Outlook 2010: Technology

Last year was one for the books in terms of ag technology. While the headline news was mired in the difficulties of the general economy, the technology side of agriculture was evolving rapidly. What generated arguably the most buzz was at the manufacturing level, as OEMs made some big moves in the market in attempts to gain the upper hand in the market.

Trimble and Ag Leader, whose decade-long partnership had become strained in recent years, was finally severed in November when Ag Leader announced a new partnership with AutoFarm. The combination brings high-accuracy GPS technology to Ag Leader, along with access to AutoFarm’s technology R&D and some interesting new products like the ParaDyme. In return, AutoFarm gets access to Ag Leader’s dealer network in the Midwest. Ag Leader also struck an agreement with sensor manufacturer Holland Scientific, which will yield its first product for the 2010 season.

For its part, Trimble spent 2009 and late 2008 making acquisitions to diversify its product offerings, including software manufacturer FarmWorks, seed controller company Rawson Control Systems, planter clutch maker TruCount, and on-the-go sensor manufacturer NTech Industries.

Raven Industries also partnered with Auto­Farm on developing new technology and purchased a Canadian company called Ranchview Inc. late last year. Ranchview was a start-up company that developed products using cellular networks instead of the traditional radio systems for RTK corrections to GPS enabled equipment, and should provide Raven access to some interesting wireless technology.

Sorting Out CORS

Topcon actively released a number of new products as it solidified its partnership with AGCO, and last month TeeJet renewed its commitment to guidance technology with the release of its Matrix line of visual guidance products.

With all the major OEM players gaining in strength, absorbing acquisitions and integrating partnerships, 2010 will be a transition year as these companies settle in and engage in battle for market share. This is especially true in the trenches at the product dealerships, where new alliances are being created and old ones severed.

According to the CropLife/Purdue University Precision Adoption Survey taken in 2009, the use of automatic steering by retailers exceeded 50% for the first time. Considering that a truly commercially viable steering solution for Midwest row crops has been available less than a decade, and the survey has only been measuring this technology’s adoption since 2004, the rise of automatic steering has been meteoric.

But it’s not just about the hardware. Today, the big struggle for manufacturers is in trying to meet the demand for sub-inch, repeatable real-time kinematic (RTK) level accuracy steering. Private base stations were the initial way that brought RTK GPS to the countryside. Then came RTK 2.0 — networks of RTK towers were constructed led by companies like Trimble, John Deere, and AutoFarm, tying down larger regions of farmland with an always-on, subscription-based RTK solution.

Now, the buzz is about state-based CORS networks. These cellular based systems were designed to carry high accuracy GPS for use by departments of transportation in construction and surveying, but several states have opened up the networks for private use, including agriculture.

CORS is still a work in progress. Signal strength and consistency, in particular in hilly terrain but a general problem across rural America, can make it difficult if not impossible to hold a consistent signal. Recently, AutoFarm began offering a solution tied to its ParaDyme system that provides access to more than 50 cell carriers for a monthly fee through its modem, but most systems are not tuned for more than one carrier.

Considering that CORS has emerged only over the past three years, manufacturers have done a remarkable job of getting units on the market to meet the growing demand. But through 2010 dealers should expect improved solutions for harnessing CORS networks for best use in agriculture.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
Precision AgGrowing Demand For High Tech Agriculture Sparking Discussion
March 3, 2017
How can information technology be best harnessed to solve challenges in food and agriculture? That’s a question being asked more Read More
EquipmentWhat Does FBN’s Latest Attempt At Disintermediation Really Mean For Ag Retailers?
February 6, 2017
When Farmer’s Business Network (FBN), the Silicon Valley-based ag data startup that promises to leverage all kinds of on-farm data Read More
Farmobile Dashboard Heat Map
Precision AgFarmobile’s EFR Dashboard Brings Real-Time Metrics To The Coffee Table
January 1, 2017
Farmobile is one of many data start-ups that we’ve been closely observing with a sense of keen curiosity since they 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
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little 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
Latest News
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationARA: Sonny Perdue Confirmation Delay Simply A Paperwork…
March 9, 2017
It’s been seven weeks since the White House named former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) as the nominee for the next Read More
Storage Tank The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons To Sell Farm Center Locations In Florida
March 8, 2017
The Andersons, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its farm center locations in Florida to Wedgworth’s Inc., of Belle Read More
Nebraska landscape Photo courtesy of Richard Hurd
ManagementNebraska Water: Another Opportunity To Sell Value
March 8, 2017
Keith Byerly has been an Advanced Cropping Systems (ACS) Manager with York, NE-headquartered, No. 13-ranked CropLife 100 retailer Central Valley Read More