Top Tech Trends To Watch

In 2007, CropLife® magazine’s two benchmarking surveys — the Precision Agriculture Adoption survey conducted in the winter, and the E-Survey, a computer and technology adoption survey conducted in the fall, didn’t end up revealing any particularly sweeping trends in retail use of technology. But there have been significant changes in the technology arena under the surface, both for manufacturers of technology products and for the retailers that use them.

As the managers of our sister brand, PrecisionAg, we’ve been deeply tied into the world of ag technology from both the retailer and the grower perspective. So we’re taking advantage of our position here to prognosticate on what we see coming in the world of agricultural technology in 2008 — what will be hot, what will be not, and so forth. We’ll check back in this space in December’s issue to see how we did, whether we have something to crow about — or if we have to eat crow.

1. Power Of Telemetry

Blackberries have brought e-mail to everyone on the road, wherever the user happens to be. But e-mail is just one software tool in a potentially massive toolbox, given the right receiver appliance and the right hardware driving it. With improvements to the “handheld device of choice” and specially designed software, telemetry could bring enormous capabilities and tools to bear in agriculture.

It’s out there and working in the technology-leading industries. For example, in health care, doctors now carry tablet notebooks at patient visits, allowing them to write and submit prescriptions without picking up the phone. Cardiologists can receive signals from a monitor hooked up to a patient that provide real-time heart monitoring information anywhere the doctor can receive a cell signal.

In agriculture, software manufacturer SSI is working on a rollout of a new program that will use telemetry to allow a home base computer to communicate with applicators in the field using a program that runs on a cell phone. The program will provide turn-by-turn navigation from job site to job site for the rig operator, record and download application data in real time, and provide the ability to track the rig’s movement throughout the day. This isn’t about being Big Brother — using this information, it will be possible to route machinery more efficiently and to find inefficiencies that are not possible to detect from a distance.

2. GPS Steering Fully Matures

When GPS steering first debuted in 1999, it was largely reserved for folks who could generate enough profit to pay the hefty entry fee. Today, there’s something for just about every level of use, and most manufacturers have filled in their lines, either through their own initiatives or through partnerships with other manufacturers.

For example, Autofarm, which specializes in high end real-time kinematic (RTK) steering systems; and Raven, which delivered a wide range of steering options using free and subscription-based satellite signals, are partnering on product development to serve a wider range of customers.

Hemisphere GPS, which manufactures the Outback Guidance line of products, purchased BEELINE, which produces GPS steering software. Outback will now have the ability to add accuracy to its line of GPS steering products, which to date had just one entry in the RTK steering category, the Baseline.

As the market further matures in 2008, look for more of this type of collaboration, and potentially some market shakeout if companies can’t keep up with the trend.

3. GPS Everywhere

We’ve seen an explosion of global positioning hitting the consumer market, which is serving to bring price points down for basic equipment and has manufacturers thinking about ways to help consumers get the most out of the GPS systems they buy. Given the number of cars that build in GPS systems as a high end option, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that by next model year, GPS will be standard equipment on most vehicles. New product development should serve to keep prices going down, while improving functionality for all forms of GPS.

4. Growers Getting Technology

Implement steering, which actually steers the pull-behind tillers, applicators, and planters in addition to the tractors and ensures better row accuracy, has taken off among growers, especially those doing strip-till. A second technology, GPS controlled planter clutches, has been widely embraced by OEMs and in little more than a year has become standard. With growers gaining so much control over every row, from seed count to fertilizer application to tillage, their expectations of the accuracy from retailer service will be that much higher.

5. Food Safety

Could 2008 finally be the year that traceability issues come to the fore? After a number of disturbing revelations about food by-products coming in from China, and e-coli contamination domestically in beef and produce, the public — and in response, the government — have taken notice of the holes in our ability to track and trace food. Another significant scare with a national election on the horizon could push it over the edge.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
FertilizerTFI President To Give Update On Nutrient Management Efforts At Annual Conference
January 19, 2015
The Fertilizer Institute President Chris Jahn will give the keynote address at the 2015 Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference February 4. Read More
Green Valley Ag facility
Paul SchrimpfRightsizing Ag Retail
January 9, 2015
Seeking the right balance of facilities, efficiency and customer service will make our businesses stronger and, truth be told, more capable of competing effectively with the likes of Pinnacle. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
Has the app market reached a saturation point? Consider Google Play and the iTunes App Store combined have more than Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
Frogeye Leaf Spot on soybean
FungicidesFungicides Promising Yield Bumps In Tough Times
February 1, 2015
Some exciting newcomers should make selling fungicides easier. Read More
Seed/BiotechDow Details Enlist Trait Stacking Standards
January 30, 2015
Dow says it will allow the Enlist trait to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only, and will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready trait. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: IFCA’s Jean Payne on Illinois wat…
January 30, 2015
Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares insight from the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association conference including a chat with IFCA President Jean Read More
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More