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

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
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
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Closeup
FungicidesSummer Fungicides: Still A Difficult Sell
May 6, 2016
About a dozen years ago, Asian soybean rust (ASR) was working its way up to the U.S. from South America, where Read More
ManagementGlyphosate, GMOs, and Plantings
May 6, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the latest news surrounding the ongoing glyphosate debate, biotech crops, and how Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionEnhancing In-Season Nitrogen Use Efficiency Is In The D…
May 5, 2016
Spring is here and crops are in the ground. Do you have a plan for your nitrogen during the growing Read More
ID3 Air Induction Flat Spray Nozzle | Lechler
Nozzles2016 Nozzles And Tips Report: Waste Watchers
May 5, 2016
Every year in the spring, ag retailers and their grower-customers prepare for the coming crop season. This involves prepping crop Read More
Industry NewsHELM AGRO Adds New Marketing & Business Development…
May 4, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the hiring of Troy Bettner as the company’s new Marketing & Business Development Leader. Bettner Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncont…
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Spray Drift
HerbicidesRoundup Ready Xtend: Silver Linings In Label Delays For…
May 4, 2016
Since 2014, Monsanto has trained more than 20,000 growers and retailers on all aspects of its new dicamba-tolerant system at Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Board Appoints New CEO
May 4, 2016
Syngenta announced today the appointment of J. Erik Fyrwald, currently President and CEO of the U.S. chemistry distribution company Univar Read More
Crop InputsIntrexon Establishes Crop Protection Enterprise
May 4, 2016
Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has announced the formation of Intrexon Crop Protection (ICP), a wholly-owned subsidiary dedicated to Read More
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesSurvey Provides Insights On Giant Ragweed In The Corn B…
May 2, 2016
A new survey published in the journal Weed Science offers insights into the distribution and management of giant ragweed, a Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlod…
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More