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

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
SST Analytics
Precision AgSST Analytics Helps Ag Retailers Navigate Down Economy
January 21, 2016
The next few years may be tough for ag retailers. High yields continue to depress grain prices while the global Read More
Casey Niemann AgriSync
Precision AgAgriSync App Named Finalist In AFB Competition
January 18, 2016
An Iowa-based agriculture technology startup company, AgriSync, participated in the American Farm Bureau Federation Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. They were one Read More
Trimble FmX TMX-2050 Field-IQ SwitchBoxes
Precision AgRate Controllers Tied To More Precision Tasks
December 11, 2015
Rate controllers reduce input costs — bottom line — and every grower is looking for ways to decrease seed and 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
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
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More