Your Choice, Air Or Ground

Aerial Application

So, you’ve got an order for an application of dry fertilizer to be applied by prescription map. But Mother Nature is managing to keep the fields just wet enough to make a ground application impossible. Could there be an aerial alternative in your future?

A group of individuals in Mississippi are trying to make this level of flexibility a reality by building on variable-rate dry fertilizer technology they have been field testing for the past three years. The vision is to make the prescription transferable from ground to aerial application, so the VRA application can be made regardless of soil moisture.

They are remarkably close to commercializing the process. Already, the aircraft can readily accept a precision map and execute a variable-rate dry fertilizer application when the map is designed specifically for the aircraft system. The final step, making the prescription seamlessly convertible from ground to air, has been tweaked based on last year’s experience and is being tested again this season.

A Delta Development

The nerve center of work on this technology is Cleveland, MS, where work began on dry aerial variable-rate four years ago. Air Repair, Inc., an agricultural aircraft dealer and service center in Cleveland, has acted as the laboratory for the concept under the guidance of President Pete Jones. He and his crew developed a hydraulic system that regulates fertilizer rate to adjust for changes in aircraft speed. This allows for an even upwind/downwind application in even the windiest conditions.

Air Repair is also one of the leading dealers for guidance manufacturer Hemisphere GPS, which is providing all of the global positioning equipment, including the receiver and cockpit display. Filip To, an ag engineer at Mississippi State University, has been working on the essential aspect of dry material flow control and how that is interpreted and controlled by the GPS system.

How the rate is controlled is relatively straightforward. “It is basically just opening a gate to a preset position,” says Greg Guyette, Hemisphere GPS, who has facilitated the Hemi­sphere’s contributions to making the system work. “The pilot calibrates the gate, and they put a profile into it so that it is opening to different levels for different types of dry material, which achieves a certain output.” Then, the Hemisphere unit makes on-the-fly adjustments relevant to ground speed changes and prescription requirements.

In initially developing the process, Hemisphere GPS created prescription maps to run on the system. Later, another local company, InTime Inc., began doing the laborious work of converting dry VRA ground prescriptions to aerial prescriptions. While it works, it is a time intensive process and requires a 10-cent per acre premium to get it done. The software developments being tested would eliminate the step and make conversion virtually automatic at the aircraft.

“Matt Peterson at InTime has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today, but we need to make this technology as turnkey as possible,” says Guyette. “We want it to be as generic as possible so that any pilot can understand how to use it, and everything just works.”

Jones and Guyette are going to be looking to take the technology more nationally in the years to come, with a potential focus in California. For more information on the technology, contact Jones via e-mail at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories

Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With VaporGrip Technology
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Award
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator With G5 Technology
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Championship Tractor Pull
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Highlighted By Championship Tractor Pull
February 9, 2017
The scream of monster engines, the stench of burning rubber and the ground-pounding vibrations of the country’s largest, loudest and Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
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
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
Latest News
Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With Vapor…
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Hires Manitoba And Eastern Canada Account Man…
February 22, 2017
Tiger-Sul, a global leader in sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, has announced that sales veteran Trevor Loewen has joined Read More
NFMS 17 Hagie Sprayer
Eric SfiligojThe Read From Louisville: Uncertain
February 22, 2017
By the time this column appears across the country, the annual Commodity Classic will be in full swing. This means Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator Wi…
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Agrees To Credit Agreement Amendme…
February 9, 2017
Pinnacle Operating Corp. has entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to its First Lien Credit Agreement that will provide for, Read More
ManagementUpdates on Upcoming Trips, Dow-DuPont, and the Des Moin…
February 9, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review a few future travels, along with the latest on big company mergers and Read More
Championship Tractor Pull
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Highlighted By Championshi…
February 9, 2017
The scream of monster engines, the stench of burning rubber and the ground-pounding vibrations of the country’s largest, loudest and Read More