see more power from their data,” says Norwood, who is the Integrated Solutions Manager at TriGreen Equipment LLC. “It takes an entire year to earn a report card for each field. We hope customers will also collect data from every field operation. We want to use a map of each field operation to create a profit map for the field.”
If an area of a field fails to show a profit, her team evaluates why to determine if there is a potential correction. They also want to evaluate the higher-producing areas of the field year-in and year-out to make sure the full potential is being reached.
“I think we’ll see more customers utilizing data in the future to ensure correct seed placement (not just depth and singulation, but also variety placement), to evaluate fuel consumption and how to better manage it, and to look for any way to increase field efficiency,” says Norwood.
Incorporating these technologies also ensures you get the most out of your machinery investment.
“Whatever job you are doing in the field, the precision ag tools we create allow you to do it at the highest quality possible,” says Mishler.