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says. “He explained what it would take on our end, the cost and ultimately learned right along with us in refi ning it the last few years.” Currently, RTK corrections are via radio signal rather than

cellular. That’s primarily because the Hudsons are contracted for the radio signal, but Christopher believes cellular would open the door for wider application, including expanded fl eet and information management systems that allow streamlined data sharing between the fi eld and offi ce.

Yield Data Collection

New technology plays a slightly more limited role at harvest. For the 2012 harvest, the Hudsons used a Case IH 8230 combine with a 12-row Dragotec corn head, and a 45-foot MacDon draper head for soybeans. Guidance isn’t utilized for corn harvest, but the Hudsons plan to add row guidance for the 2013 growing season. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) provides com- bine guidance for soybean harvest. WAAS doesn’t deliver RTK-level accuracy, but considering the size of the head and the cost of the RTK subscription, the Hudsons don’t feel it’s currently worth the extra investment. “The margin for error in WAAS means we’re probably not fully maximizing the productivity of our MacDon draper, but by no more than a foot at the most,” Christopher says. The Hudsons trade combines frequently, to keep them cur- rent with higher levels of technology as they become available. The most important factor is that the combine’s yield-monitor calibration is continually fi ne-tuned to guarantee the highest quality data, Christopher says.

Their Digi-Star grain cart scale also documents every

RTK guidance and a laterally adjusting hydraulic hitch enable Curt and Christopher Hudson to sidedress anhydrous ammonia in 20-inch corn rows.

years ago, they didn’t want to give up the agronomic or eco- nomic advantages of sidedressing with anhydrous ammonia. The problem was that narrower rows left very little room for placement error. “To successfully sidedress corn, the planter pass has to be perfect — it’s a very precise environment,” Christopher says. “The tracks on the 8345 are 16 inches wide — the nar- rowest we could get. With 20-inch rows, that only gives you 2 inches for error on either side.” The Hudsons worked with Evan Zimmerman, their preci- sion farming specialist at Bane-Welker Equipment in Wing- ate, Ind., to fi nd a solution. They moved to active implement guidance with a Trimble

FmX RTK system that reduces implement drift signifi cant- ly compared to a passive system. They’ve been using RTK during planting for fi ve years because it’s the only level of guidance that allows them to successfully sidedress 20-inch rows in tandem with active implement guidance for both the planter and sidedress applicator. “Evan was instrumental in the transition and helped get us to that next step of more precise accuracy,” Christopher


bushel from every fi eld. The iPad’s FieldView app is used in the combine cab at harvest to reference hybrid data, population rates and planting dates, and to make quick observations about areas where prob- lems, such as bad singulation and low population, are apparent.

Dealer Takeaways

Curt and Chris- topher handle all yield data collec- tion, and Farm Works software is used to man- age and analyze it. Yield informa- tion obtained from the combine, grain cart weigh scale and elevator-scale tickets is corre- lated and refi ned to help the Hudsons

• Work with customers to keep them informed on the latest updates or upgrades to new precision technology.

• Stay educated on what customers are using to manage farm operations, such as apps or software, to better communicate with them on future needs.

• Be an advisor and not just a salesperson or technician. This will help bridge any technology gap between you and the customer.


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