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Rate and Section Control Technology Critical in the Next Wave of Precision Farming Evolution

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[1]. 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

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[2].

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.

 

[1]  http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/precision-ag/learning-blocks-show-variable-rate-application-payback
[2]  http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/81195/eib80_1_.pdf

 

New performance enhancing features for Massey Ferguson combine harvesters

Along with two new MF Activa models, Massey Ferguson is further enhancing the specifications and features on its combine harvester range to improve operation and performance for the 2016 season.

“We are now really seeing the benefits of AGCO’s recent significant investment in the harvesting facility at Breganze in Italy. This has introduced state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques and equipment that are further enhancing quality and reliability,” says Adam Sherriff Manager Marketing Massey Ferguson.

news_030815_mfbeta

 

“Customers are now also gaining from the investment in Europe’s most modern combine paint facility. This superior finish improves durability and increases the residual value of the combines,” he adds.

Faster unloading for MF Activa S combines

For the 2016 season MF Activa S, five or six straw-walker combines, will be equipped with a longer discharge auger providing faster unloading speeds.

Models with the Multi Crop Separator have a 5m long auger and unload at 105 litres/sec, while those without have a 4.5m long auger and unloading speeds of 85 litres/sec. The sectional concave, which can be changed through the stone trap, is now is a factory-fit option that increases threshing versatility in range of crops.

ParaLevel option for two-wheel drive combines

The unique Massey Ferguson ParaLevel system is now available as an option on two-wheel drive versions of the MF Beta 7360 PL and MF Beta 7370 PL combines.

The cost effective ParaLevel system will benefit farms, which have slight slopes up to 15% and rolling land, to improve output and grain sample without the need to invest in four-wheel drive.

ParaLevel also offers the distinct advantage of still allowing wide tyres up to 800/65 R 32s to be fitted and remain within 3.5m width for transport on the MF 7360 Beta.

AgCommand hardware standard on Massey Ferguson Beta combines

Massey Ferguson Beta combines are now supplied with the AgCommand telemetry hardware as standard. Options now also included a new Rockinger trailer hitch and factory-fit Sectional concave.

All MF Activa and MF Beta Flatland Combines are available with wear resistant components as well as in rice specification for added flexibility and, if necessary, without the straw chopper.

New Generation 9.2m wide PowerFlow header

Massey Ferguson is introducing a New Generation 9.2m (30ft) wide version of the PowerFlow header, equipped with the same SuperFlow auger first seen on the 10.74m wide version. At 762mm in diameter, the auger provides 41% more working area than any other design.

This offers unrivalled crop collection from the moving belts with a superb, even ‘heads first’ feed into the elevator. PowerFlow is proven to increase output in oilseed rape up to 70% and boost performance in other crops.

MF Centora eight straw-walker Combines and the MF Delta Hybrid machines are now fitted with a new yield meter, two central greasing points one on each side of the machine, as well as additional work lights and remote power points. A host of other small changes have been introduced to increase durability and for better operational efficiency.

Training Days for the Fuse® Contact Center

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.

Fuse Contact Center Training 2

Fuse Contact Center agents get out of the classroom for interactive experiences in the field.

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.

 

The Role of Precision Farming in Meeting the 2050 Food Challenge

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[1]. 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.

We must do more with the land we have. Source: 2013 Iron Solutions, Inc.

We must do more with the land we have. Source: 2013 Iron Solutions, Inc.

 

Around this subject, popular topics often include:

  • The usage of fertilizers
    and pesticides
  • Water usage
    and conservation
  • GMOs
  • Organics
  • 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.[2]” 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.

Trends that will shape crop farming through 2030

Trends that will shape crop farming through 2030 (Click to view larger)

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.

 

[1]  According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

[2]  http://www.diamondv.com/about/who-we-are/

Fuse® Technologies at the Future Farm opening in Zambia

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.
AGCO’s Fuse<sup>®</sup> Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia.

AGCO’s Fuse® Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia.

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.

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