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Phone app helps to name that weed

University of Missouri Extension has released a free app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices to help people easily identify weeds in the field, lawn or garden.
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5 ways unmanned drones could affect the American food supply

5 ways unmanned drones could affect the American food supply | Ag app | Scoop.it
Herding cattle. Counting fish. Taking an animal’s temperature. Applying pesticides.
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CNN obtient l'autorisation de tester des drones

CNN obtient l'autorisation de tester des drones | Ag app | Scoop.it

La chaîne d'information CNN a conclu un accord avec l'Agence fédérale américaine de l'aviation (FAA) pour tester l'usage des drones à des fins journalistiques aux États-Unis, a-t-elle annoncé dans un communiqué lundi.

Au départ surtout d'usage militaire, l'utilisation privée de ces petits aéronefs sans pilote, permettant la prise d'images et d'informations, est jusque-là quasi-interdite aux États-Unis, sauf exceptions et à basse altitude (moins de 122 mètres, loin des aéroports).

«Notre objectif est d'obtenir des équipements supérieurs» à ce qui existe actuellement dans le civil et «de mettre à plat les options qui s'offrent à nous pour produire un vidéo-journalisme de qualité, utilisant toute une gamme d'UAV (véhicule aérien sans pilote ou drone, ndlr) et d'installations caméras», indique David Vigilante, un dirigeant de CNN cité dans le communiqué.

Les tests prévus seront menés en collaboration avec le Georgia Tech Research Institute, précise l'accord. Ce centre de recherches est basé à Atlanta, tout comme la chaîne câblée vedette du groupe Time Warner.

La FAA, par la voix de son administrateur Michael Huerta, dit de son côté espérer que cet accord l'aidera à «intégrer en toute sécurité les outils de récolte d'informations sans pilote» dans l'espace aérien américain.

«Les aéronefs sans pilote représentent une opportunité de taille pour les médias», reconnaît-il.

Très prisés pour le potentiel qu'ils offrent pour la couverture d'événements d'actualité, sportifs et culturels depuis le ciel, avec des angles nouveaux, de plus en plus de voix s'élèvent dans le pays pour qu'une législation réglementant les drones soit adoptée. La date de publication de ces règles, attendue pour cette année, reste toutefois incertaine.

«Nous espérons que ces efforts contribueront au développement d'un écosystème dynamique, dans lequel des opérateurs de tout type et de toute taille peuvent évoluer», insiste M. Vigilante.

Jusque-là sont exemptées de l'interdiction de la FAA quelques entreprises spécialisées (dans la surveillance aérienne, le contrôle de sites de construction et les opérations de torchage) et des sociétés de production d'images.

Outre des réserves sur la préservation de la vie privé - les drones permettant de capturer et de conserver des images relatives aux personnes - l'un des plus grands obstacles à leur autorisation dans le civil est la crainte d'une hausse des risques de collisions aériennes.

Quelque 193 cas de vols de drones près d'un avion ont été enregistrés par la FAA du 22 février au 11 novembre 2014, rappelle l'AOPA, une association de pilotes, sur son site.

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10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015

10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015 | Ag app | Scoop.it

Has the app market reached a saturation point? Consider Google Play and the iTunes App Store combined have more than 2.5 million apps, according to recent statistics. And with hundreds of new apps added every day, one could argue enough is enough.

But I won’t. I say, bring it on. A competitive apps market is driving up quality. In fact, TechCrunch.com reported last year that Google removed 60,000 apps from their store that were not up to the mark when it comes to quality and usability. So with app developers forced to step up their games, it can only be good for customers.

The same holds true for ag professionals, who have a bounty of quality apps at their disposal for their Androids, iPads, iPhones and more. To help you sort through the best new agriculture apps available, I’ve once again researched the latest ones to hit the market. For the purpose of this list, I selected apps that were introduced — or significantly updated — in 2014 or due to launch in early 2015. View the slideshow below to see which apps made the cut.

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Grain rescue tube apps available

Grain rescue tube apps available | Ag app | Scoop.it

A new app released on iTunes and Google Play Stores will help rural grain elevators, fire departments and other emergency personnel to save lives.

The Illinois Grain Rescue Tube Locator app uses a GPS system to locate the nearest grain rescue tube, a key component when saving farm workers from being smothered in grain-filled storage bins.

Illinois Corn Marketing Board, together with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, built the tool to save lives and to help build awareness that grain bin entrapments and engulfments make agriculture one of the most dangerous industries in Illinois.

“IL Corn began building this app to try to fill a need for more lifesaving equipment,” said Lou Lamoreux, Illinois Corn Marketing Board chairman.  “Every year, we see farmers getting into grain bins when we all know that we shouldn’t and every year someone passes away because of this mistake.  This app will help ensure that a grain rescue tube can always be located nearby.”

“We see this app as another tool in the toolbox if an unfortunate situation occurs and someone is entrapped. By downloading the app ahead of time and having it available, we can speed up the process to save a life,” said John Lee, director of the Safety, Health, Environmental Services Program for the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.

There have been more than 900 grain-bin entrapments nationwide since 1964, according to data compiled by Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program.  Illinois had 10 grain entrapments in 2010 alone.

“Grain entrapment deaths are a completely avoidable problem,” said Lamoreux. “IL Corn wants to force farmers to think before they step into a full bin, and to provide a means for quicker rescue if a bad situation occurs.”

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Using drones to detect crop diseases

Using drones to detect crop diseases | Ag app | Scoop.it

For as long as bananas have been grown, banana growers in Southeast Asia have had to struggle with fungal diseases such as the dreaded Panama disease. The loss is enormous and fungicides do not help. Through early detection, the disease can be prevented from spreading. However this is a very labor intensive process.

The use of remote sensing to detect diseases could be an efficient way to identify bad spots. The remote sensing system being developed by Wageningen-based consultancy Triple20 could be used to detect diseases like Panama disease. Growers could use the information gathered to take proactive measures at an early stage. A pilot project was launched to test this new technology in practice.

Getting the pilot project off the ground

“In order to get this pilot project off the ground, we needed to do some extra research and we needed more funds,” explained Triple20’s Philip Hansmann. “We looked into all sorts of funding and subsidies. Most application processes turned out to be too long and too complicated. And then we heard about the innovation vouchers the regional administration of the province of Gelderland makes available. We applied for one this spring and were quickly told we qualified, so we could start work in the Philippines this summer.”

To get the system ready for testing in practice, Triple20 needed additional knowledge. The company turned to geo-informatics and remote sensing researcher Lammert Kooistra from Wageningen University. “Our expertise is remote sensing and precision farming,” he explained. “One of our projects involves using UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. In one project we use an octocopter, a small drone with eight propellers that can carry a camera.”

Drone equipped with two cameras

The octocopter is what Triple20 used for their pilot project. Its main advantage over a satellite is that it flies under the clouds. In addition, the octocopter is flexible and can generate more detailed images—inches rather than yards which is your typical satellite image resolution. Two cameras are mounted on the octocopter for identifying crop problems. One is a regular photo camera, the other infrared. Each camera produces a different type of image. Special software analyzes both types and provides information about the crop’s condition.

“The pilot project showed that remote sensing can reveal damage from fungal diseases,” Hansmann said proudly. “We have just launched a new startup called QLark, whose business consists solely of providing this service. Our ambition is to buy one of those UAVs ourselves next year and open an office in the Philippines. We’re going to develop this technology further. But that’s not all. We’ve also discovered that we need to come up with a better story that makes sense to the banana growers.”

Development continues

Kooistra shares Hansmann’s enthusiasm. “Dutch technology got tested in the Philippines. One advantage was that Philippine laws on UAV test flights are less restrictive than Dutch laws. This allowed us to develop new knowledge which can now benefit The Netherlands,” he said.

The great potential of remote sensing technology using UAVs is not limited to banana growers. UAV remote sensing can enable farmers to detect diseases in many other crops, or to map nitrogen fertilization.

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Weed identification tech for the future

Weed identification tech for the future | Ag app | Scoop.it

It’s no secret that weeds remain a problem for growers today. Given this, experts say one of the first steps in successfully combating weeds is correctly identifying them so proper action can be taken.

Printed weed identification guides have been around for a long time, but a large number of resources can also be found online, thanks to the work of many different universities.

More recent, however, is the availability of weed identification apps that allow mobile device users to have immediate access to data for accurate, in-the-field assessments. Penton Media (the publisher of Farm Industry News), for example, offers Weed ID, an app that helps use

rs identify weeds based on key data inputs like crop type, location, month and plant characteristics. It also has a feature where


you can take a picture of an unknown weed, and then compare it side by side against images of other weeds for easier identification.

Another popular option is a free app offered by the University of Missouri Extension called ID Weeds, which also allows hand-held device users to identify hundreds of different weeds using a variety of search characteristics.

Given the above, the ease (and speed) at which weeds can now be identified has certainly improved. But according to Michael Koenig, the founder and president of Lone Tree, Iowa-based ScoutPro, the mobile apps his company designs for crop scouting purposes provide a glimpse of how weed identification technology fits into the bigger picture of crop management.

“We offer crop-specific applications, all of which have pest and weed identification aspects built into them,” explains Koenig, who first got the idea for his business while taking an ag entrepreneurship class at Iowa State University four years ago. “What sets us apart from others is that our users are presented with visual options, which helps them identify weeds by focusing on different plant characteristics.”

Offline approach

Koenig explains that another benefit of ScoutPro’s apps is thatthey’re designed to be used offline and can be synced up later to run reports and manage data. Its apps also have GPS tracking and mapping capabilities, so as to enhance the quality (and accuracy) of the crop scouting information.

“We wanted to raise the level and quality of crop scouting,” offers Koenig. “But as growers adopt new technologies, the decisions they make will only be as good as the data they’re collecting.”

Obstacles, however, still exist when it comes to technology. In particular, Koenig cites bandwidth and connectivity as two big issues when it comes to utilization of any type of apps in agriculture, because when it takes too long for devices and information to sync up, it discourages timely decisionmaking and management practices.

Looking to the future, Koenig predicts the placement of field sensors — such as those currently in use by grape growers today to provide real-time data and measure a variety of stress factors on vines — will end up being more important for crop management than imaging technology. For the time being, though, he believes mobile apps will continue to evolve and play an important role in how growers collect and manage crop-related data, including information on weeds.

“The old standby of looking in a book to identify weeds isn’t going to be as effective anymore. Using mobile devices and apps, however, is now a much better crop management option today,” says Koenig.

Yontz writes from Urbandale, Iowa.

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4 new irrigation apps

4 new irrigation apps | Ag app | Scoop.it

While irrigation is in use across the country, the epicenter in the Midwest is Nebraska, where pivot circles cover the land, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is involved in helping farmers manage those systems more precisely every year. From checking pumping performance to recording water applied, there are new tools from UNL to help farmers manage those systems.

Here’s a rundown of the latest apps developed by the university.

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Everything you need to know about drones

Everything you need to know about drones | Ag app | Scoop.it

What is a drone? (a short history)

A drone is simply an unmanned aircraft. Its origins can be traced to the military. The first reusable radio-controlled aircraft in the Thirties, built for target practice by the Royal Marines, is often considered the earliest incarnation of the models used worldwide today. Those first military drones were then given cameras and turned into reconnaissance vehicles that were used in the Vietnam War in the Sixties. More recently, military drones have been fitted with missiles. 

Today drones are no longer only operated by the military, with smaller versions used for all sorts of purposes by companies and individuals. For example, Amazon and Google say they are developing drones that deliver parcels. Facebook wants to fly giant drones that can carry internet signal to remote areas. Drones are also being used to film documentaries and news reports in dangerous or inaccessible areas. 

Can anyone fly a drone?

The short answer is yes. Drones are increasingly sophisticated, ever cheaper – and available to ordinary enthusiasts from high street shops. 

What are the rules? 

The Civil Aviation Authority writes the guidebook here. Drones are classed as a type of aircraft, not a toy. However, there are only a few restrictions of the drone weighs less than 20kg. Flying for commercial use requires the permission from the CAA. You will have to show you are "sufficiently competent". 

Matthew Sparkes, Telegraph technology expert, says: "If your drone is under 20kg and you're not using it for commercial reasons, then you still have some rules to follow. Anyone filming with a drone for their own purposes must avoid flying it within 150 metres of a congested area and 50 metres of a person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control of the pilot. 



"You will also need to fly the aircraft within sight. This means you can’t go above 400ft in altitude or further than 500 metres horizontally. If you want to exceed that, you’ll again need to seek explicit permission from the CAA." 

Drones weighing more than 20kg can only be flown in certified danger areas such as Parc Aberporth aerodrome in West Wales. 

>> More: Is it legal to fly a drone in the UK?

How many are being flown? 

More than 300 companies and public bodies have permission to fly. Many are film, photography and production companies such as the BBC and ITV. Experts have predicted that small drones will soon "fill the skies". Civilian applications are made every day. 

Paul Cremin, the head of aviation safety at the Department for Transport, told The Times: "People are becoming resourceful, in the same way as when the internet came on the scene and people were looking at different ways to use that technology ... We hear a lot of stories about Amazon delivering goods to your door and I am sure there will be a lot more uses of this [technology]." 

Hang on, can my neighbour spy on me legally? 

No. In the same way that it is not permissible to climb a ladder and take pictures of a neighbour's garden, or any private space, so drones cannot be used to break existing privacy laws. 

However, that doesn't give someone the right to take the law into their own hands. In America in October a 32-year-old waiter allegedly used a shotgun to take down a "helicopter" drone flying in the vicinity of his home and was arrested

How much do drones cost? 

Drones that fly around your bedroom can be bought for less than £100. Prices then range up to £90,000 if you want TV quality pictures. 


Where can I buy drones? 

Selfridges, Dixons, and other high street stores sell the sort of small drones that can be safely used by enthusiasts. 

From Selfridges you can buy several "helicopter" models from French company Parrot for as little as £89.99. The Parrott Rolling Spider, for example, can be flown using a smartphone at up to 20 metres distance and takes aerial shots. 

>> More: Which drone should you buy?

What are the risks? 

Drones could be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands, according to the head of Google, Eric Schmidt, who has called for tighter regulation. For example, terrorists could use the new technology to mount remote attacks. "I would prefer to not spread and democratise the ability to fight war to every single human being," Mr Schmidt said. 

A more imminent danger is the risk of collision. Air safety officials are investigating the first near miss between a passenger jet and a drone near Heathrow Airport

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Ces objets connectés qui vont révolutionner l'élevage laitier

Ces objets connectés qui vont révolutionner l'élevage laitier | Ag app | Scoop.it
Après la révolution smartphone, place aux Google Glass. D'un point de vue technologique, c’est bluffant mais pas sûr que l’engouement soit partagé...
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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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Robotic tractor trial in Jerilderie - The Land

Robotic tractor trial in Jerilderie  - The Land | Ag app | Scoop.it

AUSTRALIAN farmers could have an on-farm version of Google's driverless car if a self-driving tractor trial near Jerilderie continues according to plan. 

A robotic tractor has been trialled in a joint program with Rice Research Australia, Japanese companies Hitachi Zosen Corporation and Yanmar Co. and three Australian universities.

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Net.Nexus's curator insight, January 21, 2:13 PM

pra onde caminha a agricultura.

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No Hands! Nissan and NASA Team Up on Self-Driving Car Technology

No Hands! Nissan and NASA Team Up on Self-Driving Car Technology | Ag app | Scoop.it
Japanese automaker Nissan and NASA are teaming up to advance the technology behind cars that drive autonomously. Nissan Motor Co. and NASA's Ames Research Ce...
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Compare net profitability and fertility for different crop rotations. Farming Apps - CashCropper

Compare net profitability and fertility for different crop rotations. Farming Apps - CashCropper | Ag app | Scoop.it

Cashcropper allows you to compare the net profitability and fertility requirements for different crop rotations within a given field. This app is powered by over 30 years of data on crop yield responses to different rotations from trials conducted by the University of Guelph. The app uses default yield values provided by crop insurance records in Ontario and uses the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs cost of production defaults as a starting point for the user. The user can change any of these values to better reflect their operation. 

Although the yield responses used in this app are based on an extensive, long term database, there are no guarantees. But if you're using this app, you're likely a farmer and already know that the only guarantee in producing a crop is that you're at the mercy of mother nature.

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5 Actual Uses For Drones In Precision Agriculture Today

5 Actual Uses For Drones In Precision Agriculture Today | Ag app | Scoop.it

Having covered the ag retail industry and
drones in precision agriculture for
CropLife.com and PrecisionAg.com
(shameless plug) over the past three years,
I’ve heard a lot at this point on the subject of
drone applications on the farm.
From the ability to image, recreate, and
analyze individual leaves on a soybean plant
from 400 feet, to getting information on the
water-holding capacity of soil, to variable-rate water applications out West, the industry
has been sold -and sold HARD- on how UAVs can deliver ROI for both growers and crop
consultants alike.
Unfortunately, many of the promises being made to our nation’s food suppliers simply
cannot be delivered or backed up by proper research… yet. The FAA is just now opening up
segments of the national airspace for commercial research to take place.
In the coming years all of the possible uses for these flying robots will be fleshed out by the
industry itself, but for now here are five applications that are already being implemented
on someone’s Back Forty, somewhere (as long as FAA doesn’t find out):
Mid-Season Crop Health Monitoring (aka Scouting): The ability to inspect in-progress crops
from on high with Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) or near-infrared (NIR)
sensors is, thus far, the #1 use for drones in farming. A task that traditionally was done by
often-reluctant college interns walking fields with notepad in hand, drones like SenseFly’s
eBee Ag now allow for coverage of more acres, as well as the capturing of data that cannot
be seen by the human eye (NDVI). Plus, it removes much of the human error aspect of
traditional scouting, though physically inspecting areas of concern after viewing the
imagery, is still recommended.
Irrigation Equipment Monitoring: Managing multiple irrigation pivots is… well, it’s a pain,
especially for large growers that have many fields spread out across a county or region.
Once crops like corn begin reaching certain heights, mid-season inspections of the nozzles
and sprinklers on irrigation equipment that deliver much-needed water really becomes a
pain-in-the-you-know-what.
Mid-Field Weed Identification: Using NDVI sensor data and post-flight image processing to
create a weed map, growers and their agronomists can easily differentiate areas of highintensity
weed proliferation from the healthy crops growing right alongside them.
Historically, many growers haven’t realized how pronounced their weed problem was until
harvest time.

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NASA designs ape-like robot for disasters

NASA designs ape-like robot for disasters | Ag app | Scoop.it

(CNN) -- When we imagine the robots of the future, they often look and move like humans, standing up on two legs and using a pair of arms to grab and move objects. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a different kind of robot for disaster response that's designed to move like an ape.

Headless but covered with seven cameras that act as "eyes," the RobotSimian has four identical limbs that do double duty as arms and legs. Together, they ably move the robot across rough terrain and rubble but can also pick up and manipulate objects. It has wheels it can coast on if the surface is smooth enough.

The RoboSimian is JPL's final entry into the DARPA Robotics Challenge, a 27-month-long competition among some of the world's top robotic talent to create an emergency response robot. In situations such as a nuclear disaster, one of these robots could go into environments too dangerous for human rescue workers and execute simple tasks such as lifting debris off survivors or turning off a valve.

In June, RoboSimian and up to 18 other finalists will have to make their way through an obstacle course that simulates eight common scenarios. Each robot will attempt to drive a car, move across rubble, use a tool and climb stairs, all without a human controlling it. DARPA says the final competitors should be as competent as a 2-year-old child. The winning team will receive a $2 million prize.

JPL used leftover parts from RoboSimian to create another robot called Surrogate. The more traditional upright robot has a flexible spine, head and two arms. While better at manipulating objects, Surrogate ran on tracks and wasn't as adept at traversing the complicated terrain that is common in a disaster. After considering both candidates, the team decided to take RoboSimian to the finals.

One trade-off is that RoboSiman is slower than many other competitors. JPL's team is working with the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Caltech to increase the robot's walking speed.

"It is intentionally the tortoise relative to the other hares in the competition. We feel that a very stable and deliberate approach suites our technical strengths and provides a model for one vital element of the 'ecosystem' of robots that we expect to be deployed to disaster scenarios in the future," said JPL's Brett Kennedy, who is supervisor of the Robotic Vehicles and Manipulators Group.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is most known for designing robotics for space exploration, such as the Mars rovers. But the DARPA competition was an opportunity for the JPL group to take its existing robotics research and compare approaches directly to other talented teams.

NASA also has a long history of taking technology developed for space exploration and using it here on Earth.

RoboSimian software was influenced by programs used to control the Mars rovers. In both cases, the system is designed to let the robots work as autonomously as possible when communication with a human operator is dropped. Spotty communications are common in disaster scenarios (and on Mars).

The team has thought hard about all aspects of RoboSimian's design, even making sure it has the right look.

"We included industrial designers in the team in an effort to create a robot that looked professional rather than either threatening or overly cute," said Kennedy. "Basically, we wanted the perceptual equivalent of a St. Bernard."

While JPL is focused on perfecting the ape-like design for Earth-bound applications for now, this is just one stop in the circular life of NASA technology.

"We intend to spin the technologies developed for the terrestrial RoboSimian back out to applications in space," said Kennedy.

"These tasks include assembly and maintenance of orbital structures; exploration of low-gravity bodies like asteroids, comets, and moons; exploration of caves and cliffs on Mars or our moon; and even preconstruction of habitats wherever humans care to venture in the solar system."

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How Monsanto and Others Use Data to Feed Products to Farmers | Data-Driven Marketing

How Monsanto and Others Use Data to Feed Products to Farmers | Data-Driven Marketing | Ag app | Scoop.it

The acquisition of data companies isn't just a trend in Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue. It's happening out on the plains as well. Agribusiness colossus Monsanto bought a data and analytics firm last year for $930 million. Now that firm -- Climate Corp. -- is supplementing its data services and staff through the acquisition of a small Chicago startup, 640 Labs.

The entire agricultural industry is undergoing a massive shift away from planting-by-gut and historical weather data towards "precision agriculture," and companies like Monsanto are marketing products and services tailored to farmers based on the data they harvest.

Monsanto's goal to "grow more with less," as Anthony Osborne, VP of marketing for the firm's subsidiary, Climate Corp., put it, is in part predicated on farmers using modern data services to plant more efficiently with seeds and fertilizer customized for their soil. That creates a significant opportunity for Monsanto to develop a new line of products and services facilitating precision farming.

Climate Corp. is not unlike other firms providing free analytics tools then later offering paid premium versions -- think Google Analytics. Once the system proves beneficial to farmer clients, said Mr. Osborne, "then we can move them into paid products." The company sells its portfolio of data services through retailers that sell seeds, fertilizer and other farm supplies.

Climate Corp. has had a "good uptick" in purchases of its paid analytics product, Climate Pro, in the past year, according to Mr. Osborne. The company also is expanding a product that uses satellite data to show farmers images of their fields and where trouble spots are. They may consult the satellite images on their tablet devices while out in their fields, then go directly to that patch of dirt.

"Throughout history, that's been done by a guy walking through a field," said Mr. Osborne.

Startup activity
Today's farm equipment, like our automobiles, are computers pumping out and acting on steady streams of data. Auto-steering technologies, for instance, help farmers drive equipment in straight rows using GPS data. 640 Labs offers a system that grabs geo-tagged data from tractors, combines and other equipment, sends it to farmers' mobile devices, and allows them to store it in the cloud for real-time and future analysis and reports.

The precision farming trend is spurring startup activity. Small agri-tech firm Precision Planting offers a digital platform that helps farmers seed fields and maintain seed depth.


Farmobile's App 


Farmobile, a small outfit launched in 2013, has a system called Electronic Farm Record that stores and organizes farm data for analysis.

A full-scale ad battle has yet to break out in the space, but the companies are honing their pitches.

The Kansas-based Farmobile appeals to farmers by stressing that the system and its data is "farmer-owned," and plans to let farmers generate revenue from their own data by allowing them to pick and choose what information they are willing to disseminate to potential data buyers like pesticide producers or commodity traders.

"A farmer at the end of the year creates kind of a unique work of art on the land," said Jason Tatge, CEO and founder of Farmobile. "It's kind of similar to what a writer would do using paper and pen and ink," he said regarding the data farmers generate. "We're trying to create a way for these farmers to benefit."

That notion of control and revenue streams for those creating the data may not have found a place in the world of consumer data yet, but it is becoming a reality for farmers.

Addressing concerns
"We accelerated interests and it probably accelerated concerns [about] 'What's going to happen to my data?'" said Mr. Osborne. Farmer clients worry the information could be exploited by Monsanto or other companies to alter prices for seeds and other products, for example.

"The data the farmer provides us, they own that data," said Mr. Osborne, adding that Monsanto and Climate Corp. use client information only to improve products, unless farmer clients provide explicit consent.

Firms including Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Pioneer signed an agreement in November which will be overseen by the American Farm Bureau Federation, a non-governmental organization comprised of farm and ranch businesses. A set of principles agreed upon by industry stakeholders call for farmer ownership of data, as well as transparency regarding data collection and use by equipment manufacturers. The principles also call for farmer education about data rights and responsibilities.

"At this point in time, we are putting the principles out to other ag tech providers to see if they support the principles and would like to sign on the document," said Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations at the Farm Bureau. The organization is developing a "Transparency Evaluator Tool" to gauge whether companies are abiding by their corporate data and privacy policies and contracts with farmer clients.

"For example, if an ag tech provider says they do not sell or share a farmer's data, is that reflected in the contract?" said Ms. Thatcher.

"We anticipate many more farmers will participate in big data technology in the future and we believe it will be beneficial to producers in terms of sustainability, profitability and environmental impacts," she continued. "However, there is also a lot of fear in the countryside about privacy, security and usage of data. That is our main focus today."

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NEW MICHELIN FARM TYRE PRESSURE APP IS ‘ONE OF A KIND’

NEW MICHELIN FARM TYRE PRESSURE APP IS ‘ONE OF A KIND’ | Ag app | Scoop.it

Stoke-on-Trent – December 9, 2014

Michelin is making it much easier for farmers and contractors to get the most out of their tyres, by launching a new farm tyre pressure app for smartphones.

The new app, which Michelin claims is a one of a kind in the market, puts real-time agricultural tyre pressure information just a photo and a couple of clicks away. It can instantly work out the most appropriate tyre pressures for the desired load and speed on any farm tractor, ensuring users can access a bespoke tyre set-up in the field.

Using the Michelin Pressure Calculator is straightforward, with three easy steps for the user to follow. Firstly, the user must enter the weight of the load supported by front and rear axle. Then they must select the size and type of Michelin tyre fitted to the front and rear of the tractor using the drop down menus.

Once that is complete the farmer must take a photo of the tractor on their smartphone. The app’s built-in camera function is able to calculate the precise load distribution and the length of the overhang, measured from the wheels, to help define the optimum pressure recommendations. Results can be saved in a special ‘My Tractor’ folder or shared by email.

Mike Lawton, Commercial Director of Michelin’s Agricultural Division in the UK and Ireland, says: “These days most farmers are fully connected in the field, thanks to huge advances in mobile phone technology. Our development teams saw great potential for an app to help farmers and contractors set their tyres to the optimum pressure. Early feedback from trial users has surpassed both ours and their expectations; naturally, we’re incredibly excited about this launch.”

The Michelin Pressure Calculator mobile app is downloadable for free on Android devices, and will be released on iOS in January 2015. It is available in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish.

ends

Michelin ( www.michelin-agricultural-tyres.co.uk / @MichelinAgriUK )

Michelin , the leading tyre company, is dedicated to sustainably improving the mobility of goods and people by manufacturing and marketing tyres for every type of vehicle, including aircraft, automobiles, bicycles/motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. It also offers electronic mobility support services on ViaMichelin.com and publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in more than 170 countries, has 111,200 employees and operates 67 production plants in 17 different countries. The Group has a Technology Centre in charge of research and development with operations in Europe, North America and Asia. (www.michelin.com)

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iPad Is a Must-Have For This Southern Illinois Farmer

iPad Is a Must-Have For This Southern Illinois Farmer | Ag app | Scoop.it

Occasionally, a company rep will give me a call and ask that I check out a new app they’re offering.

I’ll typically oblige and put it through its paces. But, as most of you know, I don’t farm. I can evaluate functionality, but nothing compares to using it in a real-world application.

Last week, I got to see Nashville farmer RH Habbe do just that with Precision Planting’s FieldView app. Habbe’s Dekalb dealer, Brad Niedbalski, stopped by to check the yield results of several hybrids they were trialing on Habbe’s farm.

Habbe made just a couple taps on the iPad, and just like that an infographic popped up. It showed each hybrid planted, real-time yield results and how many acres were planted to each one.




In a matter of two minutes, Habbe decided that yes one of the new Dekalb hybrids performed better than others, and he would indeed increase the acres planted to it next year.

Habbe also showed me the real-time harvest functionality of the app. He brought up the combine and could see its exact location.

When he first pulled it up, the yield was reading 0 bushels. At first he worried aloud that it had broken down. Nope, it was just turning around at the end of the field.

Habbe was about 10 miles away waiting for parts to be delivered for his drill at the time. Keeping an eye on the combine helps him stay in tune with harvest progress. Once the combine finishes with a  field, Habbe has the app set so it will email landlords a yield map automatically.

As he jumped around from field to field on the app, I noticed the biggest use for Habbe was the note function. He had dropped pins from in-season scouting trips.

As harvest results filtered in, he checks his notes vs yield results. He says this will help them pinpoint specific problems and ascertain the cause.

Cloud storage and mobile computing has moved farming to the next level. If you haven’t jumped on board, you better get there soon.

This stuff isn’t just “gee whiz, that’s neat.” It has the ability to make things run easier and more efficiently. That’s worth something.

“My grandpa carried pliers on his side,” Habbe says. “I carry my iPad out the door every morning.”

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New App Takes the Guesswork Out of Preharvest Weed Control Timing

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Oct. 27, 2014) - Some things farmers know for sure. One is that pre-harvest weed control is a good idea. But getting the timing right can be much trickier. Monsanto is helping eliminate the guesswork with its new Preharvest Staging App. 

The app is designed to help quickly and accurately stage crops and weeds for preharvest applications of Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. It includes photos, measurements, in-field tests and herbicide recommendations for each of the crops and weeds currently on label. Users can also take advantage of the handy note-taking feature and herbicide calculator.

"Growers know it takes more than great seed to get those extra bushels in the bin," says Jennifer Ewankiw, crop protection marketing manager. "It takes great crop management too, and we believe this app will help farmers make solid agronomic decisions at that critical preharvest stage." 

The new app captures the findings of nearly a decade of research on preharvest staging and safe, effective applications of Roundup brand agricultural herbicides. This includes always following label directions.

"Preharvest is the best time to control Canada thistle and a variety of other weeds," says Ewankiw. "This app can help farmers maximize their herbicide investment while keeping their production clean and safe."

The Preharvest Staging Guide App is available for download from the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and Google Play for Android devices. The app is available in both English and French. Learn more and try it for yourself at www.Roundup.ca/en/preharveststagingapp

About Monsanto Canada

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monsanto Canada Inc. is part of the larger global Monsanto Company. Monsanto is an agricultural company committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce a variety of seeds ranging from fruits and vegetables to key crops - such as corn, soybeans, canola and cotton - that help farmers produce abundant and nutritious food. We work to find sustainable agriculture solutions that help farmers conserve natural resources, use data to improve farming practices, use water and other important resources more efficiently, and protect their crops from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world's biggest challenges. 

To learn more about Monsanto, please visit: www.monsanto.ca or follow us on Twitter @MonsantoCda.

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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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