Focus On Blending

Kahler Automation, blending controls, employee

The renewed interest in corn this season will require more fertilizer inputs, and that will translate into a renewed interest in fertilizer automation.

“For so long the attention was on ag chemicals, and fertilizer was not as big a concern,” says Dave Junge of Junge Control, Inc. “Now with corn needing so many fertilizer inputs, growers appear to be increasing their yield goals per acre rather than the previous desire to increase acres. This trend will probably increase as land costs rise drastically.”

Junge, who farms 700 acres part-time, will practice what he preaches. “My goal will be to raise my yield expectation of 200 bushels per acre to 250 bushels or higher,” he says. “With commodity prices increasing so greatly, the old rules of nutrients will need to be re-evaluated as the previous economic yield held input costs down. Growers can now afford to push inputs higher.”

Increasing Expertise

Handling more fertilizer will require a higher level of software expertise at both megaplants and smaller facilities, and manufacturers are working to meet those needs. “The fertilizer plant has to be precise; that’s what the dealer wants from us,” says Steve Swift of Kahler Automation Corp., which provides controls for both liquid and dry operations.

The popularity of unattended fertilizer terminals continues to grow, and Swift anticipates that they will become larger with the move to ethanol. Kahler services unstaffed and multiple-outlet systems with its Web-based Terminal Manager program. Authorized users can use their Web browser to modify orders, view accounting history, and complete other operations, depending on the authorization level.

Flexible, Fast, Accurate

The complexity of having several outlets or several dealerships sharing one facility also is eased with Kahler’s Plant Supervisor blending software. Paired with programs from accounting/agronomic software manufacturers, the Plant Supervisor receives liquid or dry orders electronically, fills the blend prescription, and sends actual usage figures back to the agronomy software company for billing.

“It can handle different packaging requests at the same site, which builds efficiencies,” says Swift.

While Junge Control’s unattended load-out systems and software have been popular in the past year, the company also is selling these systems for plants attended by retailer personnel. “Quite often an agronomist will key in a blend weeks, days, or hours before customer pickup, and the plant people simply choose the customer and blend they are getting,” Junge says.

Servicing those with complex orders is one of the goals of E-Markets, Inc. A retail operation management system provider, the company’s systems cover operations from the time an order is made right up to invoicing.

Sometimes orders need to be split into multiple deliveries, and E-Markets’ CINCH AgriSuite Version 6.0 — with its newly added ability to handle multiple settings and multiple Ranco blenders — will time and schedule each. It then tracks the day’s deliveries on a handheld system.

“This makes it easy and accurate for the applicator to make changes on the fly,” says E-Markets’ Scott Cavey. “For example, he gets to the field and there’s a wind shift, so he can only do 30 acres instead of 80. Without the handheld unit, he would have to call into the plant, adding time and possible errors if the accounting department can’t read his writing later. The handheld unit docks it up and invoices are created.”

Application drivers aren’t the only ones wanting flexibility. Junge Control sales personnel have noticed a new trend: Prepaid fertilizer orders may be increased last-minute by growers this spring, and retailers want the blend formulations in the hands of the agronomist or plant personnel — not the accounting system.

Enhanced Monitoring

Retailers also want the ability to efficiently monitor inventory and secondary containment, and Murray Equipment, Inc. offers both.

“Many of our customers are looking into new ways to manage their product at multiple branches using the latest hardware and software,” says Murray’s Karl Hans. “The latest advances in communication products has given us the ability to connect the real-world applications using wireless technologies and Internet connectivity. This includes information monitoring such as tank levels, meter totals, and dike overfill conditions.

“Most information can now be e-mailed, text messaged, and paged directly from the equipment to the manager to give immediate feedback of locations,” Hans says. “This gives the manager the option to order product according to trends and usage, or to send personnel out to a sight with a tank leak, overfilling dike, or other remote site problems.”

New Developments For The Marketplace

There are still concerns about unreliable Internet availability in some rural areas.

“With the immediate need for loads to be delivered, a system designed improperly could cause downtime in our most critical delivery season,” says Junge. “So presently we are using the Web as a batch transfer, not a live access to database. We will continue to see this improve as more options become available and affordable in those rural areas.”

Junge Control hopes to have remote tank level monitoring, remote unattended load out ticket transfer, common data base solutions, and other Web solutions available or improved for the 2007 season.

The adoption of handheld technology also is a big issue going forward, says E-Markets’ Cavey. “Currently, the handheld units are built to be rugged, but they’re big and clunky, too,” he says. “In the future, they’ll be more sleek, more convenient, will include bar code readers, and could even be as small as a palm-sized unit.”

Leave a Reply

Software Stories

Junge Control Panels
SoftwareJunge Control Adds Distribution Supply Chain
November 4, 2016
Junge Control began automating agricultural blending systems in 1979. They soon invented the “Junge Weigh” system, an extremely accurate and Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agriculture Market
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
EquipmentDTN Launches Ag Retailer Focused Data Management Program
April 5, 2016
As farm data multiplies exponentially, ag retailers need help leveraging the power of big data to better serve their customers Read More
Junge Control Panels
SoftwarePlant Automation Takes Traceability To The Next Level
March 8, 2016
What began as a way to simply vary differing fertility products at different rates to create custom fertilizer blends — Read More
Trending Articles
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
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
Latest News
ManagementARA 2016 Report and Crop Mix for 2017
December 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent Agricultural Retailers Association meeting and the projected acreage mix for Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In …
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
Ryan Bartlett
Crop InputsCompass Minerals Appoints Vice President, Innovation An…
December 8, 2016
Ryan Bartlett, Ph.D., has joined Compass Minerals as vice president, innovation and product development. Dr. Bartlett will be responsible for Read More
HerbicidesHerbicides 2017: New Cropping Systems Set For Debut
December 7, 2016
Herbicide-resistant weed are inching ever-closer to a potentially frightening saturation point here in the U.S. Heading into 2016, USDA planting Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, 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
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
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 have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the 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