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

Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coops
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More