AMS Report 3.29.14

by Josh Zuck

The weather is still not our friend and there is still a lot of frost in the ground. A few guys have applied some fertilizer, but can only run a few hours in the morning before the ground thaws out.

Teke Heinschel, Sales Represantive at Lanark, has been keeping busy mapping field boundaries for RTK customers. He has around 2500 acres done with another 11,000 to go. Customers up this way don’t have any square fields and a lot of waterways.  In fields like this, RTK can pay for its self in 1 year and customers can really see the seed savings when it comes to RTK.

We held a customer silage clinic in Verona, WI and had a very good turnout.  The discussions centered around the Kernel Processor and Deere’s Kernel Star vs. Shredlage.

We also held a sprayer clinic in Monroe and had another great customer turn out. Hy-pro had a rep from their company that attended along with a rep from Firestone tire.  The Firestone rep did a tire pressure discussion along with a tire contact board that showed footprint differences under different tire pressure settings.  The Hy-pro rep brought up a sprayer boom simulator that represented a sprayer boom with clear plastic pipe to show how little water the boom had in it during operation (half air and half water).  He also had a version that had the new end cap aspirators on it to show how they operate.  The air in the boom is what causes the nozzles to slowly build a pattern and also has a weak turn on and off time.  Customers were very impressed when they saw the difference in the tip flow and how that would apply the correct amount of product where they wanted.   It and also greatly improved on and off times. Cuba City had three customers agree to put them on their sprayers.  We have done one install already and we have the special tools to do both high flow and standard flow if anyone also needs to do them in the shop.

Joe Brunker, Product Support Specialist at Monroe, WI, ran into an issue with Apex where the RX acres were not correct. Some were ½ off and some were 1/3 off. Deere is aware of the issue but no fix at this time. They said it should not affect planting.

Installs are underway and we have been doing a lot of rate controllers on NH3 bars along with all different kinds of liquid fertilizer systems on planters. Customers are still pricing new and used AMS equipment.

The northern stores will be getting the RTK towers finished up next week with the help of a few guys down south coming up to assist with the install.

I installed an Auto Trac controller in a T9.390 NH 4wd yesterday. It went very quick and was easy to install.  These  Auto Trac controllers have really sparked some interest this year. You can utilize the other brands ISO connector and harness for the most part and it is a very clean set up, especially for customer that have a red tractor and a John Deere Planter.

Row units are still coming in to get ran on the test stand. Make sure that all the brand new planters that we sell to send to the stores that have the test stands. Every new meter has needed adjustments to achieve the best spacing.  Just remember that the row units don’t come ready to plant from the factory.

AMS Report 3.29.2014

by Lucas Veale

The spring season is trying to get here in some areas of central Illinois.  A few places have seen NH3 and other fertilizer being applied.  There are even rumors of a field or two that have been planted.  Customers are definitely making last minute preparations for spring as the store and phone traffic is on the rise.  The AMS crew has been completing customer visits on planter and tractors as well as Accudepth Field Cultivators.

AMS product sales are also going well right now.  StarFire 3000 Receivers and RTK upgrades are leading the way along with strong autotrac and swath control activation sales.

Kinze ISO conversions also continue to gain in popularity.  The Sloan AMS team has done several installs this winter with a couple yet to go.  One issue is the version 2.0 software update.  It has provided frustration as it takes several attempts to get it to install.  Matt Dehlinger, Product Support Specialist at our Effingham, IL location, reports that if this occurs you should shut off the key, unplug the planter harness, re-install the planter harness, and try again.  He has had success with this procedure to get the software installed. Also see his comments about downloading from the website.

“Kinze ISO updates have been causing issues yet.  When you download the update from Kinze click open and then copy the file straight to the File Server folder on the zip drive and don’t change the name of it and it should work.”  Matt Dehlinger, Product Support Specialist at Effingham, IL location.

Josh Thornton, product support specialist at the White Hall, IL location, reports that the R-series sprayers have a connector at the back of the cab that connects a CAB CAM to the GS3.  However, the connector is different than what is found on an R-Series tractor.  Deere has a harness but it is on backorder.

Lucas Benning, product support specialist at the Vandalia, IL location,  has found a height switch from AG Leader that works well on Kinze planters that have rate controllers for ½ width swath control.  He also found a solution for a 900 radio not being recognized by the receiver.  His comments are below

“When I was checking RTK bases, the 900 radio would not recognize on the receiver. I updated software and still nothing. I back dated software to 1.52 and it worked just fine. I ended up having to reinstall GS Live Update and then download the 1.90 software on the receiver and it seemed to work fine.” Lucas Benning, Product Support Specialist at Vandalia, IL location.

Matt Sweitzer, Atwood, IL and Justin Bickel, Virden, IL,  have seen issues with upgrading ITC receivers to 3000s and the Stellar Support website seems to be the issue.  They are working on a solution.  In the meantime, be careful trying to update.  It might be beneficial to call the JD activation line when trying to complete this so you will have documentation if the problem arises.

Jared Wheeler, product support specialist at Assumption, IL, has been busy loading cards for the Mapping Service and converting prescriptions from Harvest Max.  He says that wireless data transfer is gaining a lot of interest.

Derek Sloan, product support specialist at Assumption, has been busy running the gator doing our boundary and A/B line service.  We have completed about 14,500 acres since Jan 1 with this service.  Customers like the convenience of their A/B lines already loaded and having their waterways mapped so the planter clutches will shut off when they cross it.  It has also driven some RTK upgrades.

Matt Sweitzer and Dylan Vickers, both at the Atwood, IL location of Sloan Implement, completed setup of the ExactEmerge planter at the Atwood location.  Read Matt’s comments on this task.

“Dylan (Vickers) and I also set up the new ExactEmerge planter. Set up is pretty straight forward. It is much easier to run the planter because you do not need the simulator kit anymore. You can run the meters from the cab and then get out and walk around the planter.  The new Seedstar monitor is also much improved in my opinion.” Matt Sweitzer, Product Support Specialist at Sloan Implement  Atwood, IL.

The new seed meter test stand has been very successful.  We have signed up 438 meters since Feb 6th when we picked up the stand.  We have 48 more rows pending sign up if we can get to them before they need to start planting.  One of the biggest issues comes from customers leaving the plates and seed in the hoppers over winter.  Jake Pippen, product support at Assumption, has done a great job with this unit.  See his comments on new planter seed meters.  He has also received quite a bit of help from Josh Zuck.

“I have been running meters and found that the hubs on a brand new pro-series planter were way too loose and needed to be tightened at least a full turn to raise the torque  to aprrox 40-45 in-lbs.   Also on finger pickups, we have been having good luck with running the Precision fingers and Kinze back plates.  I have also had good luck running the Precision fingers and Precision back plates.  Running Kinze on Kinze will work, but not near as high of singulation percentage as the other settings.  I also found one of the meter housings was sprung causing poor singulation.  I have also noticed that if the door seals are caked with talc and seed treatment,  then you will need to clean off the seals  and run for 10+ tests to get them to “wear” back in to the meter and start running properly. ” Jake Pippen, Product Support Specialist at Assumption, IL.

The call center started on Monday.   Please refer customers to this number for any AMS questions that they might have including SF2 subscriptions.  Any feedback about the call center would be appreciated.

AMS Report 3.7.2014

by Josh Zuck

The weather up north has not been cooperating with us too well. We had another 8 inches of snow since Saturday night. This puts the snow fall for this year in Lanark up around 60 inches when our average is around 30 inches. The temps have been in the teens during the day and single to negative digits at night. My Dad said he has seen anywhere from 5 – 7 feet of frost in the ground!

We had a customer clinic last week on Self Propelled Forage Harvesters (SPFH’s) and had a really good turnout. We spent time discussing the new Kernal Star kernel processor vs. the Claas chopper and Shreadlage.

With the never ending winter, we have decided to add two more customer clinics. One clinic will be March 18th in Verona, WI and will about quality silage and the other is a sprayer clinic in Monroe on March 20th. We will focus on sprayers and the GreenStar displays and also the importance of the tire pressure.  Register online at http://www.sloans.com/events/

We have been getting more and more interest in customers adding liquid fertilizer to their planters and we have been pricing a lot of Surefire systems for 4 – 5 gal. / acre in furrow and also piston pumps with openers for that 10 – 15 gal. / acre range.

Customers are also still thinking about adding row clutches to their planter before the planting season. The savings calculator that we have shown at our clinics really opens their eyes, even with $4.00 corn.

Schlagel closing wheels have really been a big hit up in the northern stores for customers that do a lot of no till. They work great in closing the trench in hard no–till ground, but also work well in softer ground.  They don’t pack the trench like other closing wheels do.

Totally tubular has been a great in furrow option for fertilizer. It places the fertilizer in front and below the kernel. Some customers don’t like the Keeton seed firmer because it can drag the corn and create a poor stand. So if you have a customer that is looking for an in furrow option and is skeptical of the Keeton’s, this is the way to go.

We are still working on the RTK towers up north. If the snow would ever stop and warm up above 20 degrees, we will be hammering these out. We put the amps, radios and power supply in a weather proof box. All the boxes are almost done and won’t take too long to hang them on a grain leg and get them turned on. As long as everything goes good, we should have most up and going before the end of the month or fist week in April.

AMS sales have really grown in the last couple of weeks like Lucas said. The longer winter has given guys more time to think on how to maximize their equipment this spring with a very short upcoming window to apply NH3 and plant.

Planter row units continue to come in and out of the door. Our one tech in Lanark has been running them nonstop for the 3 weeks and still more coming in. With the extra window before planting season, get with your customers and talk to them about getting their units ran yet. We still have plenty of time.

AMS Report 3.7.2014

by Lucas Veale

Wireless Data Transfer continues to be a hot topic.  Customers are asking about adding this to their R-Series tractors for spring.  It is $700 per year if they do not currently have a JDLINK Ultimate subscription on the 8R.  They also will need to buy a $120 Ethernet cable.

Seed meter test stand is really gaining traction.  We have either completed or booked over 120 rows of meters in less than 1 month of owning the stand.  It has also allowed us to learn more about the meters and what field adjustments will help this spring.  The northern group also used it at their clinics and it helped sign up inspections and pro max 40 conversions.  We will do the same at our meetings next year.

AMS equipment sales have picked up momentum the past 2 weeks.  Displays, receivers, and rate controllers are leading the way.  Customers like the rate controllers to eliminate cab clutter and to allow them to document their application.  It also allows them to add swath control which is a huge benefit.  We have installed on toolbars, planter fertilizer units, and pull type sprayers.  Used equipment also remains a very hot commodity.

Atwood has been working with a wireless liquid flow blockage sensor system from John Blue.  This will alert the operator if a row has been plugged with debris and help to reduce skips that result from this blockage.  For more info, contact Dylan Vickers in Atwood, 217 578 2224.

We received some training on the new 2015 planters.  The new ExactEmerge planter will operate on a 56 volt system powered by a hydraulically driven alternator.  The reason for 56 volts is that anything over 75 volts is considered potentially lethal and would require some additional safety components.  The higher the voltage the lower the amperage which means we are able to use smaller wires to run the electric drive motors.  The new 3HD monitor should have an easy transition for customers already used to Seedstar XP.  They stressed to us the horsepower requirements would be substantially higher due to the higher ground speeds.  A 24 row will require an 8360R with a 60 gpm pump and could struggle in hills to maintain 10 mph.  The brush belt seed delivery system seemed simple and easy to service.  The same could be said for the meter components.  We will have the ExactEmerge planter at the Expo.

When attaching newer planter to R-Series tractors it is a good practice to make sure that the tractor has the latest software on the controllers if you notice slow response or have to go through multiple key cycles to get the planter and tractor to communicate.  Also make sure that the planter is at least version 17 (18 is the latest but 17 works well) if model year 2011 or later.  Version 10 is required for ’09-’10.  Generic serial numbers are A01700B000000 or ’09-’10.  1A01700AAAA000000 is correct for 2011-14.

If you would like to sign up a customer for email list for the newsletter, simply click on the link in the upper right hand corner of www.sloans.com.  You can add their name and email address to the list.