AMS Report 4.14.2014

by Lucas Veale

A few planters began to roll last week as farmers tried to take advantage of the nice weather in the area.  Most were not in a huge hurry due to the upcoming cold weather, but it was good to get the planter in the field to make sure everything was set and ready to go once the weather stays nice.  Planter operation and clutch setup were the main opportunities for training customers.

AMS product sales continue to remain strong.  Several customers have switched to RTK or upgraded to 450 MHZ from their current 900 radios.  Customers seem to be willing to upgrade once they learn of the extended range of the 450 MHZ radios.  Rate controllers have also been a hot item.

There’s good news for farmers using Android devices and John Deere’s Apex farm management software.  Mobile Farm Manager is now available for your android smart phone and tablet.  It can be downloaded for free here at the Google Play site. (Picture below)

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Mobile Farm Manager has been compatible with Iphone/Ipad since its inception in November 2012.  It gives farmers remote access to their Apex data and performs several functions like field maps, historical reports, GPS tracking, field navigation and soil sampling grids.   Having this agronomic information literally at your fingertips will make it much easier to analyze field data like application and fertility maps, soil sample grids, and crop product data directly from the field.  Mobile Farm Manager also makes it easy to share this agronomic information with ag service providers, farm managers, and other advisors.

Customers looking to activate Mobile Farm Manager will need to download the latest version of Apex, 3.6.1 here at stellarsupport.com.

The GoPlant App for iPad is now available for download.  This app has several nice features that show how to operate the SeedStar monitor as well as other features on setting up your planter.  Check it out on the App Store. (Picture below)

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Jared Wheeler, Product Support Specialist at Assumption, reminds you when searching for an ITC receiver on stellar support, be sure that you use an “02” in the serial number rather than the “01” that is actually there when activating a subscription.  For example, if the serial number is PCGT01C123456 then you should enter PCGT02C123456.  Otherwise, you will likely not be able to find the receiver in the system.

Josh Thornton, Product Support Specialist at White Hall, has had a little time with the new R-Series Sprayers.  He mentioned that there is a box for you to check when using the orifice valve and to check the dual flow meter box if your sprayer is set up that way.

Matt Dehlinger, Product Support Specialist at Effingham, found that an XMC callibration will fix an 6R tractor that is holding on to one side.

Justin Bickel, Product Support Specialist at Virden, had issues with the new GS2630 software update.  For some reason it can put the Starfire receiver in boot lock which requires the receiver to have the software manually forced to it.  The LED on the front of the receiver will flash red.  Others have reported this issue as well.

Dylan Vickers, Product Support Specialist at Atwood, had a CIS system that would not allow him to complete the calibration of the main system.  It wound up being the display was the faulty unit.

Matt Sweitzer, Product Support Specialist at Atwood, reports that several machines show the receiver, designated by the small white triangle, being located on the pivot point of the planter.  DTAC solution 98351 addresses the complaint. Others have reported the same issue.  This will negatively impact the performance of section control.

Lucas Benning, Product Support Specialist at Vandalia, has a customer who is really pleased with the direct injection system on his 4940 sprayer.  He says the system was very accurate right out of the box, but he would like to see the ability to change the direct injection while on the go.  Currently you must stop the sprayer and turn off the spray pump to change rates.

Jared Matthews, Service Manager at Assumption, said that if you are constantly having dead battery problems on your JD Link enabled machines, then you need to change the JDLINK shut down voltage to 12 volts rather than 11 or less.  This is done in address JDL 156.

I had the opportunity to start a Kinze planter that we had converted from KPM II to ISO and added Kinze electric clutches.  It went very well and the customer was very happy.  He said “This really was not that big of a deal.  Kind of a non-event.”  I have to agree with him.  The system worked great and was easy for him to understand and operate.  I highly recommend that if you have customers with a Kinze planter and a GS3 display that you have them make this upgrade, especially if they would like to add section control to their planter.

I also installed two of the four new RTK base stations in his area, and I will be erecting the other two as time and weather allows.

Until next time, good luck with your planting season and let us know if you need our assistance.

AMS Report 2.26.2014

by Josh Zuck

Yesterday we wrapped up our customer planter clinics and Sloan technician planter trainings. We had a very good turnout at all of them.  We used the Precision Meter Max stand and did a side by side comparison of a brand new John Deere Pro Max 40 corn disk versus a brand new Precisions E-Set. They both ran identical with 0 skips and 0 multiples.  This really opened customer’s eyes and shows that the Deere Pro Max 40 is an excellent option for our customers.

I have seen that for planters with the 1.6 bushel boxes or 3 bushel boxes, it is important to  remove the row units and send to either Lanark or Assumption and have the double eliminators set and run the row units on the test stand.  This step really helps our technicians that have to go out and start planters so can spend more time with the customer and his monitor, rather than trying to set the meters. Also, this way if the customer has his boxes full, we don’t have to remove corn to get the meter to move the eliminator.

We had a new 1770NT 16 row planter here in Lanark that kept blowing fuses. After looking it over we found the wiring harness going to the right agitator motor was pinched behind a bolt. Hopefully this will be the only one like this.

We have had a lot of interest in the new planters, both Max Emerge 5 and ExactEmerge. These two new planters should be a game-changer in 2015.

There has been a lot of customer interest in Deere’s new program to convert customer to SeedStar XP. Customer can get $2000 off this system.  If you have any questions get a hold of your AMS specialist.   Contact info is on sloans.com: http://www.sloans.com/ams/

After the Clinics, we have been getting calls from customers about doing planting prescriptions. They need some help from us on how to do them and we can work with their Agronomist on what to plant and what population.  We are more than happy to help with this service.

Customers have been pricing JD Link to put in their older tractor or non Deere tractors to use Wireless Data Transfer and Remote Display Access.

AMS Report 2.22.2014

by Lucas Veale

We recently added a new MeterMax Ultra test stand at the Assumption location.  After going through several meters we have found some items to check on your own planters.  Double eliminators will develop a slight groove over time and will cause inconsistent behavior on the stand.  The hub setting also seemed to be very critical to get set correctly in order to maintain consistency.  We found that the hub needed to be run rather snug against the housing for best performance, especially with a non-Pro-Series.  We found that a vac setting of around 16 worked well for small and medium seed and 17-17.5 for larger seed (57 lbs).  These were all equipped with the John Deere ProMax 40 seed disks.  We require at least 3 consecutive runs or 99.7% or better in order to pass a meter.  We are have also tested Precision E-sets and Kinze finger pickup meters and we look forward to learning more about these meters as well.

Our customer and internal training is wrapping up for the winter season.  We still have our Technology Expo on March 11th.  We will turn our attention to on farm, individual training with customers who made recent purchases.

We have several acres of boundaries and A/B lines to run for customers with the gator mapping service before planting arrives.  Looks like next week should have some weather that will cooperate with us so we can get a good start on this task.

We are receiving a lot of questions on the new planter Deere just introduced at Louisville Farm Show.  It will be at our winter Expo for all to see and touch.  We also included it as part of our salesman class.  It will require 5 hyd hookups and 60gpm to operate.  It is electric drive and is capable of planting speeds up to 10 mph without sacrificing seed placement.

We continue to have success talking with customers about converting their Kinze planters to ISO so they can run through a GS2 or Gs3.  This cleans up the cab and allows them to document automatically without other harnesses.

Vandalia recently installed a direct injection kit on a 4940 sprayer.  They found a few tricks and tips for installation.  If anyone gets the opportunity to install a kit on a 4940, they would be a good resource to consult for advice on the installation.

Atwood installed a Surefire Fertilizer system on a 1770NT.  It is available in either as a hydraulic or electric drive depending on the size of the planter and the flow needs.  They commented that the installation was a smooth process and it hooked right into the rate controller.

Wireless Data Transfer will be free to those customers this year that have JDLINK Ultimate and RDA.  Most customers do not have RDA but will only run about $100 or less to upgrade to this if they already have JDLINK Ultimate subscription.

Used AMS equipment continues to be in high demand.  Used receivers and ATUs are especially hard to find.