Boom Breakthroughs

Outback AutoMate system

Rate control, boom height control, and boom section control have become effective tools in applicators’ arsenals, though it may be hard to judge these days just who is taking advantage of them. For instance, manufacturers we talked with put total corn and soybean acreage utilizing boom section control in 2009 at anywhere from 20% to 80%. Harlan Little, technical marketing specialist at AGCO, would say 80% of the row crop and flotation units he sees are applying with the equipment, while at Hemisphere GPS — which leans more toward the grower market — Jeff Farrar, ground agriculture marketing manager, puts the figure at 20%. In any case, he can report that “sales of Outback’s AutoMate doubled in 2009 over 2008, and we expect to see that again for 2010,” he says.

Farrar adds that 5% to 10% of U.S. acreage is now seeing planter boom section control. Growers are buying into this technology specifically for the seed input savings. “Seed companies are pushing higher seed population rates, and if we’re not double planting in our turn rows, that’s money saved,” he explains.

Indeed, Raven Industries’ Tim Heins, product manager, says users really like the return on investment they get. “This is one of the precision products that operators can really pencil out what their savings are.” Raven has been at the forefront of the technology, with its controllers being utilized by a number of big rig manufacturers. Both Case IH and AGCO equip units with the AccuBoom, Raven’s advanced, custom applicator-level section product. “Automatic section control is one of the most requested and talked about precision farming technologies when it comes to application equipment,” says Case IH’s Ken Lehmann.

New in 2010, Case IH will be offering a Remote Section Control feature that allows the operator to turn on and off individual boom sections from outside the cab. Lehmann says this can be very handy when applicators are inspecting nozzles or performing a nozzle tip catch test. The remote option can be added for 2010 model sprayers equipped with AccuBoom and a Case IH Viper Pro or AFS Pro 600 controller.

Deere Moves

John Deere also entered into an agreement with Raven to give customers a more entry-level product — Raven’s SmartBoom just became available through Deere dealers in September. It’s for customers who want the full benefit of automatic section control but may be hesitant or may want to test the waters before going with a premium package like Deere’s own Swath Control Pro, says Jared Hayes, senior marketing representative. “We are seeing a large demand from customers who maybe have a different color tractor, but they have all green combines — they’re looking for more universal solutions,” says Hayes. “We’re looking into that and providing products that have more universal appeal to a broader customer base.” SmartBoom can be purchased from Deere for $1,600.

Deere’s own Swath Control Pro, which interfaces only with John Deere AMS displays (GreenStar 1800 and GreenStar 2600), can be activated at a cost of $2,500. Hayes says the unit, when combined with Deere receivers, GreenStar displays, and GS2 rate controller provides a very simple to operate, integrated system that’s very user friendly for automatically controlling seed, liquid, or multi-products.

Ag Leader AutoSwath boom control is part of the company’s DirectCommand application system, while AutoFarm has teamed its FarmPRO system with Raven’s Viper Pro. These systems make all kinds of boom work possible including variable rates, height control, and section control.

More Players

All manufacturers cite the financial benefits of boom section control. “Our customers were already saving 15% of their input expenses by avoiding overlap with Trimble guidance products,” says Jorge Heraud, manager for Trimble Agriculture Flow and Application Controls/director of business development. “Adding boom section control adds an additional 15% savings or more.”

Trimble introduced its EZ-Boom control system in 1996, which could control up to 10 sections. Today, with the company’s Tru Application Control (TAC) system, operators can handle up to 24 sections. “Being able to control more sections allows users to shut off more sections individually for finer control,” says Heraud. This feature is particularly helpful for irregular borders, terraces, or waterways.

Like many precision manufacturers, Topcon offers two levels of products. Basic systems like the System 110 can be expanded with modules such as the ASC-10 (new last year) that now allows operators to do rate control as well as auto section control for up to 10 sections. It runs off Topcon’s GX45 display. The company’s more advanced System 250 is based around the X20 console, basically “an office in the cab,” explains Mike Gomes, director, Global Marketing & OEM’s – Agriculture. It can handle auto section control for up to 30 sections.

Operators can configure TeeJet Technologies’ Swath Manager 5 to achieve zero overlap, zero skips, or 50% of section width overlap. The chemical savings from eliminating double applications can easily reach 10% or more, notes Scott Lauher, product manager.

“The future of this technology will be for manufacturers to reduce the width of boom sections — which creates more of them — but they shut off quicker,” says Case’s Lehmann. “You don’t need a full 15-foot boom section in an area before it shuts down; the smaller the section, the greater the savings realized.”

Heraud at Trimble notes that cutting-edge operators today are doing section control covering two or three rows per section. In the future, the trend will go toward individual row control. “And a state-of-the-art, 90-foot sprayer today has maybe seven sections. In the next few years, the sections will go from 12-foot to 10-foot to 5-foot to individual nozzles,” he describes.

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories

EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Adams Decline Weigh Blender
BlendersFertilizer Blenders Take On Latest Additives, Heavy Workloads
February 2, 2016
As agronomy and precision ag sciences continue to advance, blender manufacturers have certainly had their part to play. “We are Read More
The Tule ET sensor in wine grapes.
Precision AgTule Technologies: Monitoring Water Stress Can Unlock Potential
February 2, 2016
Although we mostly stick to the things we know around these parts (corn and beans), we’ve strayed from the traditional Read More
Wacker Neuson WL34
EquipmentWacker Neuson: A Big Reputation With A Small Stature
February 2, 2016
Many observers to the agricultural marketplace might not know the name Wacker Neuson, Menomonee Falls, WI. While the company is Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More