Precision with Purpose - Nov 2018

$10. $20. $30. $40 or more per acre. If you apply fertilizer with the planter, whether by in furrow or off the row (2x2 for example) or both, do you know your cost per acre?

What if you could reduce your planter fertilizer cost by 50% or more?

What if you could reduce your costs and not reduce your yield?

What if you could save input costs equal to 3 or 4 or 5 or more bushels of corn? Isn’t that the same as growing 3-4 bushels more?

Actually, it’s better. You know the actual dollars saved. The bill from the fertilizer company for planter fertilizer is 50% or more less. Extra bushels are great, but they must be dried, stored, hauled, and sold. Their final value is unknown.

On our farm, we’ve been using a standard, continuous stream orifice system for our in furrow application. This year we switched to Capstan Ag’s Seed-Squirter system. Seed-Squirter only applies fertilizer when a seed drops. Therefore, it also autoswaths & turn compensates the application.

Together with our neighbor, we plant about 3,000 acres of corn. With the inputs saved, we were able to pay for the system TWICE (yes, 2 times) in 1 season. Next year those dollars saved can pay for tile or they may be our profit margin.

Check out our Capstan Ag page for more information on Seed-Squirter, but, better yet, give us a call or come by to learn more.

We’re here to help make your #Plant19 a success!

Should I upgrade?

It is a question I often get on a service call or at a farm show.

As we discuss their operation, it usually becomes clear which upgrades make sense.

The latest advancements in planter control, harvest, and display syncing are only available on the newest displays. Ag Leader's InCommand 1200 & 800 have these features. Ag Leader’s legacy displays (Integra, Versa, Edge, InSight) still work and work well, but they can not support the current feature set.

If you are struggling with your data management or want to start mapping, then some type of upgrade is in order. AgFiniti makes your data management easy and secure. It is available on the legacy Integra and Versa, but its true versatility and ease of use is only available on the InCommand 1200 and 800. You can also sync your data directly to an iPad using AgLeader's mobile app.

Eric Post

Eric Post

Don’t forget about nutrient distribution, autoswath, soil sampling, drainage (AgLeader’s Intellislope), VRA dry spreading, adding starter to your planter, and controlled traffic. All of these have an ROI too. Give me a call and take advantage of our Precision Ag Evaluation and be ready for 2018.

How do we make good decisions?

As we calculate profitability to determine what balance of crops we will grow in 2018 on our own farm, we discuss the “Wins” and “Losses” of our tests and observations over the last couple of years. What did we learn and did it provide a return?

So how do we make good decisions based upon our experiences? We measure. We gather our data and we take a look at it. Now, that doesn’t mean everyone has to be an expert in everything. Most of us have some trusted partners that we lean on. But, the first step is to gather good data. We can’t analyze what we don’t measure or don’t measure accurately.

One of our supposed “Wins” was a late season N application. We knew exactly where it was, because we had mapped the application. At a glance, it did look like a “Win”. However, after looking a little deeper and running the numbers, it wasn’t. A properly calibrated yield monitor with gps reveals the hidden truths.

Could we have gotten the same result with a weigh buggy and some stakes? Maybe. But, the time saved and the certainty of the results out weigh the cost of the equipment. Don’t forget, that same data tells you a whole lot more about your farm and your choices; such as, tillage practices, planting date, seed choices, drainage, and N applications to name a few. Without the data, there are no truths to reveal.

Whether you need help with the systems you currently have or are making your initial precision ag investment, we at Kelley Engineering are ready to be your precision ag partner. Give us a call today and be ready to measure in 2018.

A look back and a look forward ...

What did 2015 teach us? Well, for most of us, we were reminded that water is king. In 2012 we found out how much we needed it and in 2014 and 2015 (especially) we found out what too much of it can take. Some had record yields, some had average, and some were below average.

Ok, so what did we learn? Well, for each of us that will be different, but the opportunity to learn is the same for each of us. I am 47 years old this year and, if I am lucky, I have 25 or so more chances to learn and get it right. I'd like to get close at least a couple of times!

A few takeaways for us. These are not anything Earth shattering; more like lessons and reminders.

  • Nitrogen is good. We had gone to all side-dress NH3 for the majority of our N needs and that bit us this year. We will be pre-planting a portion, side-dressing a portion, and testing with our Y-Drop on a small portion.
  • Calcium is good; it appears. Maybe Calcium doesn't deserve all of the credit, but I believe our soils are softer and have better water infiltration than they did before we started to apply high Cal lime 6 or so years ago. That's why we did it, but it is still nice to see and feel the results.
  • Tile is good. We took a 50-80 bushel hit where the tile stopped. Gotta keep burying plastic.
  • Hydraulic Down Force control is good. It doesn't matter if it is Delta Force or the Ag Leader/Dawn system, it is a very useful tool with a great ROI.
  • Hiniker's Nitro-Lert is good. We used it ourselves and we have over 70 customers using it as well. It is a solid, simple, independent, and color blind system that just works. If you apply NH3, I highly recommend you take a look at it. It is as close to a slam dunk as you can get. On a 15 knife bar, it only takes 850 bushels of $3.50 corn to break even. After that, it is money earned.

Well, now it is time to move on to #plant16. Hopefully some of what we all learned can be put to good use. Also, some of us hope we never see that much water again. Whatever the weather, we all must now figure out how to pencil out a return. The small things matter again. As they always have.

Be InCommand of YOUR data in 2016!

Ag Leader has announced a new line of displays for 2016 called the InCommand 1200 and InCommand 800. I have included a link below for your convenience. These displays build upon the usability and color friendly nature that Ag Leader is known for and they also are compatible with your existing Ag Leader modules and steering systems to make upgrading simple (expect OnTrac 2 and 2+). Building upon the AgFiniti data transfer capability introduced last year, the InCommand displays can transfer your data directly to your tablet wirelessly via Wifi so that you can use it immediately (iPad only at launch). If you need to use the tablet, simply take it with you. I know Ag Leader isn't the only company with this technology, but as a Complete Package they are hard to beat.

On the data side, it is yours. No aggregation. Ag Leader will be developing APIs that will allow a 3rd party to access your data, if you choose; but only if you choose. Again, the ONLY interest Ag Leader has in your data is helping you get use of it. As I wrote in our 2015/16 brochure,

"It’s YOUR data - The Value is yours. Ag Leader has the tools to Capture it, Manage it, Analyze it, and Act on it."

Case IH, John Deere, New Holland

Thanks to our customers for the great response to our front mount tank brackets for the Case IH, John Deere, and New Holland tractors.

We now also offer a Rowtrac bracket that mounts after removing the front weight, thereby raising the tanks an additional 4 inches and lowering the total nose weight. If a customer prefers to leave the weight on, the original bracket is still available.

Thanks again and if you've just found us, please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to order a bracket.

Ag Leader AgFiniti and beyond!

Sorry. I couldn't resist the Buzz Lightyear reference.

Eric and I spent this past week at the Ag Leader Dealer Meeting. It was good to hear about the continued development that Ag Leader is doing across all of their products lines. Since their acquisition of Intellislope, they have been hard at work improving the interface on the Integra and adding features to their SMS desktop software. Lots of neat additions and refinements are done or in the works. All of the other products lines had interesting bits as well, but by far the most interesting and the one with the most potential was AgFiniti.

AgFiniti was announced at the Farm Progress in September. It is Ag Leader's entry into the cloud-based data storage and transfer market. Initially, we were only going to be able to transfer files, but in November they announced that Remote Support would also be available! We got to see it in action and it was sweet. There are a few limitations in the initial versions of both, but overall it is a great start. Of course, there are costs involved, but compared to the time saved by the customer and the dealer in the heat of the season it is a bargain.

An unexpected surprise was the announcement that they plan to offer Map View through AgFiniti sometime in 2014. No firm date yet, but this will be really useful. You will be able to upload any map and view it with your gps location shown on it through a browser on any device. Sounds like another great start!

There are 2 things to remember with AgFiniti versus other offerings.

  1. The data remains the user's completely. Ag Leader makes no claim whatsoever to the data. It will not be used in any way by them or 3rd parties or be aggregated in any way.
  2. The data connection will be provided by a cellular hotspot via wifi through your smartphone or tablet (if it has the feature) or standalone hotspot (e.g. Verizon's Jet Pack). The cool thing is you can pick the provider that works best for you and use it on the family vacation to keep the kids occupied during that long summer car trip.

There are many other things about AgFiniti that you may find useful and interesting (e.g. Sharing data with your crop advisor), so click "here" to go to Ag Leader's product page to find out more.

A new look for us and a data driven world!

Well, we've finally gotten around to updating our web site. The new look will allow us to post new content quickly and keep our product and support sections up to date more efficiently. We've also joined Facebook! A lot of change around here in the communication department.

Things are changing fast in agriculture as well. The technology we use to farm and to communicate has changed greatly since I came back to the business in 1999. Shortly before I came back, I was still using a bag phone. We had an Ag Leader 2000 yield monitor and looked forward to the quick and easy precision farming future that many companies promised was just a few years away. Apparently their definition of "a few" is different than mine.

Today, the technology and equipment we have available is fairly easy to use and robust. We can generate mounds of data about all of our field work, but to what end? Here are some points that may be helpful to consider.

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Is the data accurate? Did you calibrate like you were supposed to?
  • Are you taking the time to setup the console correctly to save you or your ag data analyst hours in the office?
  • Do you sit down and take the opportunity to leverage that data? Your data.
  • You've either invested a lot of money in products or may be thinking about it. How are you going to get a return on that investment?

At Kelley Engineering, we continue to grow and evolve in a ever changing marketplace. We want to work with you to do the same in your marketplace by realizing the full potential of your investment.

Thanks for your consideration.