Raven Takes Aim

New technologies have been streaming out from precision manufacturers at a breakneck pace for the past decade, a phenomenon that’s accelerated even further in recent years. In less than 10 years, automatic steering went from new invention to 50% adoption among retail dealerships, and use of high-accuracy GPS systems via RTK tower networks and CORS networks seems positioned for even more rapid market saturation.

One of the biggest challenges for manufacturers today is figuring out the best way to harness these and the many new technologies and upgrades being released for optimum utilization in agriculture. One such solution to emerge this winter is Slingshot from Raven Industries. Slingshot not only ties together key technologies of value to both growers and service providers, but provides dealerships and precision agriculture specialists with ways to improve service — and service efficiency.

“This is not just a product, this is a whole solution — a service and support infrastructure that we hope will substantially raise the bar of product service in the field that’s never been seen before,” says Paul Welbig, director of marketing for Raven.

Convergence Of Technology

It was possible to imagine a time when wireless capability would be an important built-in attribute for its Viper in-cab computer console, but it wasn’t until recently that all the components and infrastructure finally came together. Last summer, Raven acquired a Canadian company called Ranchview, which had done extensive work on developing cellular technology to work in rural areas. Ranchview’s technology and expertise, blended with Raven’s understanding of machinery control and logistics in agriculture, provided the groundwork for the Slingshot brand.

Slingshot actually acts as a separate business unit for Raven, featuring its own separately trained dealer network. It originates with the dealer, who has committed to implementing the program in a given area, to carrying the products necessary, and providing service to grower-customers.

“We have dealers signing up to be certified Slingshot dealers, making a commitment and sending personnel in for training,” explains Welbig. “We had our first ‘Slingshot University’ a few weeks ago, when we brought in technical folks to educate them on the inner workings of Slingshot and how to provide top notch service.”

Fully implemented, the Slingshot system starts with a certified dealer that has installed a base station, or has access to a CORS network. The Slingshot dealer offers users a radio modem and subscription that allows the user to receive RTK-level GPS corrections and high-speed wireless Internet via major cell phone towers typically within a 30-mile radius from the base station.

In addition to accessing the RTK signal and wireless Internet, the Slingshot system gives dealers the ability to directly connect to any Slingshot enabled modem anywhere in their service area through the Internet. Dealers can emulate the Viper Pro or Envizio Pro screen and see exactly what the grower sees on his screen, perform remote diagnostics, and even fix problems without having to drive out to the field.

Finally, wireless connectivity provides the convenience of file and data transfer, virtually eliminating the uncertainty and inefficiency of data storage disks. This capability will allow users to take full advantage of the AgX software platform, the standardized reference database from SST that Raven’s Slingshot, Viper Pro, and Envizio Pro will be compliant with in 2010. Running on the AgX platform will ensure data integrity, notes Welbig.

“Interest has been very strong,” says Welbig, “but this implementation of Slingshot nationwide will be a slow burn. We have been working really close with the dealers, getting them up to speed, and they are making a commitment on base stations, networks, and resources on their end. We have released the product and have been producing base stations for several weeks, and some are already deployed in various areas of the country.”

Raven has focused on its “wheelhouse” sales area from western Canada through Indiana. In particular, grower-customers in CORS-ready areas such as Iowa are getting hooked up. Raven has also released new Viper Pro and Envizio Pro software, which provides the necessary horsepower to connect to network and online services.

“There has been a lot of enthusiasm in the channel,” notes Welbig. “We’re investing a lot in getting dealers up to speed, and now we want to get customers calling dealers or calling us to find the dealer that can service them.”

Beyond Raven-manufactured devices, the company is working on making Slingshot compatible with other companies’ devices. “With some simple harness changes and cabling, most new generation hardware can accept external corrected messages from an external source,” says Welbig. “Typically, it’s a radio, 900 megahertz or 1.4 gigahertz that delivers the signal, and we are simply replacing it with our modem and delivering that same type of information to the receiver via serial port.”

Raven has developed an informational Website with more information about the system that interested dealers can access at www.ravenSlingshot.com.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
Raven Viper 4
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: In-Cab Computing Adds More Customization, Functionality
June 3, 2015
In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven Read More
AgEagle UAV
Precision Ag2015 Precision Agriculture Dealer Survey: Top Four Trends To Watch
June 1, 2015
Editor’s note: The 17th Precision Agriculture Survey was completed with partnerships among the departments of Agricultural Economics and Agronomy at Read More
Retailers
Precision AgThe Human Element Of Precision Agriculture
June 1, 2015
Editor’s note: The 17th Precision Agriculture Survey was completed with partnerships among the departments of Agricultural Economics and Agronomy at Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
Latest News
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta Recommends Soybean Scouting To Prevent Economi…
July 22, 2015
Proper soybean insect pest control begins with scouting. As the warm weather continues, Syngenta encourages growers to implement a scouting Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Launches Fall Sulphur Campaign
July 22, 2015
H.J. Baker has launched their “Keep Your Future Green – Use Tiger This Fall and Win Big” campaign. The campaign Read More
Central Valley Ag Randolph, NE
Retail FacilitiesStueve Construction Builds Fifth Facility For Central V…
July 21, 2015
Central Valley Ag partnered with Stueve Construction Co. to successfully design and build its Monroe, Oakland, Wakefield and Royal hub facilities Read More
FertilizerNew Research Could Lead To Less Reliance On Nitrogen, E…
July 21, 2015
Farmers often are required to apply nitrogen fertilizers to their crops to maintain quality and improve yields. Worldwide, farmers used Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Targets Farmers, AFBF In Syngenta Takeover
July 21, 2015
As Monsanto Co. struggles to convince rival Syngenta AG to discuss a potential merger, the seed and agrochemical giant is Read More
CHS Building exterior
Retail FacilitiesSackett Helps CHS Expand Blending Facility, Improve Acc…
July 21, 2015
CHS needed a blend plant that could vastly expand their capabilities in St. Charles, MN. The A.J. Sackett & Sons Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Adds To HR Team
July 21, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Barbara Sullivan has joined the company’s executive team as Vice President of Human Resources. Prior Read More