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How much do you value your data?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ask an expert in the industry about the importance of calibrating yield monitors to collect harvest data and they will most likely tell you, “It’s about how much you value your data.” That was the response from Matt Liskai, owner of Green Field Ag in Gibsonburg, Ohio. Matt has been working with yield monitors and other precision agriculture equipment since they first came on the scene in the early 2000s.

“Everyone has a different philosophy when it comes to calibrating their yield monitor for harvest data,” Liskai said. “Some calibrate their yield monitors once a season, and some will calibrate for every field or variety. It’s about the value you place on the data you are collecting and the decisions you will make with it. You need to ask yourself how important is it that the data you collect is accurate?”

According to John Fulton, OSU Extension Specialist for Precision Ag, and Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Agronomic Systems Field Specialist, geo-referenced yield data (i.e.

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Space age crop production on planet Earth

By Peter Ling and Mary Wicks

Growing crops in a completely controlled environment would appear to address many of the challenges farmers face from variability in temperature and rainfall to infestations of insects and weeds. However, replicating the “bioregenerative support system” that is Earth, is not easy. As engineers and scientists work to create such a system that would allow for long-term space travel or living, they are developing technologies that are being used to increase crop production at home.

 

What is needed for a bioregenerative support system?

This artificial ecosystem needs to provide everything required by humans to sustain life. Plants are the crucial component. They produce the oxygen we breathe, assimilate the carbon dioxide we exhale, transpire the water that can be collected for drinking and other uses, and process wastewater and absorb nutrients through their rootzone. Finally, as a result of all these functions, plants produce the food and fiber we need.

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Creamer Farm Drainage cab cam 2019

2019 Cab Cam Series presented by Homan Incorporated finds Bart Johnson in the cab with Steve Creamer of Creamer Farm Drainage. Steve is working on waterways with a Wolverine “ditching” tool. Steve says this is one of the most impressive and efficient tools he has operated in his excavation business.
Time savings and precision

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Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc. unveils grain cart scale and data management system

Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc. recently unveiled its next generation UHarvest Pro grain cart scale and data management system at the 2019 Farm Progress Show. Using its exclusive dedicated ISOBUS connectivity, the Unverferth UHarvest Pro system provides users with the most robust and reliable harvest data recording without the need for extra cables, displays or batteries.

Developed in collaboration with Raven Industries, the UHarvest Pro system offers unrivaled connectivity to the grain cart. A Bluetooth connection built into the grain cart’s module seamlessly transfers data via cellular to any Android or IOS mobile device with the UHarvest Pro app. Users can connect to their free Slingshot account to automatically generate professional reports to send to their crop insurance adjuster, landlord, or other trusted partner.  Users can also merge and edit the data to suit their business needs.

The UHarvest Pro system can easily be set up to record data in grower, farm and field format. 

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New soybean grain system promotes greater efficiency

R & C Rivers Farms has 850,000 bushels of corn storage capacity at their main operation in Mount Sterling. But for soybeans, they’ve relied on 30 smaller bins at their other farm sites in Pickaway, Fayette and Madison counties.

“It wasn’t a very efficient system and made hauling the grain too complex,” said Brent Rivers, the owner. “So, we decided to build a new soybean grain system to be more productive.”

Designed and built by local GSI dealer, Sims Construction, the new system is located about a quarter mile away from the main operation. It includes:

  • Two 160,000-bushel capacity dry storage bins with fans to aerate the grain.
  • A grain handling system that includes a conveyor, grain leg and bucket elevator to transfer harvested grain from a dump site to the storage bins at the rate of 12,000 to 14,000 bushels per hour.
  • And a 5,000-bushel capacity overhead hopper tank that can fill a 1,000-bushel semi-truck for grain delivery in just 4 to 5 minutes.
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604 R-Series balers offer versatility

Most forage producers share the same goal: produce consistent, high-quality bales. But there’s no perfect one-size-fits-all baler that will fit every producer’s needs. Some want simplicity and ease-of-use while others demand smart features, high speed and maximum output.

That’s why the new Vermeer 604 R-series balers feature a range of components, features and options. Three 6- by 4-foot models — Classic, Signature and Premium — offer unique combinations that provide the right levels of sophistication, performance, speed and versatility to meet the needs of just about every hay producer.

The 604 R-series balers start with a common foundation that offers every operator the longevity and durability he or she has come to expect from Vermeer equipment. In the new 604 R-series baler lineup, the platform includes features common to all three models, including a camless pickup and rotor design, a hydraulic density system and new netwrap system.

“The 604 R-series balers were designed to provide the features and functions that every hay producer needs,” said Bret Julian, Vermeer Director of Sales.

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Yield monitor calibration for fall harvest

By John Fulton and Elizabeth Hawkins

Harvest has not yet started here in Ohio, but it is good to remember to make sure your yield monitor is setup and calibrated properly. Geo-referenced yield data (i.e. yield maps) are being used to provide precision agriculture insights and recommendations at the field level. Yield maps not only help growers understand end-of-year performance within fields, but also can be used to characterize in-field variation. Information about this variation is often used by service providers to deliver prescriptions, recommendations, or other information back to the farmer. Because yield maps continue to be an important data layer to learn from and help drive changes or decisions at a field level, proper management of the yield monitor is critical to generate accurate and reliable yield data. Grain moisture and test weight, along with grain flow through the combine, will vary within passes and across fields. Therefore, the flow and moisture sensors on combines must be calibrated to these expected conditions in order to log accurate data.

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Planting practices affect corn stand, yield

Corn growers attending a recent field day saw firsthand what a difference planting practices can make in a stand of corn, even in a year plagued by wet and cold weather at planting.

On a 10-acre plot on Chillicothe farmer Brian Brown’s farm, growers saw side-by-side trials where row-spacing, ear counts and root systems showed how using optimum downforce settings, planting depths and seed singulation results in more even stands, more kernels and eventually higher yields. For example, dug-up corn plants planted with an automatic downforce system consistently into the moisture layer produced a large, much fuller root system, compared to the narrow root ball resulting from seed being left too shallow in the furrow by a planter with manual, static downforce.

The Aug. 7 event, co-sponsored by Ohio Ag Equipment and Seed Consultants, Inc., with technology and equipment from AGCO, White Planters and Precision Planting, is part of the annual AGCO Crop Tour program.

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Pay more attention this year to reduce spray drift

By Erdal Ozkan

Spray drift not only result in wasting expensive pesticides and pollution of the environment, it may damage non-target crops nearby, and poses a serious health risk to people living in areas where drift is occurring. Drift happens! It accounts for about half of all non-compliance cases investigated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. As you know, we are experiencing an unusual weather situation in Ohio and several other Corn Belt states this year. Wet fields have made planting of corn and soybeans delayed or in many cases forced farmers to abandon it altogether looking for alternatives such as planting cover crops. Either situation presents added caution when applying herbicides in terms of spray drift which is defined as movement of pesticides by wind from the application site to an off-target site during or soon after application is done. When exactly the same types of crops, such as genetically modified beans, or non-GMO beans are planted in neighboring fields, herbicide drifting from one field to another may not show injury symptoms.

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Darke County Fair gets use of New Holland T5.110

On Wednesday, June 5, The Darke County Agricultural Society received a brand new blue tractor from Apple Farm Service. Apple Farm Service gladly donated a New Holland T5.110 to the Great Darke County Fair to be used for the next six months.

“This is the second tractor that Apples has donated for us to use,” said Brian Rismiller, fair manager. “Last year we were given a Case IH tractor to use. We truly appreciate that Apple thought of us again!”

The Darke County Fairgrounds will have the opportunity to break in this new tractor for the next six months. They plan to use it primarily to rake the arena and maintain the horse barns.

“We’re happy to help the Darke County Ag Society!” said Bill Apple, president of Apple Farm Service. “New Holland enjoys working with their dealerships to support local nonprofit organizations like the Ag Society. Some of our employees have fond memories of showing animals and projects in the Darke County fair.

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Fendt unveiling new 900 Series tractors this summer

Fendt, a worldwide brand of AGCO, will introduce fully redesigned Fendt 900 Series tractors to North American producers at the 2019 Farm Progress Show, Aug. 28-30 in Decatur, Illinois.

Five new Fendt 900 Series tractors range from 296 to 415 HP and are all-around workhorses designed specifically to meet the needs of producers in North America and deliver unprecedented fuel efficiency, uptime and agronomic benefits. These new Fendt tractors offer many of the cutting-edge technologies of the Fendt 1000 Series and are built upon Fendt’s 90 years of engineering innovation and manufacturing excellence for unequalled reliability.

They are powered by six-cylinder, 9.0L MAN engines with the low-rev engine concept working in unison with the Fendt tractor management system (TMS) and Fendt stepless VarioDrive continuously variable transmission (CVT). With this combination, the engine operates at a maximum engine speed of 1700 rpm, providing exceptional pulling power, using less fuel and reducing wear on the engine components.

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Miami County Agricultural Society putting New Holland T5.110 to work

The Miami County Agricultural Society received a big blue present last week from Apple Farm Service: a new tractor! A New Holland T5.110 was delivered to the Miami County Fairgrounds on  June 10 for the next six months. This 114 horse-power tractor will be used for numerous tasks around the grounds, such as mowing, raking the track, maintaining the barns, and anything else where a utility tractor can help.

“We’ve already had fun putting this tractor to work,” said Nick Shellenberger, president of the Miami County Agricultural Society. “We’re thankful that Apple Farm Service thought of us when they ordered this utility tractor!”

The Miami County Fairgrounds will be allowed to use this new tractor for six months thanks to a community involvement project between New Holland and their local dealerships.

“Apple Farm Service is glad to give back to the Miami County Ag Society,” said Bill Apple, President of Apple Farm Service.

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GSI’s new 30-Foot Z-Series bin now available for 2019 harvest season

GSI’s new 30-foot diameter Z-Series Bin with Flexwave Technology is now available from its dealer network, offering greater efficiency and improved safety for the 2019 harvest season. The new model allows up to 21 rings of 4-inch corrugation with up to 47,000 bushels of storage capacity.

Z-Series Bins offer a revolutionary bin cleanout system, utilizing large liners that alternately inflate and deflate to gently remove residual grain after a bin is emptied. This first-of-its-kind technology provides over 99% cleanout, eliminating the labor intensive and potentially dangerous current practice of farmers entering a bin to sweep or shovel out remaining grain.

Z-Series Bins, introduced last fall in an initial 24-foot diameter model, are a higher-capacity and more cost-effective alternative for similar-sized hopper tanks with cone bottoms. GSI also plans a 36-foot Z-Series Bin allowing up to 21 rings with 68,000 bushels of storage capacity that will be available from dealers during the fourth quarter of this year.

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Ohio Ag Equipment agrees to acquire North Central Ag

Ohio Ag Equipment announced its intent to acquire the Huron County AGCO dealer, North Central Ag, LLC, on the target date of June 22, 2019.

The acquisition of North Central Ag will strengthen Ohio Ag Equipment’s ability to service the ag industry by providing customers in north central Ohio with an exceptional line of equipment and product support.

“I have enjoyed working with the ownership group at North Central Ag, LLC. I am very impressed with the knowledge and passion of the team and am excited to welcome them to the Ohio Ag Equipment family,” said Mike Mampieri, General Manager for Ohio Ag Equipment. “Over the past decade I have enjoyed the experience of building the foundation of North Central Ag with its employees and customers,” said Rich Polen, Owner of North Central Ag.

“As my family transitions into the next season, I’m confident that Ohio Ag Equipment will continue to build a business that serves the community for the long haul.”

With an anticipated successful closing on June 22, 2019, all equipment sales, parts sales and service will continue to be conducted out of the New London, Ohio location (100 Industrial Drive, New London, OH 44851).

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Finding value in sharing farm data

By Jenna Lee and John Fulton

What will sharing my farm data accomplish and what is the value?

Many farmers may find themselves thinking about this very question as they weigh the benefits and drawbacks of sharing their farm data. The potential to realize value from data can often stem from sharing it via digital technologies to service providers or other consultants. In many cases, it may be necessary for a grower to share farm data with multiple entities in order to obtain the largest return on investment possible. While many simple solutions have been presented to farmers that make it easier than ever to share data, the benefits and tangible value of doing so have not been clearly or accurately conveyed.

Sharing data for use in collaborative tools may result in benefits such as:

  • Reducing the number of duplicate datasets generated or collected.
  • Innovative digital tools allow for drawing of site-specific information and learnings.
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Apple Farm Service of Covington to host Kubota Field Event

Have you ever wanted to try out a new tractor, a new zero turn mower, or a new rtv? Apple Farm Service of Covington is giving you that chance with their second annual Kubota Field Event.

They will have over a dozen new Kubota machines to try. Join them at the Miami County Farigrounds from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 to test drive a new tractor, zero turn mower, or rtv.

“We had such a fun time last year. We can’t wait to host the second annual Kubota Field Event this April,” said Kent Holmes, marketing manager for Apple Farm Service. “We’ll be bringing our full line-up of Kubota tractors, zero turn mowers, rtvs, and plenty of attachments for anyone to play with! Mow some grass, scoop with a front loader, dig a hole with the backhoe, use a pto tiller, and speed down the road with a rtv!”

Along with test drives, Apple Farm Service will be providing breakfast and lunch.

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S.I. Distributing celebrates 40 years

By Morgan McCollow, Contributing Writer, Journal News – Spencerville, OH

S.I. Distributing was started by a farmer who wanted innovative products and loved tinkering, and that’s what the company still does 40 years later.

In the late-1970s, Joe Whitney, a grain farmer, was the owner of Spencerville Implement — a John Deere and a short line dealership in Spencerville. As a farmer, Whitney always looked for innovative ways to improve his farm equipment, which led to the formation of S.I. Manufacturing in 1979. This new company manufactured tools that improved the current farm equipment.

As a result of the Farm Crisis of the 1980s that brought high-interest rates, low crop prices, and more negative effects to the John Deere dealership, Whitney made the decision to close the dealership in 1986.

Whitney kept S.I. Manufacturing going, continuing to add on new innovative products to sell. Shortly thereafter, S.I. Manufacturing became the first U.S.

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Last minute planter checks can pay off big prior to planting

By Matt Reese

The sun is out, the skies are blue and the spring breeze is blowing, but the fields are not quite ready. What are some last-minute things to double (and triple) check on the planter before heading out to the field for the first test run?

Some of the most-common panicked springtime farmer phone calls to dealers involve the technology and planter monitor set-up questions. Many monitors can run self-checks on things like the row clutches, sensor readings and seed tubes, but the key is getting a start on this before heading to the fields to kick off the planting season, said Jeff Garrabrant, lead technician for Evolution Ag in Plain City.

“It is still wet and we still have some guys trying to get some corn off in the area. A  week or two before you are ready to go plant, the biggest thing is to get the fields and the farms put into the monitor properly and make sure you have the seed meters, the overlaps and all of the calibrations set,” Garrabrant said.

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Sub-surface nutrient placement options

By John Fulton and Trey Colley

Sub-surface placement of nutrients is a best management practice (BMP) in an effort to reduce off-site transport of P and N. There is variety of placement techniques and equipment which becomes important information as farmers decide a solution or suite of solutions to adopt. Frequently, it is unclear which types of implements are best suited to meet the nutrient management goals for a farm operation. Equipment capable of sub-surface placement can vary in horsepower requirements, placement options, and the level of surface disturbance. The “right” implement will vary from farm-to-farm based on the differing management strategies.

An Ohio State University Fact Sheet (Opportunities for Sub-surface Nutrient Placement in Ohio) has been developed to help review and understand specification of different implements for sub-surface placement of fertilizers. This publication can be accessed at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/fabe-56401. To help identify which implement(s) is best suited for your farm, the Ohio State Precision Ag Team compiled a list of sub-surface placement benefits and categorized available equipment options.

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