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

Tiger Sul Crop Nutrient Calculator
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launches New Nutrient Calculator App
November 12, 2015
H.J. Baker, a global agriculture firm, has launched a new agronomic nutrient calculator app. This innovative and powerful tool will Read More
Precision AgXS Inc. Expanding Ag Retail Reach With AgVeritas
November 5, 2015
AgVeritas, the patented cloud-based yield analysis application launched by XS Inc for the 2015 season, is making a significant impact Read More
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark Stateside
July 4, 2015
Western-Australia-based Agworld — having fully launched its data management software system stateside last year after a 2013 soft launch — Read More
SoftwareSyngenta Expands AgriEdge Excelsior Nationwide For 2015
April 22, 2015
Growers across the country can now take the guesswork out of improving their farm’s production, land value, farm stewardship 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
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
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More