Lots of miles and several hotel rooms, but it's been exciting with all the new technology I've had a chance to see and to talk with company representatives about their products. Here are some highlights from the National Farm Machinery Show:
High-speed planting: John Deere unveiled their new ExactEmerge planter with claims of accurate planting at speeds up to 10 mph. That's possible due to the new row unit technology. The seed delivery system cradles the seed from the meter down the seed trench maintaining optimal seed spacing in varying conditions. EactEmerge features a new, rigid bowl-shaped meter and brush style doubles eliminator that requires no adjustment. It is designed to provide a smooth, crisp seed handoff to the brush belt which replaces the seed tube.
The unveiling was a definite show-stopper for as soon as the planter was unveiled (it had been under a black shroud), farmers swarmed around it to check it out.
Multi-hybrid planting: I also stopped by Kinze Mfg. to check out their new electric multi-hybrid technology. With it you can change the hybrid you are planting automatically as the planter moves through the field. This means you don't have to select an "average" seed variety for an entire field. You can choose hybrids to suit different soil types, etc. This is accomplished by new row units that incorporate two meters for every row. The meters feed a single seed tube so the row unit gauge wheels, openers, and closing wheels are identical to a standard Kinze 4000 series row unit.
Rhett Schildroth told me the new electric drive option eliminates the drive chain and clutch and thus they were able to orient the meters close together so they feed the single feed tube.
Farmers may get a chance to see the unit in the field this spring as Kinze will be working with Midwestern farmers this spring to showcase the new technology.
Transmit crop data wirelessly: Climate Corp and Precision Planting were at the show to talk about their Field View 2020 system that transmits information wirelessly from the monitor in the tractor cab to your Ipad, smartphone or laptop in real time. No longer do you have to take a card out of the monitor and stick in in your device. Data wirelessly transmitted includes date, variety planted, acres, field, plant population, etc.
The data can also be flowed into your Climate Corp account if you have one and allow it. That will help the Climate Corp programs provide better advice for your operation. Precision Planting and Climate Corp hope to have the system set up for combines this fall for transmitting yield data as well.
Obviously, there was a lot more – a whole lot more -- technology and equipment unveiled in Louisville. Watch future issues of Farm Progress Publications for details.
Planning wildlife habitat: While at Pheasant Fest I visited the landowner help desk. After pulling up aerial views of our farm on the computer, the Pheasant Forever biologist proceeded to show us ways to improve habitat for pheasants and other wildlife. It's one of the key features at Pheasant Fest for farmers and landowners.
Improve crop yields: Back in Iowa I attended DuPont Pioneer's "Advances in the Field" media update. We got background on corn and soybean research, stover harvest research, among other things. The key news was that DuPont, the University of Missouri and USDA-ARS are collaborating to pool soil mapping resource, predictive technologies and expertise to help growers more sustainably improve crop yield through better nitrogen application management and other field inputting.
The agreement will combine the strengths of each party in precision agriculture sensors and soil mapping, including characterization of soil types, topography and water-sheds. Enhanced soil maps will build on public soil survey data and support Decision Agriculture services provided by DuPont to help crop producers make more timely decisions.
More details on this project are to be announced at Commodity Classic next week.
Plant tour: Next week I'm off to Williamsburg, Iowa, to see Kinze's new factory addition and learn how they produce the 4900 planters using cellular manufacturing processes.
Never a dull moment around here…stay tuned.