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Precision agriculture critical to sustaining crop yields

How high can farmers push yields using precision technology and how long can they sustain land at these high production levels?

These are questions that have perplexed North Carolina Crop Consultant Steven Valencsin for many years.

Instead of wondering about the benefits of technology to agriculture, he has set about finding ways to implement advanced plant production systems through his work with Growers LLC, his Raleigh, N.C.-based crop consulting and custom applicator business.


Via NCSU CALS, CALS Research, NCSU
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Free U of I app helps applicators with sprayer calculations

Free U of I app helps applicators with sprayer calculations

URBANA, Ill. - University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app to assist applicators with many of the calculations that are used when setting up and calibrating a sprayer. 

Pesticide Spray Calculator, or “Spray Calc," was developed by Scott Bretthauer, an Extension specialist in the pesticide safety education program. Spray Calc is now available free for both Apple iOS and Android smartphone platforms.

According to Bretthauer, the Spray Calc app allows users to select from one of four main options:

  1. Calibration: Allows user to calibrate four different sprayer types (Aircraft, Ground Rig, Turf Boom, and Boomless).
  2. PSI for GPM: Allows user to calculate required pressure (in pounds per square inch, or PSI) in order to provide a specific flow rate (in gallons per minute, or GPM), or do the opposite.
  3. Nozzle Speed: Lists the minimum and maximum speeds for a specific nozzle.
  4. Convert Value: Assists users with various pesticide application-related unit conversions.

Help menus are available throughout the app to provide users with both guidance on the function of app components and definitions for many of the listed variables. “For most variables, touching the name of the variable brings up a definition of what the variable is and how it is measured,” Bretthauer said. The developer also has plans to add a function to assist with tank mix calculations and more.

Spray Calc is available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sprayer-calibration-calculator/id899216316?mt=8 for Apple iOS devices and at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.illinois.extension.spraycalculator&hl=en for Android devices.

For more information, visit the July/August 2014 issue of the Illinois Pesticide Review athttp://web.extension.illinois.edu/ipr/i9001_829.html#128075. Members of the public are encouraged to contact Bretthauer at 217-333-9418 or sbrettha@illinois.edu with any questions or suggestions on additional functions.

News Source: Angie Peltier, 309-734-5161
News Writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183

View the entire article at the ACES News site.

To unsubscribe, please send e-mail to ACES-News@illinois.edu.

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Deere & Co: Plowing Along

Summary
  • Deere's latest operating results indicate continuing deleverage in the face of softness in agricultural commodities and decreased demand.
  • Though the company's long-term prospects remain sound and track record remains strong, near-term commodities headwinds will weigh on earnings for at least a couple more years.
  • The company is fairly valued currently, trading at a slight discount to a FVE of $91, though I'd look for a wider margin of safety, depending on your time horizon.

Agricultural equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. (NYSE:DE), managed to beat revenue and earnings estimates Wednesday, but only after previously guiding lower last quarter. More concerning, at least in the short term, was the company's guidance for negative revenue and earnings growth for the year, on the back of continued weakness in the agricultural commodities market. Apparently, the company sees so much softness in crop prices that it is scaling back its production significantly in an effort to adapt to the challenging environment. Though the share price has decreased of late, I believe that the stock remains only slightly undervalued to fairly valued at this time. Long-term investors may be willing to accumulate shares of this high-quality company on weakness, but investors with a shorter time horizon might do well to hold for now and wait for a larger margin of safety before applying new capital in this particular name.

What happened in the quarter?

Deere reported earnings of $850MM on the back of $9.5B total revenues, each down 13% and 5%, respectively. As others have pointed out, the diminished effect of revenue decline on earnings had much to do with a reduction in share float as DE continues with an aggressive buyback program:


A drop in equipment sales were responsible for most of the decline. Revenues for equipment sales decreased about 6% y/y, which was accompanied by some operating deleverage as operating and net margins for the segment declined significantly, by over 240 and 120 BPS, respectively. Management cited higher production costs and unfavorable product mixes as chief factors in the margin decline, which combined with lower shipment volumes overall and unfavorable forex effects to put significant pressures on the segment. This significant operating deleverage is probably what prompted management to cut back on equipment production. This move would be expected to stabilize margins (or at least buffer against further declines), which will probably prove to be a prudent decision for now, given that cereal prices are bound remain softer than in recent years, with bumper crops widely forecasted.

More favorably, the company's financial services segment produced improved results relative to last year, posting an improvement in net income of about 8.2% y/y. Management cited satisfactory growth in the credit portfolio, offset by a higher credit loss provision. Though this wasn't enough to offset declines in equipment sales, it was one of the few bright spots in the conference call. It was a middling picture for the remainder of the call, with sales and operating margin declines in Agriculture & Turf (-11%, -200 BPS) offsetting decent profit growth in the Construction and Forestry segment (19%, +520 BPS). The latter probably should have been expected with housing continuing to recover in North America.

With all that in mind, Deere management gave soft guidance for the remainder of the year, as is their wont. Revenue for Q4 is expected to fall 8% y/y (implying Q4 revenues of about $9.2B compared to $10B one year ago), and net income for the year is forecast to come in around $3.1B for the year. Again, with commodity prices falling, without any real sign of improvement in the near term, this shouldn't be surprising, though management did suggest that an uptick in US livestock activity would partially offset this with increased sales of mid- and smaller sized tractors and similar equipment. Looking at commodities forecasts, grain prices are forecast to remain flat over the next several years, whereas meat prices are forecast to steadily run higher.

Despite these cyclical concerns, DE has an extensive track record as a quality company. It has an outstanding dividend record:


And despite the cyclical industry it operates in, has managed to grow book value fairly consistently over the years:


Despite these short-term pressures, the company's management remains optimistic about Deere's future prospects. So are are those future prospects worth paying for at the moment?

Valuation:

After incorporating these latest results as well as management's forecast into my discounted cash flow model, my fair value estimate for DE is $91 / share. I calculate a BVPS of $29. I use a statistically weighted base/bear case multi-stage discounted cash flow model, informed by a statistical analysis of trading multiples and revenue / earnings forecasts. The model forecasts continued pressure on top-line growth with revenues growing at about a 3.2% CAGR over the next 5 years and EPS growing in line at around 3.3% CAGR. I expect that operating deleverage will continue until at least 2016 or so, after which point increasing worldwide meat consumption in combination with recovering grain prices will allow DE (and other Ag companies) to leverage back to profit growth. Model output is reproduced below.

2014201520162017201820192020202120222023Revenue$38,417,509,188.90$39,862,744,286.96$41,395,851,278.76$43,050,064,908.12$44,770,978,378.33$46,561,827,634.19$48,424,319,616.75$50,361,317,717.89$52,375,801,522.59$54,470,876,739.89Cost of Revenue$26,709,361,305.17$27,709,004,115.17$28,770,364,242.87$29,919,812,206.21$31,115,631,742.42$32,360,262,411.09$33,654,684,590.41$35,000,888,228.51$36,400,943,900.62$37,857,011,215.38Gross Profit$11,708,147,883.72$12,153,740,171.79$12,625,487,035.89$13,130,252,701.92$13,655,346,635.91$14,201,565,223.10$14,769,635,026.34$15,360,429,489.38$15,974,857,621.98$16,613,865,524.51OPEX$6,987,974,090.71$7,247,576,355.31$7,515,544,432.47$7,815,260,980.46$8,127,959,813.18$8,453,077,827.41$8,791,201,226.47$9,142,853,478.96$9,508,570,069.17$9,888,919,600.67Net Income$2,624,949,948.78$2,732,157,701.92$2,853,349,999.39$2,967,862,687.45$3,087,073,157.76$3,210,560,071.99$3,338,987,074.23$3,472,551,175.70$3,611,458,106.95$3,755,922,703.48

I assume a cost of equity of about 11%. My FVE implies a forward PE of 12.8, based upon predicted EPS of $7.10 as operating deleverage continues in the short term. Based upon this, I see DE shares as being relatively fairly valued to slightly undervalued. This may represent a decent entry point for long-term investors, though price weakness in the near term may offer a better opportunity, particularly for those with a shorter time horizon.


Looking at the technicals, the MACD is still showing signs of bearishness. The RSI is beginning to look oversold though given the strong downtrend at the moment I would hesitate to emphasize its use. There does appear to be support in the $80's range, though a breakthrough there would probably portend further price weakness into the $70's.

Conclusion:

DE's latest operating results indicate a company with significant short-term revenue issues that are probably to be expected with any cyclical company. However, the company's operating track record earns them some credit in my book, so I'm willing to hold onto my shares for the long-term. After this period of weakness subsides in a year or two, earnings growth in the high single to low double digits would be a reasonable expectation. I'd be willing to buy more on further price weakness, accumulating shares if we get below $82, and definitely buying if we pierce $73.

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FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute | New app enables farmers to share input prices

SASKATOON, SK, April 23, 2014 /CNW/ - The FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute (FNA-STAG), a not-for-profit informational research organization, has launched a mobile application that could have a major impact on how farmers price inputs and on researchers' ability to find reliable farm input price data.

The application, called AgPriceBook, is available to all farmers free of charge through either the Apple or Google Play app stores.

A "small idea with large potential," the app gives farmers the opportunity to post prices they have been quoted or actually paid, for specific input products. At launch the product categories covered include: crop protection, fertilizer, petroleum products, and inoculant, and FNA-STAG will add categories or products where there is significant demand. Users can request products to be added from within the app.

The app enables farmers to view prices posted within a 100 km diameter from a centre-point location they select, or larger areas, to see how the prices they are paying compare to those being quoted or paid in any area of the country.

FNA-STAG CEO Bob Friesen said that tools to increase price discovery and price transparency are vital to farmers as they adapt to the ever-changing agricultural environment.

"Farmers need more tools for cost competitiveness by discovering what prices are in other locations, including other provinces and across the country," Friesen said. "With today's marketing techniques and bundling strategies it is important that farmers have the ability to get as accurate a price as possible. The more we can do for farmers to learn about and compare prices, the better off they are."

App users are totally anonymous. When a user posts a price, the data is anonymized to a 100 km diameter which prevents identifying farmers who post prices by making "proximity connections."  As well, the app does not identify specific retailers, ensuring that no identifying connection can be made between retailer and farmer.

If producers use the app in sufficient numbers, its benefit will reach beyond individuals. Over time aggregation of the information will provide the foundation for reports that could be useful to farm organizations, researchers and policy makers. Using near-real time numbers, the data will provide the most reliable tracking of farm input prices ever available, making it an unprecedented and strong tool to help farmers improve their cost-competitiveness.

FNA-STAG says that it will use that data to produce reports tracking specific input categories and even specific products with regional and national comparisons.

"If we get solid participation, the information available to those farmers should exceed the value of any of the various farm input price surveys that have been or are currently being used," Friesen said.

But he noted that farmers will "make or break" the application. If too few farmers are willing to post prices, then the price finding features will be of little value and the aggregate data will be insufficient to generate useful reports. 

FNA-STAG thanks the developer, Push Interactions, who helped to build a useful, easy-to-understand application that will feel at home on farmers' mobile devices.  Push Interactions, formerly College Mobile, is a Saskatoon-based development shop that specializes in customized native mobile apps for all leading mobile platforms.

The app was developed with support from the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Funding for this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Saskatchewan, this program is delivered by the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan.

Farmers of North America Strategic Agriculture Institute (FNA-STAG) is a not-for-profit organization with the single mission of "Improving Farm Profitability."

 

SOURCE FNA Strategic Agriculture Institute 

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Use mobile app calculators for seeding rates, input break-even

Use mobile app calculators for seeding rates, input break-even | Ag app | Scoop.it

Do you know the optimal seeding rate for a return on your dollar, as well as break-even costs for input use? Our Extreme Beans mobile app gives you the numbers you need to know with easy-to-use calculators! Download the FREE mobile app before you hit the field this spring.

Using the calculators is easy. The seeding rate calculator lets you input your region, the cost of seed and your predicted per-bushel price to determine the optimal rate. Just a couple of easy slides and a tap, and you've got valuable numbers.


Seeding rate calculator in the Extreme Beans app.

The input calculator lets you plug in your input costs to determine the additional bushels you need in order to pay for the inputs. Start with your average grain sale price and estimated cost for seed per acre, then add additional costs: seed treatments, fungicide, fertilizer, insecticide or other costs, to calculate the bushels your soybean crop needs to pay for those inputs.

So, download the app today from iTunes or download from GooglePlay. Not only do you get the calculators, you also get extensive research information about best practices for soybean production. The whole app is a great tool, and a valuable resource.

If you download Extreme Beans, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of the app. Was it useful? Did it help you make decisions?

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5 ways to maximize the cloud

5 ways to maximize the cloud | Ag app | Scoop.it

Moving data from field to farm over the Web has advantages, provided you enter all your relationships with a knowing eye. Cloud computing is in its infancy in agriculture, but it offers a lot of benefits provided you enter those agreements fully understanding the relationship. These are contractual relationships between you and the service provider, with specific requirements from each of you.

What follows are some “relationship” tactics to consider to ensure you have a good long-term experience.

1. Read the privacy statement

Frankly, there are no secrets in how major companies are using your information; it is spelled out in the privacy agreement. We have some links below you can use for the major services, but it’s worth taking time to read. And if you can’t find it on the website, ask the provider for a copy.

2. Think about data uses

You may only be reading your own data now, but joining a cloud service may get you access to more information about products and services across the system. Work with your provider to learn more about that access.

3. Keep your originals

The cloud is a great way to backup data someplace off site, but you always have your original files and you should keep those stored somewhere safe too — even though you can always reach back into the cloud to get those originals.

4. Understand those trusted partners

You don’t collect all the information from your farm — outsiders, such as custom applicators, may be applying herbicides or fertilizers — so work to figure out how to get that information into your records for your use.

5. Keep updated

Service agreements will change and companies will offer further enhancements. Be sure you’re aware of how those new features and services will impact your relationship with those providers.

Privacy statements

When entering into an agreement to share farm information, it helps for you to understand how that information may be stored and used. Each tech company offering cloud-based services has its own privacy page. Here are a few to check out. They’re designed to be read by people without advanced legal degrees and offer insight into these new services. Here is a short list of links, but make the effort to look for your provider’s privacy statement.

DuPont Pioneer — pioneer.com/home/site/us/privacy-statement

John Deere — myjohndeere.com/trust

Monsanto — fieldscripts.com/documents/farmerprivacycommitment.pdf

Trimble Connected Farm — myconnectedfarm.com/EULA (You need to be logged in
as a Connected Farm user to view this link.)

Editor's note: This piece was featured as a supplement to the main story that appeared in the March issue of Farm Industry News. Read the original story: Maximizing the cloud for your farm business

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Novozymes BioAg US APP Products

Novozymes BioAg US APP Products | Ag app | Scoop.it
Get Novozymes BioAg US Products on the App Store. See screenshots and ratings, and read customer reviews.
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New mobile application from FCC : AgExpert Mobile

Nov. 26, 2013, Regina, SK – Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has released AgExpert Mobile, a mobile application that allows users of FCC AgExpert Analyst 2014 accounting software to manage and record transactions on the go and in real time.

With AgExpert Mobile on their smartphones, producers can track income and expense transactions, take pictures of their receipts and sync new entries with AgExpert Analyst in the moment.

AgExpert Mobile can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone and iPad devices. A version for Android devices will shortly be on Google Play.

AgExpert Analyst 2014, as well as a current customer care plan, is required to use AgExpert Mobile.

For more information on AgExpert Mobile and AgExpert Analyst 2014, or other FCC software solutions, visitwww.fccsoftware.ca.

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Yara’s new app identifies crop nutrient deficiencies

Yara North America, Inc., launched Yara CheckIT, a new smartphone app for visual identification of crop nutrient deficiencies. The app is available at the various app stores for free download.

Yara’s CheckIT gives the user a unique and quick capability to determine crop nutrient deficiency by visual comparison. The app has data and pictures of 20 important crops in the U.S. market and the most common deficiencies for each crop. The app also gives corresponding nutritional advice when the deficiency has been identified.

The new app will be a valuable tool for a large group of people working within the ag industry including farmers, distributors, retailers, agronomists and crop advisors.

“I am very pleased by this launch,” says Geraldo Mattioli, Yara North America Head of Western Sales. “This app is based on the best of our knowledge and years of research and global business. It is also another example of our efforts and focus on digital outreach and engaging with the next generation of farmers.”

YaraCheckItis ready for download both on smartphones and tablets for Apple, Android and Windows platforms.

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Agri-Inject introduces new chemigation app

Agri-Inject introduces new chemigation app | Ag app | Scoop.it

In this day and age when there’s an app for everything from games to videos, it’s nice to find something as valuable as the “Apply Yourself” app from Agri-Inject. Designed to take the complication and guesswork out of selecting and calibrating an injection pump, the new Apply Yourself app is appropriate for a wide range of industries, including virtually any agricultural, nursery, turf or green industry market.

“Apply Yourself comes pre-loaded with the complete range of injection pumps available from Agri-Inject,” says Neal Saxton, director of global sales for Agri-Inject. “This allows a grower to easily enter the specific data points for his or her application — including field size, irrigation timing, injected liquid type and rate — and review a ranked list of the best pumps to fit that application. What’s more, the app provides both a photo and the details on each pump on the suggested list.”

Available in versions for both Android and iOS devices, the Apply Yourself app is a free download that works with both metric and English units. It also includes a function that makes pump calibration quick and easy, as well as a timer that features both visual and audio alerts.

To download a free version of the Apply Yourself app, simply visit www.agri-inject.com/app, fill out the form and download the app to your device.

“In a matter of minutes, a producer will have everything he needs to not only eliminate the guesswork involved with selecting the best pump for an application, but to accurately calibrate the pump for the type and amount of liquid being injected,” Saxton concludes. “As we say at Agri-Inject, ‘Irrigation can deliver more than just water’ and we’re here to help producers do just

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5 apps for calculating harvest loss, nutrient removal and more on the farm

5 apps for calculating harvest loss, nutrient removal and more on the farm | Ag app | Scoop.it
These five apps will help you calculate everything from how much nutrients you may be losing, to determining the right planting population on your farm.
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Corn Replant Calculator Available for Mobile Devices

Corn Replant Calculator Available for Mobile Devices | Ag app | Scoop.it
Corn Replant Calculator Available for Mobile Devices

Are you considering replanting corn due to poor stands, seedling disease or pest damage? Before you go ahead and replant, check out the corn replant calculators available from the University of Illinois. They’ve been optimized for use on mobile devices.

The Droid version requires a registration to download an app for the calculator. The iPhone/iPad version is available as an online spreadsheet that’s been optimized for mobile device viewing. The calculator can also be used on your desktop computer.

Access the calculators here:

Droid device calculator appiPhone/iPad mobile spreadsheetDesktop/laptop computer

In checking out the calculators, the spreadsheet available for PC can likely be access through any mobile device using a web browser and inputting the url (http://ow.ly/lMtGS). I tried it and it worked just fine on my iPhone.

To use the cal

culator, you input the following:

Realistic optimum yield for the fieldOriginal planting dateCurrent plant populationReplant planting dateCorn price

According to the University of Illinois, the calculator uses formulas that were the basis of the original Agronomy Handbook table and compares the replant yield potential with that of the existing stand. Results provide a dollar per acre amount you can use to determine if there is a economic incentive to replant and if the difference will be enough to cover replanting expenses.

Are you considering replanting? Have you tried the calculator? Comment here and let me know what you thought.

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Verizon's Network Gives Farmers New Crop of Mobile Apps

Verizon's Network Gives Farmers New Crop of Mobile Apps | Ag app | Scoop.it

As farmers begin their fall harvest, many are taking more than just a combine into their fields.

Dennis Kahl, an Extension Educator in Entrepreneurship and Leadership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, tells us that farmers now rely on mobile technology like farming apps to help them work more quickly and make decisions more accurately.

By taking advantage of Verizon Wireless’ network, Kahl says farmers have the mobility they need to access resources when and where they need them – whether they’re inside the farmhouse or out in the field.

A healthy crop of farming apps is available through UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, including:

Aphid Speed Scout – an app used to determine whether soybean plants are infested.

Crop Water – a calculator that estimates the soil water status based on Watermark sensors installed at depths of one, two and three feet.

Market Journal – an app that provides an up-to-date broadcast of weekly crop reports, markets, weather and current insect, disease and harvest issues.

To learn more about these and other mobile farming resources, visit Kahl’s blog and follow the Extension Office on Twitter at @UNL_Cropwatch, @UNLBeef,@IANRNewsService and @UNLExtension.

 
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Farmlogs App Update Includes Rainfall Alerts Feature

Farmlogs App Update Includes Rainfall Alerts Feature | Ag app | Scoop.it

I love the weather. Particularly when it's nice, but I'll take any weather. I especially like knowing what's coming my way. My phone has a weather app, and I also downloaded the weather app from The Weather Channel (link for iPhone). I use both daily. That's why I'm excited about a new feature in the FarmLogs app that gives you weather alerts. Yes, we can all see what's coming, but to have an alert pop up on your phone would be really handy, and just kind of cool.


Here's what the new Rain Alert feature on the FarmLogs app does:

Alerts farmers about rain by exact location (within a couple of meters)Notifies farmers about the possibility of rain down to the minute (up to 60 minutes in advance)Pushes notifications (including vibrations, tones, pop-up alerts)Tells how heavy the rain will beIs on the mobile app on either iOS or Android phones

Sounds good to me! 


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University Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App

University Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App | Ag app | Scoop.it

University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, is available for both Apple and Android smartphone platforms. It contains multiple functions related to calibrating a sprayer.

The opening screen allows the user to select from one of four main options:

  1. Calibration: allows user to calibrate four different sprayers types.
  2. PSI for GPM: allows user to calculate required pressure in order to provide a specific flow rate, or do the opposite.
  3. Nozzle Speed: determine minimum and maximum speeds for a specific nozzle.
  4. Convert Value: various pesticide application related unit conversions.

Throughout the app, help menus are available to provide guidance as to the function of various app components, as well as definitions for many of the variables listed. For most variables, touching the name of the variable brings up a definition of what the variable is and how it is measured.

Selecting “Calibration” leads to a screen with four options: Aircraft, Ground Rig, Turf Boom, and Boomless. Within each section, calibration scenarios can be saved for future reference and for values to be loaded into some of the other functions available on the app. Each option will be discussed separately.

Aircraft Calibration

The aircraft option has two different screens. The first screen allows the user to enter their speed in miles per hour, desired swath width in feet, the GPA (gallons per acre) of spray to be applied, and the total number of nozzles on the boom. The required flow rate for the boom is calculated, as well as the required flow rate for each individual nozzle. The user can save the entered values with a name of their choice, and, if so desired, slide to the second aircraft calibration screen for more calibration options.

The second aircraft calibration screen allows the user to fine-tune number of nozzles, orifice size, and operating pressure in order to achieve the required boom GPM flow rate. It also allows the user to use up to two different orifice sizes on the boom in order to achieve the required boom GPM. The needed boom GPM from the first screen is carried over from the first screen.

Users can the select how many different orifice sizes they want on the boom (one or two) and the operating pressure (psi or pounds per square inch) they want to operate at. For each orifice size, they need to enter the flow rate provided by that orifice size at 40 psi (example: a 4010 flat fan nozzle provides 1.0 GPM at 40 psi) and the number of nozzles with that orifice size. The app will calculate the total GPM for all nozzles of that size, as well as the total for the entire boom. If only one orifice size is used, the total for nozzles and boom total will be the same. The user can change any of the variables until the boom total at the bottom matches the needed boom GPM at the top.

Ground Rig Calibration

This function consists of a single screen and can be used to calibrate a ground rig sprayer. The user enters the speed at which the application will be made in miles per hour, the nozzle spacing in inches, and the targeted GPA. The app calculates the required nozzle flow rate in gallons per minute. Similar to the aerial function, each application scenario can be saved with a user-determined name for future reference and use in other app functions.

Turf Boom Calibration

The turf boom function is identical to the ground rig function except that the spray application rate is entered as gallons of spray per 1,000 square feet instead of gallons per acre. This function can be used to calibrate boom sprayers used to make broadcast applications to turf with products labeled using spray application rates in gallons per 1,000 square feet. Each application scenario can be saved with a user-determined name for future reference and use in other app functions.

Boomless Calibration

The boomless function is identical to the ground rig function except that swath width in feet is entered instead of nozzle spacing in inches. This function can be used to calibrate sprayers set up with off-center type nozzles that are typically used to make applications to rights-of-way areas and pastures. Each application scenario can be saved with a user-determined name for future reference and use in other app functions.

PSI For GPM

This function allows the user to do one of two things. The first is to calculate the required pressure at which to operate a nozzle in order to achieve a specific flow rate. This can occur when the required flow rate for an application is not specifically listed in a nozzle manufacturer’s flow rate table. To make this calculation, the user needs to know a flow rate and associated psi. This is easily determined by the name of the nozzle. For example, an XR11004 is an extended-range nozzle (XR) with a 110-degree spray angle. The last two digits provide the flow rate for the nozzle at 40 psi by placing a decimal point between them: 0.4 GPM. So if you wanted to use a XR11004 nozzle to provide a 0.36 GPM flow rate, you would need to operate it at 32.4 psi.

Another way to use the PSI for GPM function would be if an applicator wanted to operate a nozzle at a specific pressure. This might occur in order to create a droplet spectrum required by a label. As with the previous usage, users must enter a known flow rate and pressure for the nozzle. They then enter the psi at which they wish to operate the nozzle and the app will calculate the GPM generated by the nozzle at that pressure.

Nozzle Speed

This function can be used to determine the maximum and minimum speeds at which a nozzle should be operated. It should be used when an applicator has a sprayer equipped with a flow control system. Flow control systems automatically maintain an applicator-selected spray application rate. They do so, however, by adjusting pressure. As a sprayer is operated faster, nozzle flow rate must be increased in order to maintain the set GPA. Unless the sprayer is outfitted with a pulse width modulation control system, the flow controller has to increase pressure in order to increase flow rate. A similar thing happens when the sprayer slows down – pressure is reduced to reduce nozzle flow rate so that the GPA is maintained.

The factor limiting the speed range of the sprayer, therefore, is the operating pressure range for the nozzle. The nozzle speed function is used to calculate the sprayer speeds that correspond with the upper and lower pressure limits of the nozzle. The applicator enters the nozzle spacing and the targeted GPA. Next, the applicator refers to the flow rate table for the nozzle that will be used; GPM min operating pressure is the nozzle flow rate in GPM when the nozzle is operated at its lowest pressure; GPM max operating pressure is the nozzle flow rate in GPM when the nozzle is operated at its highest pressure.

For an XR110004, the minimum pressure is 15 PSI and the maximum pressure is 60 PSI. At 15 PSI, the flow rate is 0.24 GPM; at 60 PSI the flow is 0.49 GPM. When these values are entered into the nozzle speed function, the app calculates the minimum operating speed as 7.13 MPH and the maximum operating speed is 14.55 MPH. Keeping the sprayer within this speed range will ensure the nozzle is operated within its pressure operating range. It will not, however, prevent the droplet spectrum from changing. As can be noted in figure 6, an XR110004 will produce a medium (M) droplet spectrum at 15 PSI, but it will change to a fine (F) droplet spectrum at 60 PSI.

Convert Value

The convert value function allows the user to convert various values commonly associated with pesticide applications. The list of values that can be converted is by no means exhaustive and will likely be expanded as the app is updated. The top section of the convert value screen allows the user to select the type of values to be converted. These include flow rates, spray rates, rate conversions for volume per unit area, weight per unit area, and weight per volume.

Once the user has selected the type of value they wish to convert, they select the unit they wish to convert from and the unit the wish to convert to.

Conclusion

Spray Calc was created to assist applicators with many of the calculations used to calibrate and set up a sprayer. In the future, functions to assist with tank mix calculations will be added along with other possible functions. If you have any questions or suggestions about Spray Calc, please contact Scott Bretthauer at sbrettha@illinois.edu.

Spray Calc is available in iTunes and the Google Play store.

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New app for Enlist weed control system

New app for Enlist weed control system | Ag app | Scoop.it

Dow AgroScienceslaunched its new Enlist Ahead apps that will allow for herbicide application management. It’s designed for using with Dow’s Enlist system, and for making responsible application of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D. Regulatory approvals are still pending for Enlist but are expected soon.

The app has two key features:

Application manager

This function brings together localized weather data (through the closest NOAA station) in real-time to map crop fields and trait technologies. Users can keep records of application rates, boom heigh and nozzle selection.

And after all the herbicide application details are entered into the app, it lets the applicator know if conditions meet label requirements.

Mode of action calculator

The app’s MOA calculator allows growers to select the herbicides they will use on their Enlist crop, and depending on the number of modes of action in the products selected, the app will indicate whether the weed control program is good, moderate or poor for resistance management.

The app will be available for iOS and Android devices once Enlist is commercialized. Dow expects to launch Enlist corn and soybeans in 2015, followed by Enlist E3 soybeans and Enlist cotton in 2016.

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John Deere : iPad apps helps users visualize planting

John Deere : iPad apps helps users visualize planting | Ag app | Scoop.it

With spring planting underway, John Deere is completing the final round of testing of its new iPad app for planters called SeedStar Mobile, first previewed atNational Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. Due out in 2015, the app is designed to work in conjunction with the GreenStar 3 2630 display, on select planter models.

Depending upon the configuration of the planter, SeedStar Mobile collects and monitors seed population rates, singulation, seed spacing, applied downforce, gauge wheel margin, variety, ride quality, and ground speed on a row-by-row basis.  This data is shown to the operator on an iPad in the cab in real-time as performance dashboards and high-definition maps, making it easier for the operator to visualize planter performance. 

SeedStar Mobile also wirelessly sends the planting data to the MyJohnDeere web portal. Using this portal, a farm manager can remotely monitor planter performance from any internet-enabled device and see the same data the operator sees in the cab in near real time. The manager can take the planting data on the iPad out to the field, where he or she can use it to make decisions for the following season.

One of the biggest benefits of SeedStar Mobile is optimizing planter performance.  By using the performance dashboards and row-by-row high definition maps, the producer can more easily recognize problems with the planter and then perform the necessary adjustments or repairs that are needed to correct the issue.  By using SeedStar Mobile, the producer can quickly and easily identify and resolve planter problems, reducing the possibility of improper seed placement or population.  

Mike Brandert, Senior Product Manager at John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group, says that SeedStar Mobile comes at a time when planters are getting larger, faster, and more sophisticated. “John Deere’s newest planter, ExactEmerge, can accurately plant at speeds up to 10 mph,” Brandert says. “As planting speed increases, tools to help producers understand and optimize the performance of the planter are vital to ensure proper seed placement which maximizes the yield potential of the crop.  SeedStar Mobile enables producers to instantly monitor and better understand planter performance.  Producers will have the confidence that the planter is running at the highest level of precision and accuracy.”

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the screens you’ll see when the new SeedStar Mobile app is launched in 2015.

 
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New app manages farm information wirelessly

New app manages farm information wirelessly | Ag app | Scoop.it

Scott Andrew was a computer savvy young farmer, but he wondered why was he still spending hours piecing together the bits and bytes of information produced on his farm.

“It was three or four years ago and I started recording information on my smartphone,” said Andrew, who farms near Darlingford, Man.

“It was better than a notebook, but I still needed to take written information from everyone else and in some cases from me too.”

He decided he needed to find a partner to create a portable tool that would take advantage of smartphone technology. The result was FarmDock, an application for Apple and Android phones with an online desktop feature to act as the home base for farm activity information.

Andrew initially wanted to use his phone to record and organize farm data but found he was limited to using a calendar application to create notes about his daily activities.

As for his other family members working on the farm, they were still recording their jobs and inventory changes on notebooks and pads of paper. This meant Andrew spent a lot of time collating and entering the information into a separate program to track farm inventories and work.

He also needed to make multiple phone calls during the day when work assignments were changed.

“In the growing season, things change pretty fast. There is a lot of activity and keeping track of everything, and everyone can get pretty frustrated,” he said.

“Stuff gets skipped and forgotten. Inventory gets depleted and even grain can be misplaced.”

Andrew approached Winnipeg agricultural publisher Farm Business Communications with his ideas about creating an application for the internet and smartphones.

“They had some ideas about how they could build the software and store the data on the cloud,” he said.

“It took a couple of years to get it they way we wanted it, but this spring it’s available.”

FarmDock allows producers to create a virtual farm, with land, staff, machinery and bins. It also inputs inventories and assigns farm work.

Assignments can be made from the internet dashboard or iPhone or Android device, including Android and internet capable tablets. Changes to the farm are instantly visible for everyone who has access to the farm’s secure FarmDock website.

For example, a field job can be created for spraying that includes inventory from the chemical room, the labour that is assigned and the email address of the person doing the work. It can also account for fuel used by the sprayer and tender.

The system can’t import data from existing spreadsheets, but it does allow producers to accumulate information over time.

A sprayer or tractor can be added to the machinery list as they are used for the first time. After that, they will be available on an ongoing basis from a drop down menu.

The same applies to all areas of the software. Workers can be added, hours recorded and job progress logged and eventually marked as completed. Notes and photographs can be added to jobs and field locations, making weed and insect identification more easily accomplished.

Photographs can also be added of machinery breakdowns if parts need to be identified and of crop conditions if advice is needed.

Machinery hours can be logged and fuel use recorded. Notes about machinery service times can be placed in an individual machine’s notation section so that oil changes and lubrication schedules are followed and can be checked off for others to see.

The instant wireless communication allows everyone to be “on the same page.”

Future updates of the original version of the program are free. New versions with expanded features are planned for the future, and Farm Media, which includes Farm Business Communications and The Western Producer, is soliciting input from users for improvements to the FarmDock website.

The price for future versions has yet to be determined.

The product will be available from all divisions of FarmMedia in the future. Farmers can sign up for free access at www.FarmDock.com, with downloads of the applications available on the Apple App Store and Google’s www.play.google.com/store.

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ScoutDoc app takes field scouting to the Cloud

Feb. 6, 2014, Guelph, ON - With the launch of ScoutDoc Cloud, farmers and agronomists who use the GPS-enabled ScoutDoc app, can now add cloud-based storage to sync, archive, export and analyze field scouting reports.

With ScoutDoc Cloud, app users can sync their existing files with their ScoutDoc account for easy report exporting, organizing and archiving. ScoutDoc Cloud also allows users to export data in Excel compatible CSV format to perform data analysis, and also sort and search using multiple fields including weeds, insects and diseases, as well as farmer name, scout name, crop and date.

To learn more, go to www.scoutdoc.com. To download the app, search for ScoutDoc at the iTunes App Store.

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Smartphone app determines dollar value of manure

What's that manure worth? There's an app for that.

Actually, the smartphone app from the University of Arkansas helps estimate the dollar and nutrient value of manure as a crop input, according to a news release.

The app was developed by Dharmendra Saraswat, an associate professor and Extension engineer, in collaboration with Karl VanDevender, a professor and Extension engineer.

The app, known as Manure Valuator, is based on the premise that the monetary value of manure is linked to the market value for inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers that the animal waste is replacing.

This means the value of manure depends on crop N, P and K recommendations, the manure N, P and K content, and the amount applied.

Users enter the cost of commercial fertilizer either on a dollar per-ton or dollar per-pound basis.

If dollar per-ton values are used, the app converts them to dollars per pound of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Then users enter the crop's N, P and K needs, ideally based on recent soil test recommendations.

They also select one of 18 different choices of dry and liquid manure.

After the desired manure application rate is entered, the app calculates N, P and K fertilizer replacement value. Users also can play "what if" to evaluate the effects of different rates.

Download the free app at the iTunes Store, or Google Play Store.

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Monsanto Launches Roundup Ready Plus Weed Management Solutions App

Farmers can now rely on a new mobile application to support effective weed management, particularly of tough-to-control and glyphosate-resistant weeds. 

Weed Manager PLUS, launched at this year's Farm Progress® Show, is the latest tool added to Monsanto's Roundup Ready PLUS™ Weed Management Solutions platform. The mobile app provides:
• Weed management recommendations by region and crop
• Calculates potential incentives for farmers who use endorsed residual herbicide products
• Delivers a tank mixing tool and measurement conversion calculator 

"We're very excited to offer Weed Manager PLUS to farmers who want to take a proactive approach to weed control," said Chris Reat, Roundup Ready PLUS Marketing Manager. "This new app gives them an innovative tool they can use in the field as they are making their weed management decisions." 

Weed Manager PLUS can be downloaded at Google Play or the Apple App StoreSM. For more information on weed control, visit www.RoundupReadyPLUS.com

The Roundup Ready PLUS platform was developed by Monsanto in conjunction with leading academics, agronomists and other industry partners. It offers the latest weed management recommendations, including the use of preemerge residual herbicides, to provide multiple modes of action for controlling tough weeds, as well as financial incentives for farmers who use endorsed herbicide products.

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UF/IFAS irrigation apps for urban turfgrass, strawberry, citrus

The University of Florida has released three smart device apps of interest to those in the irrigation business, and for the time being, users can download them for free.

The first three apps to be released were designed for citrus, strawberry and urban turfgrass irrigators, said Kati Migliaccio, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering, based at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Fla.

Details about all three of the newly released apps can be found at http://smartirrigationapps.org/.

Development of the three new apps was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Migliaccio said. They were designed to convert available information into a user-friendly format to help users conserve water, she added.

“The tools are designed to be easy and quick to use,” she said. “We’ve incorporated real-time data and irrigation science with simple user input to produce site specific irrigation run-times.”

The apps give real-time information to users, relying on constantly updated data from the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) and the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.

Each of the three apps is tailored to a crop – for instance, the strawberry app is based on drip irrigation, the citrus app works for micro-sprinkler systems and the urban turfgrass app gives guidance for five types of sprinklers.

The developers began with citrus, strawberry and urban turfgrass because UF/IFAS already had a strong research and knowledge base in those areas, she said.

The app is designed for use with manual or time-based irrigation systems, users download the app, plug in their individual details, such as location, root depth and irrigation zones, and the app uses that input and site-specific weather data to create an irrigation schedule.

The schedule is not set in stone, however, and the app gives users notifications based on changing weather and forecasts. For instance, the app might suggest to users that if there is a rain chance above 60 percent that irrigation might not be necessary. Or if there significant rain fell in the last 24 hours, the app might suggest skipping irrigation for a day.

Migliaccio said she believes the urban turfgrass app will reduce irrigation amounts by 25 to 30 percent, if suggested schedules are followed. Potential water savings from using the citrus and strawberry apps for irrigation scheduling are still being quantified.

The app covers users in Florida and Georgia and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices. It is available to download in the App Store and Google Play Store. The apps’ names in the stores are Smartirrigation Citrus, Smartirrigation Strawberry, and Smartirrigation Turf.

The apps are part of an overall suite of apps being developed, Migliaccio said.

UF/IFAS and UGA are also working with other researchers in the Southeast through the Southeast Climate Consortium based at UF, to create irrigation apps for avocado, cabbage, cotton, peanut, and tomato growers.

Migliaccio has published a step-by-step information guide about the urban turfgrass app, which can be viewed or downloaded from the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source, or EDIS, here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae499.

The three apps are currently free, and will remain so as long as the weather and forecasting data are free and grants are available to support app maintenance, she said.

The other researchers involved in this app release include UF/IFAS’ Clyde Fraisse, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering and Kelly Morgan, an associate professor in soil and water science, and George Vellidis, a professor who specializes in precision agriculture and water management at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus.

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CHS Releases Grain Trading Mobile App

CHS Releases Grain Trading Mobile App | Ag app | Scoop.it

CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, announced today the release of its new grain trading mobile app.

The free app allows easy access to CHS grain terminals, soybean processing plants and select service center bids. It enables producers to make, monitor and manage offers to sell corn, soybeans and wheat electronically. The app also provides market information with the ability to create and manage futures-only, basis-only and cash offers.

"We're excited to share our CHS grain trading mobile app, making it even easier for producers to manage aspects of their marketing when and where it's convenient for them," says Rick Dusek, CHS vice president, grain marketing-North America. "The app is perfect for those who want to actively check markets and trade grain from the field or anywhere."

Offers through the CHS grain trading mobile app are monitored during futures market hours from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. Utilizing the CME Group electronic markets, the app also facilitates an automatic connection between grower-approved offers and CHS hedge orders. With patented e-Pit®services provided by Farmstech, the app can place a hedge order, receive confirmation of the fill, execute the cash purchase, and notify both buyer and seller in seconds.

The CHS Grain Trading mobile app is compatible with both Android™ and iPhone® devices. Download the free mobile app at the App Store™ or Google Play store. Follow the registration process to link to your CHS account and create a grain trading mobile account. Enhanced login and security features ensure information privacy.

CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com) is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the potential results discussed in the forward-looking statements. The company undertakes no obligations to publicly revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances. For a discussion of additional factors that may materially affect management's estimates and predictions, please view the CHS Inc. annual report filed on Form 10-K for the year ended Aug. 31, 2012, which can be found on the Securities and Exchange Commission web site (www.sec.gov) or on the CHS web site www.chsinc.com.

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Yara’s new app identifies crop nutrient deficiencies

Yara North America, Inc., launched Yara CheckIT, a new smartphone app for visual identification of crop nutrient deficiencies. The app is available at the various app stores for free download.

Yara’s CheckIT gives the user a unique and quick capability to determine crop nutrient deficiency by visual comparison. The app has data and pictures of 20 important crops in the U.S. market and the most common deficiencies for each crop. The app also gives corresponding nutritional advice when the deficiency has been identified.

The new app will be a valuable tool for a large group of people working within the ag industry including farmers, distributors, retailers, agronomists and crop advisors.

“I am very pleased by this launch,” says Geraldo Mattioli, Yara North America Head of Western Sales. “This app is based on the best of our knowledge and years of research and global business. It is also another example of our efforts and focus on digital outreach and engaging with the next generation of farmers.”

YaraCheckItis ready for download both on smartphones and tablets for Apple, Android and Windows platforms.

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BASF launches mobile crop protection website

A new BASF mobile platform provides access to all crop protection product information for tablets and smartphones.

BASF launched a new mobile platform, m.agproducts.basf.us, for its U.S.-based crop protection products. This platform gives BASF customers and employees access to company and product information for use on all tablets and smartphone models. 

“BASF is committed to the future of agriculture and this mobile website will allow our customers greater access to the information they need to do their job,” said Paul Rea, vice president, U.S. Crop Protection, BASF. “The trends are clear. With each passing day, there is greater use of tablets and smartphones on the farm. Whether it is on the tractor or in the office at home, our growers are getting their information through these formats. Now, they will have easy access to information for any BASF product they are using.”

The m.agproducts.basf.us website features full access to all BASF Crop Protection product information. This includes relevant product labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS). The Contact Us section has a Rep Finder option to allow customers to quickly find out the BASF representative for their location. This section also has Customer Service and Media Contact information available.

The Product section gives customers an A to Z listing of the BASF product portfolio. Each product features information on How It Works, Labeled Crops, Problems Controlled and a Research Library. The m.agproducts.basf.us platform allows users to share any of the information through social media including Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube.

 

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6 apps for identifying weeds, pests and more

6 apps for identifying weeds, pests and more | Ag app | Scoop.it
With all the apps available for agriculture, we break these six down for you as great ID tools for your farm.
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