Posts Tagged ‘precision ag’
If you haven’t noticed, data is a pretty hot topic in the agricultural industry right now. With the rapid growth and adoption of precision farming products such as guidance, telematics, rate and section control, etc. – there has been, in parallel, a massive amount of data generated from global farming operations resulting from the outputs of these products. All of this data has created a wealth of opportunity for growers, agronomists, manufacturing companies, and other invested parties. However, many players in the Ag industry are still working to understand the best ways to utilize this data, so that these emerging opportunities can be fully realized.
Depending on where you sit in the realm of agriculture, there are different types of farm data that can be used in different ways to generate useful information. In the case of AGCO (being a machinery producer), we have identified an area where we believe there is an opportunity for our customers, dealers and AGCO to all become better. Our main interest as a company is utilizing machine data as a service enabler for our customers. Last month, AGCO announced a new service program that it will be rolling out to all AGCO dealers over the next few years. This program is called Fuse® Connected Services, and utilizes data coming from AGCO machines (with the customer’s permission) to provide enhanced services to AGCO customers.
The new service offering is enabled through AGCO’s telematics product, AgCommand®, and is delivered in the form of three service package offerings. Examples of some services that are provided include:
- Proactive condition monitoring (remotely)
- Machine Alerts (based on AGCO recommended thresholds)
- Machine performance and efficiency reviews (Off-season consultation)
- Full management of machine maintenance
- Technology review and seasonal training
Through use of machine data and AGCO’s network of resources, AGCO dealers are able to turn data into useful information that can be used to help customers run machines more efficiently, identify training needs, maximize uptime and more. The idea behind this is simple; managing a farm operation is a lot of work. The logistics and planning aspect of farming alone is enough to keep growers occupied. Having to worry about potential machine breakdowns, maintenance and operator training on top of that can hinder efficiency by taking time away from other value added activities a farmer is responsible for. AGCO dealers can help manage and monitor customer machines so that the customer does not have to worry about his/her machines and operators being ready to execute during crunch time, freeing the farmer to focus on agronomic decisions. Rather than selling customers a radio modem that gives them data points about their machines, AGCO dealers will provide them with services and information that result in actionable insights and recommendations based on the dealer’s expert analysis of the customer’s machine data. This will result in greater uptime, efficiency and profitability for our customers. It will also enhance the service capability of our dealers and even provide AGCO with another means to improve the quality and design of our machines.
The idea of using machine data as a service enabler has already been seen in other industries. Construction companies such as Caterpillar have been doing it for a while now. Telecommunications provider Verizon has a robust program in place for optimizing fleet operations, and has even started something similar in the automotive industry. Verizon’s Hum monitors your vehicle and lets you know if anything goes wrong. Furthermore, it will even recommend repairs and provide you with estimates as to how much the repair may cost.
Consider this—if companies such as Verizon have identified a market opportunity on consumer and commercial vehicles, imagine the opportunity in agriculture. For the most part, a vehicle gets you from point A to point B. Agricultural equipment does much more than that. Growers buy specific machinery to generate a return for their operation. Agricultural equipment is more so a tool than a vehicle. Thus, the value of maximizing the performance of that tool is quite important to owners as it more directly impacts their income and livelihood.
AGCO is taking a big step forward with Fuse Connected Services. We are already piloting this program today in NA, EAME and SA, with dealer availability beginning Q1 of 2016.
For more information on AGCO’s precision farming products, data management policy and Fuse Connected Services, please visit www.agcotechnologies.com.
Ryan Johnson is a Sr. Global Marketing Specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on bringing AGCO’s Fuse precision farming technologies and services to market .
By Matt Rushing
Rate and Section control technology is critical for farming in the future. Increasingly, it is becoming a requirement for farmers looking to reduce costs and improve yields. The adoption rate of this technology is high, but utilization is still low. Why are farmers passing on the opportunity to lower their overall costs while also reducing negative impacts on the environment? Education plays a major role, as does helping farmers understand what to do with the vast amount of data flowing from one stage of the crop cycle to the next.
Rate and section control is essential in controlling planting, seeding, pest management and nutrient application operations. Using Rate and Section control technologies such as Variable Rate Technology (VRT) and Automatic Section Control (ASC) effectively allows the farmer to reduce overall costs by helping to avoid double applying inputs on areas the machine has already covered, as well as getting the right amount in the right place based on the field’s needs.
Variable Rate Technology (VRT):
- Can help farmers optimize input costs by monitoring and varying different materials in the field to precisely plant seeds, apply fertilizer and chemicals based on prescriptions developed with the farmers trusted advisors
- Variable rate systems also record how those inputs were applied. This information can then be used to create prescriptions for subsequent operations and track the effectiveness of different crop management strategies.
Automatic Section Control (ASC):
- Avoid double coverage and eliminate wasted inputs due to overlap, field topography, soil conditions and obstacles
- Makes managing headlands and pivot rows easier when planting and spraying
- Allows spinner speed control for spreader application systems when applying fertilizer
- Improves yield by preventing overcrowding point rows with plants when seeding
In planting, both of these technologies allow real-time monitoring of seeding or fertilizer delivery information and can help identify planter malfunctions by catching them early before they cause huge yield reductions. By seeing the results of singulation analysis, skips/multiples, spacing and quality of spacing, the farmer can make better decisions and implement corrective actions faster to improve overall efficiency and yield.
In spraying herbicides and pesticides, overlapping inputs increases chemical costs while risking potential harm to the environment. Effective use of these technologies also contributes to managing impacts to zones negatively affected by chemicals such as waterways and public areas. The reduced use of fuel and more economical application of fertilizer under precision agriculture indicate rate and section control technologies have the potential to play a huge role in reducing air and water pollution.
Rate and section control technology is one important piece of AGCO’s approach to precision agriculture, known as Fuse. There are many opportunities for the industry and AGCO to teach and show the benefits of rate and section control technologies and encourage their adoption at a much faster rate through education and data management services.
To learn more about how AGCO is helping growers optimize operations and increase efficiency, visit www.AGCOtechnologies.com.
Matt Rushing is the Vice President for the Advanced Technology Solutions group (Fuse), responsible for AGCO’s Global ATS Product Line.
By Jacob Bates
6:00 AM: The alarm goes off for the first time.
6:45 AM: The alarm goes off for the fifth time.
8:07 AM: You find yourself in your classroom seat dreading the lecture you are about to receive, hoping that this isn’t the long awaited PowerPoint presentation that will lead to your demise.
9:24 AM: You find yourself slowly nodding off for your morning nap, the monotonous voice of your instructor providing a soothing tone that seems to induce a state of tranquility.
We all have fond memories of our mornings spent in the classroom from a young age, listening to the dull lectures where teachers and professors would dictate their intellectual knowledge to the students. (Well, maybe we tried to forget those parts.) But what we do remember are the exciting times when we got to actively engage in our learning and apply those seemingly boring theories in a hands-on environment. Those powerful learning opportunities allowed us to make use of intellectual concepts in a real world setting. In many cases the learning – or even the mistakes – that ensued was what stuck with us moving forward into our adult lives.
As adult learners, our learning process really isn’t much different than that of our youth. Recognizing these important educational concepts has helped AGCO’s Global Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS) Training team and other supporters within AGCO develop and implement a top-notch training platform for the agents at the Fuse® Contact Center. The Fuse Contact Center provides setup, calibration and operation assistance for customers using AGCO’s technology products. From the time an agent starts their role with the Fuse Contact Center, they are continuously educated. This begins with a solid foundation in the principles of Fuse Technologies products, AGCO’s machine and implements portfolio, and formal training in customer service skills.
Once this foundation has been laid, the agents take part in intensive field training activities where they have the opportunity to apply the concepts they’ve been learning in a real farming environment. As agents mature in their roles and areas of specialty within the group, the training continues to more advanced levels, allowing them to grow into the “expert” role for certain products that are supported. Back at the Fuse Contact Center the technologically advanced simulation systems allow the agents to maintain their skill level and provide the best support for customer calls.
Providing training in the field setting has been extremely rewarding. The constant level of enthusiasm and dedication that the agents show for Fuse Technologies is outstanding! They are always ready and excited to learn and apply new skills. This passion and product expertise has translated into world class customer service supporting operational, setup and calibration needs of customers using AGCO’s Fuse Technologies products – real people with real solutions, in real-time.
Jacob Bates is a Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Global Service Training for Fuse Technologies. To learn more about the Fuse Contact Center, visit the Fuse website.
By Amanda Wemette
Several recent news stories have highlighted a sobering statistic that global food production must increase 50-70 percent by the year 2050 to feed a projected population of 9 billion people. From tech firms and tech investment firms, to governments and a recent book entitled The End of Plenty, the public is beginning to rally behind an issue long familiar to those in the agriculture industry – we must do more with the land we have.
Around this subject, popular topics often include:
- The usage of fertilizers
- Water usage
- Big Data
- And more
Yet precision farming technology is often conspicuously absent in these discussions about how technology will help the planet become more productive. Those in the food and fiber production industries know technology plays a critical role in the future of agriculture. Diamond V®, an all-natural animal food manufacturer, cites “…food production must be the world’s new high-tech industry. An estimated 70 percent of the future increases in food production capacity need to come from new and improved agricultural technologies.” A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group also confirms the importance of precision farming for the future of agriculture.
Precision farming technology helps growers maximize productivity and increase uptime. It’s about increasing yields and reducing inputs through careful monitoring and optimization. Companies like AGCO have identified precision agriculture products and services as critical components for business success, and—more importantly—for successfully feeding the world. AGCO reaffirmed this mission with the launch of Fuse® Technologies in 2013.
Farm technology today is addressing pressing concerns such as labor shortages and environmental factors. For example, automatic guidance helps growers reduce overlaps and skips in the field, helps reduce operator fatigue and enables longer working hours. Telemetry and fleet monitoring help farmers optimize their machines and their operation as a whole. Downtime is reduced through logistics coordination and by carefully monitoring machine health. Growers can work smarter, not harder to grow more with what they have.
Guidance and telemetry are just two among many solutions available to farmers today that help them to be more productive. There are numerous solutions currently available, and future capabilities are limitless, especially as Silicon Valley and tech investment firms take notice. AGCO is thinking beyond more traditional opportunities too. The company is a proud partner in the Farm2050 initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the future of food through supporting AgTech entrepreneurs and startups. AGCO is also working to increase agricultural production in previously under-utilized lands, leading with the Future Farm opening in Africa, which includes precision farming offerings.
Advancing precision farming technology not only leads to increased efficiencies – it also leads to increased sustainability by reducing waste. For example, farmers apply fertilizers and pesticides in a purposeful manner based on crop need, instead of uniformly spraying an entire field.
There is no “silver bullet” to solve our agricultural challenges. Precision farming solutions are but one component of a very complex system, and should be included in the broader discussion as the public, the media and the technology sector take an interest in the challenge to feed our world.
Amanda Wemette is a digital marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse Technologies message to customers, dealers, employees and investors. Connect with Amanda on Twitter @AmandaWemette.
 According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
By Dr. Bernhard Schmitz
AGCO’s Fuse® Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia. Visitors learned about AGCO’s technology offerings that are currently available for the future farm:
- All technology enabled machines were equipped with Auto-GuideTM
- All technology enabled machines were equipped with AGCO’s telemetry system, AgCommand®.
- The open approach of the Fuse strategy was perfectly demonstrated with the presence of Precision Decision next to the Fuse tent. Precision Decision offers services around precision agriculture such as soil sampling.
The Future Farm perfectly showcases AGCO’s open approach by exemplifying how different agricultural business partners are brought together to connect and demonstrate the best farming practices for Africa.
To follow the latest updates about the Future Farm, connect with @AGCOcorp on Twitter and follow the hashtags #FutureFarm and #AGCOAfrica.
Dr. Bernhard Schmitz is a Commercial Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Fuse precision farming products for the EAME region.