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agBOT Challenge 2018

Producers and sponsors of the agBOT Challenge are challenging innovators to push technology forward in agriculture by competing in the agBOT Challenge 2018.

Over the last two years, teams and individuals from coast to coast and everywhere in between have spent time on research and development to create innovative technologies capable of performing tasks in agriculture. Teams entered into the agBOT Challenge have showcased the newest technologies in agriculture, demonstrating machines capable of autonomously moving through the fields, planting seeds, identifying plant health, eradicating weeds, gathering layers of data and more.

The agBOT Challenge 2018 will be held at Gerrish Farms in Rockville, Ind. from May 17through May 19. Universities, entrepreneurs and private groups are currently being recruited to enter into the competitions: 2018 Weed & Feed on May 18 and/or 2018 Harvest Competition on May 19. Proposals and teams will be accepted until the event roster is full. To learn more about the competition objectives, please visit the website www.agbot.ag and contact Rachel Gerrish, Senior Executive Producer, rlgerrish@odeaulete.com to submit proposals.

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Apple Farm Service recognized with Pinnacle Award

Apple Farm Service has been awarded Case IH’s highest honor, the Pinnacle Award, in three categories for 2016. This year Apple Farm Service was awarded this distinguished award for operations, service, and Advanced Farming Systems.

The Pinnacle Award is to dealerships that show top level performance in key categories. Apple Farm Service earned their operations Pinnacle Award through excellent management of daily operations, their service award was earned through first-rate customer service and tech efficiency, and their Advanced Farming Systems award was earned through exemplary education, training, sales, and customer service with AFS technology.

Apple Farm Service has always strived for top-notch customer service with Case IH, receiving the Pinnacle Award in multiple categories for over five years in a row.

“We are already working for next year’s Pinnacle Award,” said Marketing Manager, Kent Holmes. “We are already taking the steps to qualify for this prestigious award for the 2017 year.

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Salford launches new range of precision granular applicators for cover crop and fertilizer application

Salford introduced the Valmar 56 series, a new line of granular applicators to replace its successful, long-running 55 series line. The 56 series granular applicators feature polyethylene hoppers, a new ISOBUS controller and the ability to control up to four separate metering sections.

The new 56 series was designed based on feedback from producers, and offers the same versatility, simplicity, and reliability as its predecessor — but with greater options and advanced features. Much like its predecessor, the 56 series quickly and accurately meters a variety of seed and granular product sizes at a range of rates. It is routinely set up for cover crop seeding with tillage implements, heavy harrows, high clearance sprayers, and a variety of other implements — allowing producers to accomplish more work with each pass.

“The most noticeable upgrade is the translucent, high-density, polyethylene hopper. The 55 series tank was made of carbon steel, which limited the use of corrosive products such as fertilizer,” said Brad Baker, Salford’s Product Manager.

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Give your grain storage system a harvest “report card”

Farmers keep a close eye on the yield monitor as their combines roll across the field. GSI (Grain Systems, Inc.) recommends that growers also monitor their grain storage system during harvest and rate its performance once the season’s over.

“Evaluating how well their grain system handled the harvest season, and what improvements may be needed, is one of the most important steps farmers can take to help prepare for next year,” said Gary Woodruff, GSI conditioning applications manager.

Woodruff suggests farmers keep track of any grain handling, drying or storage issues, and then give their grain system a post-harvest “report card” based on the following considerations:

  • Material handling: How well did grain handing equipment – dump pits, grain legs and other conveyors – perform in loading and unloading of grain? If bottlenecks were experienced, consider adding faster, higher-capacity handling equipment for next season.
  • Dryer capacity: Ideally, grain should be dried the same day it is harvested.
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Avoid costly problems in the spring by proper winterizing of your sprayer now

Avoid costly problems in the spring by proper winterizing of your sprayer now

It is very likely that you will not be using your sprayer again until next spring. If you want to avoid potential problems and save yourself from frustration and major headaches, you will be wise to give your sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) these days. Yes this is still a busy time of the year for some of you, but don’t delay winterizing your sprayer too long if you already have not done so. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing.  Here are some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year.

 

Rinsing

It is very likely that you did the right thing when you used the sprayer the last time: you rinsed the whole system (tank, hoses, filters, nozzles) thoroughly.

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Prevent injuries this harvest season: Be aware of common equipment hazards

As we progress through harvest season, consider the hazards associated with agricultural equipment.  Today’s agricultural equipment is powerful, very efficient and versatile in how it can be used. During harvest season a variety of equipment will be used both in the field and at the grain storage facility. In some instances farmers can find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and in a situation to be seriously injured by the equipment they are operating or working around.

Injuries from equipment can occur from some of the following reasons:

• Working on or around moving equipment

• Caught in or between equipment

• Working on equipment with stored energy (Example: Hydraulic cylinder)

•Inadequate guarding on equipment or guards have been removed exposing moving parts

• Incorrect hitching practices

• Not being visible to the equipment operator

• Unaware of approaching danger in the work environment.

Agricultural equipment share many of the same hazards that can seriously injury someone if the hazards are not recognized.

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Getting grain carts ready for harvest

Typically, the combine gets the majority of attention when farmers prepare for harvest. However, performing some pre-season preventive maintenance on grain carts will help ensure they’re ready to roll.

Brad Niensteadt, service representative and technology specialist for Kinze Manufacturing, offers the following maintenance tips to help ensure a smoother harvest.

  • Augers – It is important to check augers for noticeable wear because over time they will become smaller in diameter and diminish their overall performance. Inspect for wear especially where grain transitions from the horizontal to vertical auger, and from the lower to upper portion of the vertical auger. These grain transition zones are high-wear areas and when worn, can cause slow unloading, extra strain on other driveline components, and crop damage.
  • PTO/drive belts – Make sure they are properly adjusted and the serviceable parts of the Power Take-Off (PTO) shafts are adequately greased. Ensure safety shields and in place and retainment chains are attached.
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Salford Group brings tillage, cover crop seeding options to FSR

A trip down Equipment Ave. at the 2017 Farm Science Review will find a variety of equipment from Salford Group. Adam Fennig of Fennig Equipment gives a walkthrough of the specialized equipment offered by the company, from both the tillage and cover crop seeding aspects.

Dave Gunkelman takes us on a walkaround of the BBI spreaders found at the Salford Group booth during the 2017 FSR. The review runs through the 21st. Be sure to stop by booth 200 for more information.

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VIDEO: Homan Inc. has it all at Farm Science Review

In this video, Dale Everman of Homan Inc. talks with Ohio Ag Net about the company’s equipment on display at the 2017 Farm Science Review. Special focus this year is being paid to the Titan Toolbar, a piece of manure spreading machinery ideal for the needs of modern livestock operations.

A thorough walkaround and explanation of the ins and outs of the piece is available in this piece.

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Flexibility the name of the game for Geringhoff Truflex Razor

On display at this year’s Farm Science Review, the Geringhoff Truflex Razor combine header brings the unique care of draper technology with the immense flexibility needed in today’s modern farming. In addition to a foot of flex travel on each wing, the reel has three sections, giving higher visibility from the operator’s perspective when compared with most reels — split down the middle — obstructing the view of the driver. Those are some of the offerings that Geringhoff’s Scott Brown says sets the Truflex Razor apart from other’s on the market, detailed in this video ahead of next week’s Farm Science Review where equipment of all kinds is on display.

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World’s first self-propelled round baler unveiled

Vermeer has introduced a unique piece of equipment at this week’s Husker Harvest Days — the world’s first self-propelled round baler. The prototype ZR5 self-propelled baler looks to make quick work of any field while offering ride quality and maneuverability.

“Our patent-pending suspension technology allows operators to better handle the bumps and jostling that naturally comes with baling hay,” said Josh Vrieze, Vermeer product manager. “If you think about all those bumps over the course of the day or multiple days, ride quality can really impact the operator. In the ZR5, operators experience a smoother, more comfortable ride with the cab uniquely positioned over the suspension.”

With a nod to the lawn care industry, Vermeer has applied zero-radius turning to the steering system in the self-propelled machine. This feature allows operators to gain better maneuverability and driving efficiency than a conventional tractor-baler combination.

“Operators can spend less time turning in the field and more time baling.

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Deere acquires machine learning tech company

Deere & Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue River Technology, a calfornia-based leader in applying machine learning to agriculture.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture,” said John May, President, Agricultural Solutions, and Chief Information Officer at Deere. “As a leader in precision agriculture, John Deere recognizes the importance of technology to our customers. Machine learning is an important capability for Deere’s future.”

Blue River has designed and integrated computer vision and machine learning technology that will enable growers to reduce the use of herbicides by spraying only where weeds are present, optimizing the use of inputs in farming – a key objective of precision agriculture.

“Blue River is advancing precision agriculture by moving farm management decisions from the field level to the plant level,” said Jorge Heraud, co-founder and CEO of Blue River Technology.

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Reducing pesticide spray drift using a universal computational model

Application of pesticides using air-assisted, ground-based sprayers or airplane sprayers (or even drones in the very near future) has become a necessity to ensure high efficiency crop production. Meanwhile, intensive and extensive pesticide spray also has caused significant safety, health, and environmental concerns. Development of advanced precision and smart spray application technology and management can enable sustainable crop production and reduce the safety, health, and environmental concerns.

 

Off-target deposition and drift of pesticide

Spraying pesticides to suppress plant diseases or insect prevalence is a very complicated process. It involves mechanical generation of spray droplets, delivery of droplets to various plants, interaction of spray droplets with crops and the ambient environment, on-target droplet deposition, off-target droplet deposition onto ground, and off-target droplet drift in the atmospheric environment. Please notice that pesticide is typically sprayed as liquid droplets but sometimes can be applied as very fine dry dust particles. The U.S. EPA defines pesticide spray drift as “the movement of pesticide dust or droplets through the air to any site other than the area intended.” Obviously, we all wish a 100% on-target pesticide deposition because both off-target ground deposition and atmospheric drift represent not only as a loss of chemicals and waste of money, but also serious environmental pollution problems.

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May Wes expands product offerings

May Wes is the first to offer an after-market poly corn snout replacement for the Case IH 3400, 3200, 2600 Rigid, 2400 and 2200 Series corn heads and the New Holland 99C, 98C, 98D, 96C and 996 Series heads. The initial offering includes complete center row snout units for 30-inch row spacing. Presently the center poly snouts are available for delivery and retail for $762 per snout assembly. The end poly snouts are scheduled to be available soon. These new center row poly snouts are based on the popular GVL Poly Series II “Jack Knife” design that folds up, in and down.

 

Exclusive distributor of GVL’s Agri Poly product line

May Wes is the exclusive distributor of GVL’s Agri Poly product line. GVL offers two design series; the Jack Knife and the Rigid. The Jack Knife has double pivot points allowing the units to fold up, in and down for easy access for maintenance and optimizing storage.

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New RoGator C Series Row Crop Applicator from AGCO

AGCO introduced the RoGator C Series self-propelled row crop applicators and all-new LiquidLogic system, which will make its public debut during MAGIE 2017. The new technology-loaded, user-friendly RoGator and liquid application system deliver innovations needed to meet the needs of today’s crop production industry, professional applicators and farmers.

“With the prevalence of herbicide-resistant weeds throughout the country and the introduction of new herbicide systems to control these weeds, greater management and attention to detail will be needed for anyone applying herbicides,” said Mark Mohr, tactical marketing manager for AGCO’s application division. “The engineering and technology of the RoGator C Series machines and new LiquidLogic system are going to help operators simplify their jobs, reduce potential for off-target application, make cleanout faster, easier and more thorough and reduce product waste.”

The FlowLogic recirculation plumbing keeps product moving through the boom, plumbing and filters to reduce chemical buildup and help eliminate plugged spray tips.

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Beck’s introduces planter that changes row-width, hybrids on the go

A new planter for use in Beck’s Practical Field Research is turning heads. The multi-row width multi-hybrid planter is a joint effort by Beck’s to answer more questions being asked in the field of prescriptive farming. With the ability to change between 10-, 20-, and 30-inch rows on the go, researches hope to see what difference such customization can have on crops and whether or not the planter technology has a wider place in the future of farming.

The planter looks to be heavily used in corn, wheat, and double-crop soybean research in the 2018 season, as explained by Jason Gahimer and Rich Schlipf in this video with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood.

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Agri-Barrier a valuable Ohio-made farm product

Built and sustained with the hard work of rural west Ohio, Celina Industries is a unique company involved in nearly all facets of the custom textile business. One division of their diversified offerings is Agri-Barrier, a product that’s making a name for itself across the countryside for quality barn curtains with multiple technologies suited best for the conditions that farmers need it to weather.

In this video, we take a look around their hi-tech factory where their products are made, as well as a trip to the countryside to see their barn curtains in action.

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Apple Farm Service now offering Arrowquip cattle handling equipment

Arrowquip is pleased to introduce the newest member of the Arrowquip Family: Apple Farm Service Inc. of Covington. Apple Farm Service has earned their reputation within the agricultural and construction industries as a provider of top-quality equipment and customer service. They are now expanding their service into a new avenue by providing ranchers with innovative cattle handling solutions designed to benefit the rancher and the ranch.

“Their knowledge of high-quality agricultural and construction equipment is extensive, and we are confident that our cattle equipment is an excellent fit Apple Farm Service’s manufacturer lineup,” said Andrew Firth, Arrowquip president. “We are thrilled to have Apple Farm Service join our valued Dealer Network.”

Apple Farm Service Inc. was founded by Henry Apple in 1956, originally under the name of “Apple Chopper Service.” From humble beginnings as a small shop on Henry’s farm in Ohio, the business has grown to include locations in Covington, Botkins, Mechanicsburg, and West College Corner, Ind.

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Champions of agBOT Challenge 2017

Driverless robotic machines entered the fields of Gerrish Farms in Rockville, Indiana in June 2017. Universities and entrepreneurial teams showcased the newest technology in agriculture, demonstrating machines capable of autonomously moving through the fields to plant seeds, identify plant health with detection and eradication of weeds. Gerrish Farms and airBridge, along with Platinum Sponsors The Climate Corporation and Yamaha Motors welcomed the teams for competitions.

Muchowski Farms, CalPoly, Virginia Tech, Colorado Mesa University Team Grit, Ohio State, Lairdscape and PeeDee Precision Ag presented innovative solutions in the Seeding Competition on June 24. After a full day of in field demonstrations and presentations, Team Lairdscape was awarded $25,000 and the title of agBOT Challenge 2017 Seeding Competition Champion. CalPoly was awarded Second Place and $15,000. Third Place and $10,000 was awarded to Muchowski Farms.

On the following day, June 25th, Purdue, North Star Robotics, IUPUI, University of Regina, Muchowski Farms, Team Gizmoze, Colorado Mesa University Team Grit, PeeDee Precision Ag and Prairie Robotics provided the crowd with demonstrations and presentations of innovative solutions in the Weed & Feed Competition.

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