Author Archives: Vince Rose

  1. Carrot Farm Sees 20% Increase in Efficiency with RTK Guidance

    With the TMX-2050 display and Autopilot, Leo Dunne Ltd. is able to cover more acres per hour and build more accurate carrot beds, resulting in less time and crop loss.

    They first tried a different system, but as farm manager Tim Davies put it, “Nothing went right with it,” and after-sales service and support were non-existent. After just one season, they decided to look for a new system.

    Upon consulting their Massey Ferguson dealer, as well as conducting a survey on a British farming Facebook group, they decided on Trimble and began working with reseller Vantage Ireland in 2017.

    Quick Installation, Short Learning Curve

    The farm started with a TMX-2050 display and Autopilot with full RTK accuracy on an 8480 Massey Ferguson tractor, which they use for ridging carrot beds. Because the tractor is from 2008 and didn’t

    have GPS capabilities, it needed a new motor drive and steering wheel installed. It took about two days to retrofit the tractor.

    “To get the exact acreage with GPS is brilliant from a costing point of view,” Tim Davies, Leo Dunne Ltd. farm manager.

    While Davies had previous experience with GPS guidance, he found the TMX-2050 to be very user-friendly, even for the employees who had never used GPS before. He trained six employees on the system and says after walking them through it a couple of times, they seem to be doing well with it.

    In-Field Efficiency Increases by 20%

    Benefits showed up almost immediately once they began using the technology.

    “I saw straight away that we were doing more acres an hour because it was a lot more accurate,” Davies says.

    For example, before the drivers were doing three-point turns in the headlands before making their next pass. With Autopilot, the tractor follows a circular path, eliminating the need for three-point turns. Now when a tractor enters the field, it’s always moving forward and should never have to stop, resulting in significant time savings.

    Davies estimates they’re now 20% more efficient in the field than they were before.

    “If a driver cultivates by eye, he would probably end up doing two or three trips extra because he’s overlapping,” he explains. “When you put that across hundreds of acres, you’re going to save time.”

    Not having to focus on steering also allows the driver to focus on what’s happening behind the tractor. Whether it’s cultivating, sowing, or spreading fertilizer, being able to watch the operation taking place ensures greater accuracy and efficiency.

    Davies is also better able to maximize employee time because a driver can look at the display and tell him how many acres he’s completed and how many he has left. This allows Davies to plan the day better and ensure he gets a good day’s work out of everyone.

    Accurate Maps Reduce Inputs and Crop Loss

    Knowing the exact acreage of their fields is another benefit of using the TMX-2050 with Autopilot. When sowing hundreds of thousands of carrot seed per acre, Davies says it’s important to know whether a field is actually 16 acres instead of 17, to ensure they’ve got the right amount of inputs for the field. He expects this will provide an even greater return on investment once they begin using the technology on their sprayer and fertilizer operations.

    It’s also important because field sizes in Ireland are smaller compared to the rest of Europe. Leo Dunne’s fields range from as small as 5.5 acres to 54 acres, with the carrot and vegetable fields averaging around 10 acres.

    “You have to utilize every square inch of the field right up to the hedge,” Davies says. “If I’m going to put seven spray applications on from pre-emerge to harvest, to get the exact acreage with GPS is brilliant from a costing point of view.”

    After a year with the one display, the farm decided to add a second TMX-2050 with Autopilot to its 7726 Massey Ferguson tractor, which is used for shaping the vegetable beds.

    Having two TMX-2050 displays allows them to use Vehicle Sync so the 8480 tractor can wirelessly transfer the AB lines to the 7726. Because the 7726 now follows the exact same path as the 8480, it’s eliminated any discrepancies in the beds — an important factor in carrot production, Davies says.

    “We have to have the sower as wide as possible on that bed, so you can have as much growing space as possible for the carrots,” he explains. “If those beds are not accurate, the sower keeps falling on and off the bed, which then just means you’re losing crops.”

    Top Support Drives Further Investment

    Leo Dunne plans to continue investing in more TMX-2050 displays and Autopilot receivers — ideally, Davies would like at least four or five units, with one for fertilizing and one for spraying, so he can also use variable-rate control to further increase accuracy and cost savings.

    He’s also looking into Trimble Ag Software, which would allow him to view where the tractors are from his laptop, what acres they’ve covered, and how fast they’re going. He’s also considering adding TrueTracker implement steering. But one of the main reasons Davies wants to continue investing in the GPS systems is because of the positive experience he’s had with Vantage Ireland.

    “It’s top class service and support,” he says.

    He recalls how one time he called up Mick McCarthy, who handles sales, support, installation, and business development for Vantage Ireland, about a problem he was having. Despite being on the west coast, McCarthy asked Davies to drop a pin of his location on Google Maps, and within two hours he was in the field to fix it.

    Davies adds that McCarthy continues to send tutorial videos and calls in regularly about any updates or changes. If anything goes wrong, they’re there to fix it,” he says. “It’s a reliable company that I’d be happy to continue farming with.”

     

    Vantage distributors around the world provide expert advice and seamless implementation of precision ag technology for use in your unique farming operation. To find a Vantage or Trimble Authorized Reseller near you, click here.

  2. Five Ways Technology Can Help Continue Your Work

    How Precision Ag Can Help You Farm Through COVID-19

    As we discussed in a recent blog post, agriculture is an essential industry all the time, but especially in the midst of a pandemic. Despite the challenges and uncertainty you’re facing from COVID-19, we know you’re still planting, harvesting, raising livestock and doing everything possible to keep your operations up and running.

    One tool that can help farmers navigate this difficult period is precision ag. Here are five ways technology can help you continue completing your work in a safe, timely and efficient manner.

    Maximize Hours and Run More Efficiently

    Since technology is available 24/7, you can utilize precision ag to get more work done in a day, particularly with auto-steer and guidance solutionsEven before the virus, farms all over the world have been running three 8-hour shifts in a 24-hour period to get their work completed on time. If you’re worried about getting your fieldwork accomplished in a timely manner due to the effects of the pandemic, guidance can allow you to have someone work their shift in the night, versus waiting until the next day.

    “If ground conditions are favorable and you can follow safety practices, technology is there for you to run a 24-hour operation,” says Guillermo Perez-Iturbe, Director of Marketing for Trimble Agriculture. “It just gives you more flexibility.”

    To learn more about how precision ag can help you run 24/7, see our guidance and steering solutions

    Help Get New Workers Up to Speed Quickly

    One concern you may be facing with the pandemic is a reduction in labor. Some farms rely on seasonal workers from other countries, and with border closures occurring, you may not have as many workers as expected.  Or if you or key personnel on your farm get sick, you may need family members or other employees to fill in for some tasks. In either case, technology can make this transition easier. Guidance solutions make it possible for people to focus on getting fieldwork done without worrying about driving the vehicle. This technology is simple enough that those new to farming can get up to speed quickly.

    If you fall ill and can’t teach others how to work the equipment and software, your precision ag reseller can teach on-site with the proper safety measurements due to COVID-19 and also support you remotely. If this is a concern, be proactive and reach out to the partner that delivered the technology to schedule training for the person that may need to fill in for you or another worker. Perez-Iturbe encourages Trimble customers to reach out to their Trimble resellers, as they are all open and ready to continue providing support.

    Get the Most Out of the Inputs You Have

    Labor isn’t the only factor being impacted by the coronavirus. There is concern that agriculture’s supply chain may see bottlenecks and shortages, and you may be unable to access the inputs you typically rely on.

    In such cases, variable-rate technology can help you get the most out of the inputs you do have, as it allows you to apply the right product in the right place at the right amount at the right time. You may find you can cover more acres than you normally would with blanket coverage. For example, the WeedSeeker 2 — which uses optics to spot-spray weeds — can reduce up to 90% of herbicide applied.

    Optimize Logistics to Eliminate Bottlenecks

    The other challenge with the supply chain, which we’re already seeing with Wisconsin dairy farmers having to dump milk, is farmers being unable to get their products off the farm when they need to. While precision ag can’t help you solve this problem, there are technologies that optimize the utilization of transportation and logistics. Transportation is a core business of Trimble’s, with solutions covering everything from the dispatching of vehicles to how the operators behave. If transportation companies in the agriculture industry utilize these kinds of technologies, it can help reduce those bottlenecks and ensure product continues moving from the farm to its final destination.

    Reduce Stress with Auto-Steer

    Everyone is under a lot of stress at the moment, and farmers have the added pressure of continuing to do their work so everyone still has access to healthy food. But if you haven’t adopted any precision ag yet, the simple incorporation of an auto-steer system like Autopilot can greatly reduce the amount of stress you’re facing on a day-to-day basis.

    If you’re planting without guidance, for example, you need two levels of concentration: 1) operating the vehicle itself, and 2) maintaining the guidance and heading of the vehicle to maximize the use out of your available land. By removing that second piece of concentration and allowing technology to handle the driving, you can put 100% of your attention on the fieldwork being completed and ensuring everything is working properly.

    This also reduces the odds of costly errors, and given the concern there may be a shortage of certain inputs, auto-steer can help ensure you get the most out of the inputs you have by eliminating overapplication from overlaps that can occur with manual driving.

    Get the Most Out of Precision Ag

    Technology brings a lot of automation to the farming process and creates economies, whether it’s
    extending the life of your equipment to maximizing yield by understanding the variability of the soil. If you already have adopted precision ag, now is a good opportunity to look for ways you can get more out of it.

    “It’s a time of change, yes, but technology can help,” says Perez-Iturbe. “Take better advantage of it. Maybe it was a good thing to buy the guidance system and that was plenty justifiable with the benefit you had, but what else? I’d entice those folks to get in touch with their Trimble Resellers and see how else they can utilize those technologies.”

    If you’re new to precision ag, it’s not too late to get started. If there’s a problem you’d like to solve, there is a solution that can help you. And you don’t have to go all in at once. Pick where you’d like to start, based on your particular needs and challenges, and you can continue building on that later. If you’re interested in trying a new solution or you’re not sure where to start, Trimble resellers are here to help. Contact your local reseller and they can help determine what precision ag technology would be a good fit for your operation at this time and how to get started.

    Stay Healthy and Follow the Guidelines

    While precision ag can help you maintain operations during the pandemic, only you can protect the health of your family and employees. It’s the responsibility of each farmer and worker to respect the guidelines that have been put in place in their region, and actively avoid situations where you could be exposed to the virus. We encourage every farm to think through ways they can reduce contact with one another and ensure the health of the entire operation.

    Please stay safe and once again, thank you for doing all you can to keep this essential industry running.

  3. Bushfires Hit Ag: The Impact on Australian Farmers

    When Stuart Austin heard about the Aug. 31, 2019 fire that started 20 kilometers north of Ebor, where he manages Wilmot Cattle Co., he wasn’t too concerned at first. His region in New South Wales is known for its high, reliable rainfall, so he never imagined it could burn there.

    But last year they were extremely dry, receiving only about 17 inches of the average 52 they get annually. On Friday, Sept. 6, the winds switched direction, blowing the fire straight at Wilmot at 50-60 kilometers per hour. By 4:30 p.m., it had arrived.

    Luckily, Wilmot practices holistic, regenerative ag management that requires intensive rotational grazing, they only had two mobs of cattle on the farm that day and were able to move them to safety. But in a span of 3-4 hours, the fire had burned about 2,500 acres of land, taking foot-high grass they had been preserving to feed cattle. Stuart estimates the financial loss was around $500,000, and without those pastures, they had to let half of their cattle go.


    Others suffered even worse damage. One neighbor’s entire place burned down and they lost 60 head of cattle. Another lost around 150 head, along with 35 kilometers of fencing.

    It’s now been 6 months since the fire and Stuart says they’ve got some momentum back now. They received a little rain on Christmas Day, and several more inches came in January and February. Stuart now feels the drought has finally broken, with grass species like fescue and cocksfoot returning thanks to their regenerative ag practices.

    “By constantly selling cattle and letting our country recover, it’s absolutely exploded with grass,” he says. “Our breeding operation has had more grass there than it’s had in the last 6 years.”But for the industry as a whole, it’s going to be a long process to recover from the damage, which has only been compounded by the ongoing drought.

    Drought Fuels Bushfire, Hurts Industry

    Adam Wall, Regional Development Manager ANZ, says the fires hit the dairy and livestock-producing states of New South Wales and Victoria the hardest. “Due to the time of year, the impact in terms of losses to grain growers and cotton growers has been fairly minimal,” he explains. But the drought — which Adam says has affected most of the country for 4-5 years, some places as long as 6 — has been hurting the wider agriculture industry much longer, especially the cropping industry. 

    “The east coast of Australia hasn’t had a significant cereal crop now for 3 years,” he says. “For the first time in almost 15 years, Australia has issued bulk grain imports. That’s virtually unheard of here, and goes to show the substantial grain shortages.”

    Those dry areas only fueled the fires further, causing significant damage to dairy and livestock producers. The most recent data from Meat and Livestock Australia indicates that 20% of the national cattle herd and 30% of the national sheep flock have either been significantly or partially impacted by the bushfires.

    The hit on farmers has hurt the industry as a whole. Farmers haven’t had the available income stream to make required capital purchases, Adam explains, which has affected businesses like equipment companies and their retail partners. He adds that rural areas where agriculture was the primary economy are really hurting. “The ripple effect across the industry has been very widespread.” Virtually every part of Australia’s vitally important agricultural economy has been impacted, Adam says. “What will these bushfires end up doing to an industry already under significant pressure” he asks. “No doubt it’s going to have an impact that is going to have direct and indirect issues.”

    How You Can Help

    The Australian government has responded to the disaster by creating the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and allocated an initial $2 billion to help rebuild the people and communities affected by it, with $100 million going to farmers, fishers, and foresters. But you can help support the recovery even further. The Australian government is requesting only financial donations and its website has a list of several charities where donations can be made, as well as organizations looking for volunteers.

    Stuart recommends donating to BlazeAid, a volunteer-based organization that helps rebuild fences and other structures in rural Australia after natural disasters. “They’re an absolute Godsend and worth supporting,” he says. And for those who personally know farmers in Australia, one of the best things you can do is directly reach out and see how they’re doing, Stuart says, as the mental health impact is probably the most unseen and unheard aspect of the fires.  

    “It certainly challenged me mentally for those few months,” he recalls. “People don’t tell you that they’re not feeling well or that they’re struggling, but give them an opportunity to just get it off their chest of what they’ve been up to or dealing with, I think helps a lot. “It’s difficult for people to say, ‘I really feel like crap.’ It’s been a huge issue throughout the drought and with this fire. I don’t think everyone fully comprehends how bad it is.”

    If you are a farmer who has been impacted by the bushfires, help is available. Please visit FarmHub’s list of mental health resources for counseling and support.

  4. Thank You, Farmers

    Thank You, Farmers

    With COVID-19 spreading across the globe and becoming a pandemic, many are retreating to their homes and taking their work online. But for farmers, that’s not an option.

    Farming is critical at all times to the quality and availability of food, to keep our society healthy and growing. It’s fundamental to providing nutrition. As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently said, “Food is essential all year round. But in the face of a pandemic, it is critical the shelves remain stocked and supplies remain plentiful.”

    Beyond food, agriculture is also a key contributor to many other industries, including the transportation, textile, and service industries. Many household products, such as fiber and plastic, are byproducts of farming.

    Governments around the world are recognizing the importance of farming and agriculture to continue during this pandemic. In the U.S., the Homeland Security Department released a memandorum identifying food and agriculture as essential critical infrastructure, stating that “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security … you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

    In Australia, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) says the government is acknowledging the critical importance of a reliable food supply chain. “The NFF has been assured that agriculture and the food supply chain will not be interrupted, despite the closure of travel between some states,” says NFF President Fiona Simson.

    Even Italy, Europe’s hardest-hit country, has made agricultural production an exception to its lockdown, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which is based in Rome, continues to work remotely through telecommunication. In Brazil, the Minister of Agriculture Tereza Cristina said there should be no concern about COVID-19 impacts and changes that need to be made to its food supply.

    We know you are facing uncertain times. You may be worried about your labor force, whether you’ll have the inputs you need, and the health and safety of family members who work off the farm. We want you to know that Trimble is open for business and is maintaining the guidelines set forth by the government to protect our customers, resellers, partners, and employees. We’re still committed to improving your productivity in these challenging times while doing everything we can to keep everyone safe and healthy.

    “Our CEO since day one has been extremely serious about doing the right thing for our community to maintain as much as we could the highest quality of service possible for every single one of our customers, respecting local Health guidelines and the safety of our employees, partners and everyone involved,” says Guillermo Perez-Iturbe, Director of Marketing for Trimble Agriculture.

    We also know that you have not stopped farming, and for that we are grateful. Thank you for continuing to do the hard work it takes to grow the crops our society needs, and for taking the precautions necessary to farm safely during this time. As an industry, we are all in this together, and we thank you immensely for continuing to grow the food that feeds the world.

    To read more about Trimble’s response to COVID-19, visit our dedicated response page by clicking here.

  5. Congratulations to our Trimble Photo and Video Contest Winners!

    We are excited to announce the winners of our 2019 global photo and video contest! The contest welcomed farmers, Trimble resellers, and Trimble employees to submit photos and videos that celebrate the essence of agriculture, the passion of farmers, and the exciting innovations that are driving this industry forward. The contest received over 300 submissions and 5,000+ votes – Thank you to everyone who participated!

    Below is a list of our winners and a sample of the amazing photos and videos we received from our submissions. Follow us on Facebook to see future posts featuring all of our fantastic submissions!

    Regional Breakdown:

    • North America
      • Daniel H. – First Place Photo
      • Gentry C. – Second Place Photo
      • Dennis F. – First Place Video
    • Asia-Pacific
      • Cameron S. – First Place Photo
      • Jordan M. – Second Place Photo
    • Europe/ Middle East/ Africa
      • Mustafa G. – First Place Photo
      • Peter P. – Second Place Photo
      • Arnold A. – First Place Video
    • Russia/ Ukraine/ & other CIS countries
      • Shovkat K. – First Place Photo
      • Nixon M – Second Place Photo
    • Latin America
      • Fernando C. – 3rd Place Photo

    Congratulations again to all of our winners!

  6. How Traceability Can Increase Food Safety and Boost Farm Profits

    By Minos Athanassiadis, Business Area Director – HarvestMark

     

    When an E. coli outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce last fall, it illustrated the importance of traceability in agriculture.

    Without sufficient information to pinpoint the particular farm and fields where the tainted lettuce was coming from, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advised the public to avoid consuming romaine lettuce and destroy any that was in their homes, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested all romaine lettuce on the market be withdrawn and destroyed.

    “The FDA made this request because initial information available at that time had not identified a likely source for the outbreak that would allow a targeted request,” a statement issued by the FDA on Nov. 26, 2018 explained. “… [A] market withdrawal was the fastest way to remove the potentially contaminated product.”

    By the time the outbreak was over, 62 people from 17 states had contracted E. Coli from the contaminated lettuce, with 25 ending up in the hospital. It also resulted in tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in losses for romaine lettuce growers.

    While food safety crises are a prime example of the benefit traceability can play in the food industry, it’s not the only driver of this movement.

    More consumers are seeking knowledge about where their food comes from and how it’s made. By embracing higher levels of traceability, fresh fruit and vegetable growers have an opportunity to better serve their customers and create a brand that could lead to premium pricing and higher profits.

     

    Traceability Today: Case-Level Traceability

    The current level of traceability on the market stems from the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). As a result of previous food safety crises, the industry got together and developed the initiative, which almost every grower, packer and shipper abides by — otherwise, it’s much harder for them to sell their products. The few who don’t follow the initiative have to sell their product at a deeper discount than is warranted.

    The PTI requires case-level traceability, which HarvestMark was one of the pioneers in establishing.

    Case-level traceability is when everyone who touches a case of product, such as mixed lettuce or strawberries, is able to trace it one step back and one step forward.

    It starts with a code being placed on the case before it leaves a field or processing plant to go to a retailer or food service distribution center. Those at the distribution centers then scan the product before it moves onto the retailer.

    The issue and concern with case-level traceability is that retailers don’t often scan the PTI barcodes as part of their receiving protocol. When a produce clerk puts the product on the shelf at the store, the case is often thrown away, effectively cutting off its traceability. So when a consumer takes a bag of romaine hearts home, they’re unable to tell where that lettuce came from.

    With the romaine lettuce crisis, if retailers had scanned the product at the store level and not just the distribution centers, the FDA would have been better able to pinpoint the source of the bad romaine much faster, which likely would have reduced the amount of lettuce lost, as well as the number of people who became ill.

    Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that grocery retailers will implement this in their store-receiving protocol in the future. Because they work in a very low-margin business, updating their software and having personnel in place to add this step is probably too steep of a cost.

     

    Item-Level Traceability Tracks Food from Field to Fork

    However, growers could bypass relying on the retailer altogether by adopting item-level traceability, another solution developed by HarvestMark.

    Item-level traceability is where every single product has its own unique QR code that the consumer can scan with his or her smartphone to learn more about the product. This information can include the field and lot where the product was harvested, the date it was harvested and sometimes even the crew that harvested it.

    Because it can trace food from field to fork, item-level traceability can better assist the FDA in tracking sources of tainted food over case-level traceability. In fact, HarvestMark is currently working with a large grower trade organization to try to establish an item-level traceability system for this purpose.

    It can also keep consumers informed about food safety concerns and help them avoid tainted products. David Barton, Trimble Product Market Manager for the North America Region, recently experienced this as a consumer.

    After shopping at Costco, he says he received a call from the company that, according to their records, he had purchased a product that had been recalled due to a food safety issue. The company specified that the recall only applied to those that had a certain best-if-used-by date. From there, Barton was able to determine whether that recall applied to him and if he needed to toss the product.

    “This is a very immediate process when Costco’s able to whip out their data collection in a very short time,” he says. “Well, farms are getting to where they’re going to have to be able to do that.”

     

    Consumers’ Desire for Info Drives Traceability Movement

    But the benefits of item-level traceability go beyond food safety. Growers can also utilize this technology to build stronger relationships with consumers, who are increasingly searching for information about their food and where it comes from.

    With the internet available at our fingertips, consumers are able to access more information about their food unlike anytime before, and their desire for even more knowledge is predicted to continue growing.

    The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation named discovering a food’s origin story as one of the five food trends to watch in 2019 and results from the foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey back this up. When asked how important knowing where food comes from:

    • Over 50% said it was at least somewhat important
    • Just over 20% rated it as very important
    • Less than 10% said it wasn’t important at all

    But consumers don’t just want to know where their food comes from — they also want information on how their food is produced.

    In 2018, just under 50% said that understanding how their food is produced was at least somewhat important, up from just over 40% in 2017. About 45% indicated that being able to access information about how their food was produced was at least somewhat important.

    As a result of consumers asking for more transparency and clarity about their food and where it comes from, we can expect traceability to increase, not only in the fresh produce industry but also in the meat industry. Meat processors are now asking for help in providing information to the retailer and consumer about the particular animal the meat came from and how that animal was treated.

    Grain growers, however, will probably not have to worry about traceability because the structure of the grain industry — the amount of mixing and consolidation involved after the grain leaves the farm — makes it very difficult to trace, and the market is currently not demanding that level of traceability for grain products.

     

    Tracing from Farm-to-Fork with Trimble Technology

    The good news for growers is that the technology needed to provide consumers with more information already exists.

    Using Trimble Ag Software  functionality, growers can record information about a plant from the moment it’s seeded all the way through harvest, such as its planting date, amount it was irrigated, chemicals and fertilizers applied to it, when it was harvested, etc.

    All of that information can then be tied in post-harvest with HarvestMark item-level functionality and tracked until it reaches the consumer, who can then scan that product’s QR code with their phone and have access to as much information about that product as they could want.

    Growers implementing sustainable farming practices will also be able to use this technology to quantify those practices, which could be used for marketing purposes to the consumer. According to global measurement and data analytics company Nielsen, sustainability is becoming more important to consumers in regards to food transparency, noting that sustainable product sales have increased by 20% since 2014.

     

    Ensuring Brand Authenticity

    Part of providing consumers with information about where their food comes from is also ensuring that the product is really what the packaging says it is, and not a counterfeit.

    That’s the case for Zespri, a New Zealand-grown brand of kiwi that is highly prized in China. With kiwis also being native to China, some Chinese growers have copied the Zespri box and are packing them with their own kiwis in an attempt to sell them for a higher price.

    By using the HarvestMark code, receivers can tell if the kiwis are truly a Zespri product or if they’re fake. For growers and companies who have developed a brand like Zespri, the anti-counterfeiting capabilities of item-level traceability can be a major benefit in protecting their brands and reputations.

     

    Using Traceability to Create a Brand and Charge Premium Prices

    However, many growers have not developed a brand name like Zespri or Cutie’s mandarin oranges. Instead, they see themselves as being in a commodity business. Without being able to differentiate their product on the basis of unique attributes, such as flavor, appearance or size, they end up differentiating their product based on price.

    But with traceability, growers can start a conversation with consumers and try to differentiate themselves from others.

    Driscoll’s Berries is an example of a company that has succeeded in this. For the last decade or so, Driscoll’s has been placing unique QR codes on the bottom of their clamshell packaging that allows customers to join the company’s online consumer panel and provide feedback. In return, Driscoll’s sends them coupons and holds contests for them. The online consumer panel has done so well, the brand has more than half a million consumers participating in it.

    As a result, Driscoll’s has been able to differentiate their product enough that they can charge a premium price for their berries compared to their competitors, while also gaining consumer trust.

    There are also a number of retailers who support that level of traceability and transparency, so they’re willing to pay a little more to have those products in their stores and communicate to their customers that they only buy the safest, most traceable and highest quality product out there.

    By adopting a higher level of traceability, growers can not only help protect their customers and products from food safety concerns but differentiate themselves enough to create a brand that will increase their prices and improve their bottom lines.

  7. No-Till Farmer Partners with Trimble on “Connect Your Farm Spring Giveaway”

    No-Till Farmer has partnered with Trimble to launch the “Connect Your Farm Spring Giveaway.” This Instant Win digital promotion is free to enter and runs through May 31, 2019. Play the Connect Your Farm Spring Giveaway here.

    GRAND PRIZE — A $1,788 VALUE
    ONE WINNER will receive a 1-year subscription to Farmer Pro, Trimble’s most powerful desktop, online and mobile farm management software.

    SECOND PRIZE — A $199.00 VALUE
    THREE WINNERS will each receive a free 1-year subscription to Trimble’s Farmer Core farm management software. Farmer Core connects your entire farm operation by integrating machine-generated data from precision ag displays to simplify farm setup and streamline farm operations.

    THIRD PRIZE — A $31.00 VALUE
    TEN WINNERS will receive a free Trimble 20 oz. Tumbler and sample package of Farmer Brothers Coffee.

    Enter this contest now find out instantly if you’re the winner of 1 of 14 exciting prizes valued at $2,700, including a free 1-year subscription to Trimble’s Farmer Pro farm management software. You can earn additional chances to win by sharing the contest with friends, watching videos, following Trimble on social media and completing other simple engagement activities.

    The Connect Your Farm Spring Giveaway, which runs through May 31, 2019, can be entered by visiting No-TillFarmer.com/ConnectYourFarm.

  8. Trimble Launches Farmer Core to Connect the Entire Farm Operation

    SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 3, 2019—Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) announced today the launch of Farmer Core, a new entry-level Trimble Ag Software subscription that enables farmers to connect all aspects of their farm operation. Available online and on any mobile device, Farmer Core is a powerful yet affordable software-as-a-service (SaaS) that integrates machine-generated data from precision ag displays to simplify farm setup and streamline farm operations.

    Farmer Core leverages the new AutoSync™ feature, which automatically syncs guidance lines, field names, boundaries, landmarks and operator information across Trimble Ag Software and Trimble displays using the Precision-IQ™ field application. Precision-IQ is used to collect and manage data from in-field activities. By reducing human error and eliminating the need to manually share data via USB, this new AutoSync functionality improves overall farm record integrity.

    AutoSync is included with Trimble Ag Software subscriptions to Farmer Core, Farmer Fit or Farmer Pro. With AutoSync, Farmer Core significantly reduces duplication, data re-entry and human error because the creation and ongoing management of field and operator information—whether online, via the Trimble Ag mobile app or on the display—is automatically synced within minutes across the entire farm operation.

    Farmer Core is a powerful addition to the Trimble Connected Farm® solution, a unified suite of precision ag applications covering all aspects of modern agricultural management. From the office to the field, all year round, Trimble Connected Farm enables growers to perform critical farm work smarter, faster and more cost-effectively. Through universal vehicle and implement integration, seamless data transfer and analysis as well as the ability to leverage Trimble’s leading satellite-delivered positioning correction services, farmers can connect as much or as little of their operation as they choose, with easy options for expanding and upgrading as desired.

    In addition, Farmer Core, Farmer Fit and Farmer Pro subscriptions enable users to work with precision ag data in real time, including data imported via APIs from third-party displays.

    With Farmer Core growers can:

      • Simplify Farm Setup: Create client/farm/field names, import or draw field boundaries and map landmarks with Trimble Ag Mobile, which will then sync across connected devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and Trimble displays using the Precision-IQ field application.
      • Streamline Farm Operations: Manage guidance lines boundaries, field names, landmarks and operator data across connected devices in a farm operation, integrating all machine-generated data from Trimble displays and other sources via APIs.
      • Improve Reliability of Farm Records: Track purchases and costs by field, improve consistency of precision ag data and generate reliable ‘proof-of-placement’ reports for a farmer’s own farm records and for third parties.

    “Today, farmers often struggle with how they manage guidance lines. When they’re set up on one display or in the office, operators have to share these with other displays via USB. It’s a clunky process,” said Craig Hiemstra, general manager of Trimble’s Agriculture Business Solutions. “Farmer Core, which leverages AutoSync, takes this solution to the next level and helps our customers move faster and reduce mistakes, saving both time and money.”

    A Farmer Core subscription is $199 per year. Connecting to Trimble displays with AutoSync requires a Display Connection, which is $99 per display per year. For more information or to purchase Farmer Core, visit:  https://agriculture.trimble.com/product/farmer-core.

     

    About Trimble’s Agriculture Division 

    Trimble’s Agriculture Division provides solutions that solve complex technology challenges across the entire agricultural landscape. The solutions enable farmers and advisors to allocate scarce resources to produce a safe, reliable food supply in a profitable and environmentally sustainable manner. Covering all seasons, crops, terrains and farm sizes, Trimble solutions can be used on most equipment on the farm, regardless of manufacturer and production year. To enable better decision making, Trimble offers technology integration that allows farmers to collect, share, and manage information across their farm, while providing improved operating efficiencies in the agricultural value chain. Trimble solutions include guidance and steering; grade control, leveling and drainage; flow and application control; irrigation; harvest solutions; desktop and cloud-based data management; and correction services. For more information on Trimble Agriculture, visit:  agriculture.trimble.com.

     

    About Trimble

    Trimble is transforming the way the world works by delivering products and services that connect the physical and digital worlds. Core technologies in positioning, modeling, connectivity and data analytics enable customers to improve productivity, quality, safety and sustainability. From purpose built products to enterprise lifecycle solutions, Trimble software, hardware and services are transforming industries such as agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation and logistics. For more information about Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB), visit:  www.trimble.com.

  9. Trimble to Attend Thrive Innovation Summit

    Wednesday, March 27th marks the 3rd annual THRIVE Innovation Summit, an event designed to showcase the latest AgTech innovations and gather the best of Ag’s industry leaders to discuss hot topics like blockchain, biotechnology, precision farming and autonomy. The Summit is held in Silicon Valley at Santa Clara University and attracts over 300 agriculture corporations, investors, farmers, and startup companies.

    Over the last few years, the THRIVE Innovation Summit has provided attendees with the opportunity to exclusively hear from the 50 leading global AgTech companies identified in their annual THRIVE Top 50 Report. At this years’ summit, attendees will be hearing from founders and executives from CropIn Technology Solutions, AeroFarms, Pivot Bio, Prospera, Taranis Ag, Benson Hill Biosciences and Solinftech. Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford will be delivering the keynote and will be joined by a handful of other industry leaders, including our very own Senior Vice President of Trimble Agriculture, Darryl Matthews.

    What is the THRIVE Top 50 Report?

    The 2019 Top 50 report recognizes companies across six different technology categories and seven areas deemed as problematic within the Ag industry. The official report was developed after months of research with aid from SVG Ventures corporate partners’ such as Trimble, Land O’Lakes, Wilbur Ellis, Taylor Farms, Elanco, Corteva, E&J Gallo Winery, Verizon Wireless, the City of Salinas, Western Growers Association, Yamaha Motor Venture & Laboratory Silicon Valley, Driscoll’s Berries, JV Smith, and Wells Fargo.

    Trimble’s Commitment to Advancement in Agriculture

    On February 12, 2018, Trimble officially became the latest corporate partner to join the THRIVE AgTech Venture & Innovation Platform. The relationship between Trimble and SVG’s THRIVE platform represents a continued commitment to helping build a more sustainable agriculture supply chain and providing innovative solutions to farmers worldwide.

    Sector Vice President, Natural Resources, Trimble

     

    “THRIVE is identifying startups that are bringing new and different technology to agriculture,” said Darryl Matthews, Trimble senior vice president. “Our aim is to advance technology by ensuring that new products have a path to the farmer and by leveraging our global distribution network of dealers who can provide a real-time feedback loop on these new technologies.”

     

    Trimble Agriculture is excited to announce that they have sponsored three representatives from Agriculture Future of America (AFA), an organization that helps connect college students with industry professionals and future career opportunities, to attend the THRIVE Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley this year. Trimble’s partnership with AFA first began in the fall of 2016, just in time to sponsor the annual AFA Leaders Conference in Kansas City, MO. The AFA Leaders Conference offers leader and career development training for talented young men and women pursuing a career in the Agricultural industry across the nation.

     

    “The Trimble/AFA relationship has become a great avenue for Trimble to connect with highly qualified students who have become Trimble employees.  Trimble is excited to foster a relationship between the AFA and Thrive. The AFA is molding future leaders in Agriculture, many of which will be driving the future of Ag technology.  The Thrive Innovation Summit is a perfect venue for students to engage with up-and-coming startups and gain an understanding of what it truly takes to innovate in today’s Ag Tech environment.” – Matthews

     

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  10. Trimble Software ‘Saves Me Time and Money’: Customer Survey

    Trimble Ag Customer SurveyTrimble Ag Software got the ‘thumbs up’ in a recent customer survey, where users gave the platform top marks for saving their farming operations time and money, as well as helping their team stay organized.

    “We get excited when we see results like this because it shows us we’re on the right track,” said Clint Dotterer, Director of Strategic Marketing for Trimble Ag Business Solutions. “Farming is complex enough these days. It’s our job to develop innovative yet easy to use software that makes farmers’ lives easier, and boosts their bottom line. By using software to connect their entire farm operation, our customers are automating critical workflows and getting a really high ROI — and we’re just happy to be part of their success.”

    The survey, conducted in January, found that Farmer Fit and Farmer Pro license holders were leveraging the software more and more in their operations. Over 50% of these users said the software platform — with fully integrated desktop, online, and mobile functionality — helped them plan better for the future.

    “I like that you connect to many software platforms like John Deere, AgLeader”, said one respondent. “Love the accounting and mapping,” noted another.

    When asked to rank their overall satisfaction with the product, respondents selected ‘quality of product’ and ‘ease of use’ as their top choices.

    Dotterer said the survey results are being closely studied by Trimble Ag Software’s product development team to ensure customer feedback is integrated into future upgrades and enhancements.

    Click here to learn more about Trimble Ag Software.