NH3 Anhydrous bar with flow issues? Try this fix

by Chris Saxe, Assumption, IL 

I received a  call today about a JD NH3 2510H ammonia bar with a Raven control system that was not getting flow to the applicator.   I walked the operator through the energize system check, then confirmed the settings and it was getting the correct speed. I then verified that the implement switch was working and the operator could also manually open the Raven valve.  The operator said the rate was bouncing all over the place, but he was still was not getting any flow.   The operator was pulling double tanks and one was 50% full and the other tank was empty.   A rate level that fluctuates wildly up and down is often the sign of an empty tank.   I then directed the operator to shut off the empty tank,  which was allowing vapor to spin the flow meter.   I also asked him to shut off the second tank that was 50% full and then to open the valve slowly.  The excess flow valve snapped shut on one tank when both tanks were at 50% so he continued to run until one tank went empty. By shutting off the tank and opening the valve slowly,  it allowed the excess flow valve in the withdraw valve to reopen.  He started running again but said it still didn’t work.  At that point,  the entire bar was drained empty so I told him to keep going and it charged the bar and it then went back to working perfectly.  Tank % gauges are known to stick, so if you have a similar issue where everything on the monitor and on the bar seem ok, have the operator shake the tank to see if it feels full or if float gauge bounces.  The gauge may be broken or stuck in place.  Be safe out there.  NH3 is dangerous stuff.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

The Importance of Good Data

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Greetings from Sloan Implement Company!  I hope everyone enjoyed great food and family time over Thanksgiving.  I am looking forward to more of the same as Christmas quickly approaches

Warmer than normal weather has been the rule this fall in our area.  A great deal of NH3 was applied, but there will definitely be some spring application needs as well.

Let me ask each of you if you had an autotrac system 10 years ago in 2005?  What about 5 years ago?  I bet the answer to the first question would be that very few had a system in ’05.  I would venture to say that many, or more likely, most of you had at least 1 system in 2010.  The question for most producers today would not be if you had a system, but rather how many systems you currently have in your operation? I pose these questions to shine a light on how fast technology is changing and how much of an impact it has on you and your business.

If autotrac was the first big use of GPS technology, section control or auto swath is definitely a close second. So what is number 3?  Any guesses?  It is a hot topic in nearly every farm publication or Ag website.  The answer is data.  Not just data, but GOOD data!  Inaccurate data is not much better than no data at all.

So how does good data have an impact like autotrac or section control?  Good data is the inside information you need to help you make informed decisions about every acre within your operation.  All of you know that there are productive and not-as-productive areas in each of your fields.  But the question is not just how productive or not-so-productive, but how big is the good area and where and how much does it change as you move out of the highly productive area?  Even better, why does it change?  Can we fix it? Is there something holding back the sweet spots from getting even better?  The list could go on and on.  Treating every acre of the field the same, or flat rate application, of seed, fertilizer, nitrogen, lime, etc. does not make agronomic sense, especially in these economic times. Knowing what each acre is putting in your pocket will be of paramount importance going forward.

I will admit that the amount of information that can be gleaned from yield maps, soil tests, application data, etc. is mind boggling and can be intimidating.  The question you are probably asking, is how do I know when, where, and how much change to make?  The only way to answer this question is to have a good “data bank” of past history from each field.  This can then be used by you or a trusted advisor to guide your decisions. As with anything of value, good data takes time and effort to collect.  The good news is that nearly every combine/planter/application tool built within the last 10+ years has the ability to collect the data you need to build your data bank.  The even better news is that most customers already have the majority of the equipment they need to complete these tasks!

Another storm on the horizon is the political climate (pun intended!) in Washington.  As fewer folks in the general population actually understand production agriculture, greater imposition on your use of commercial fertilizers, chemicals, etc. will be the focus of many state houses and in Washington.  Has anyone seen a news story about the algae bloom in the Gulf as an example? The ability to show, on an acre by acre basis, how accurately and efficiently you use inputs will be extremely valuable, if and when the rules change.

So where do we go from here?  Make a point to start or continue to collect good data from this point forward!  Calibrate and post calibrate your combine yield monitor, record your as-applied planting rates and varieties, and obtain the as-applied fertilizer maps from your ASP (Ag Service Provider).  All of this needs to be in an electronic format so it can be used later on.  Find someone to help you clean up your data if you are not able or willing to do it yourself.  Sloan Implement offers a basic data service that allows you to begin to collect GOOD data without even owning a computer, all while using the GPS equipment you already own.  You can see more info on Sloan’s Data Management service here.  John Deere has a website, www.myjohndeere.com, where you can store and view the data as well from any smart phone or tablet and share it with only those you choose.  Finally, find a trusted advisor to help you interpret the data and help you make informed decisions.

In conclusion, even if you think you are not ready for all of this, start collecting good data now!  Remember my questions at the beginning of the article?  How many of you had an autotrac system 10 or even 5 years ago?  The difference now is that you could get into an autotrac system whenever you made the decision to do so.  Collecting data takes time.  You have seen how fast the last 10 years has changed.  Imagine what the next 5 or 10 years has in store.
Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

Northern IL Harvest Update and New RTK Towers in IL and Iowa

4 New Sloan RTK Towers in IL and IA

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

Harvest in Northern IL is well underway. Some guys are finished, but most are over half way done. Yields have been really good for most of the area in corn and beans. Guys are getting NH3 bars ready, but the ground is still too warm to apply gas.  The weather was very nice for most of the fall allowing for a smooth harvest.  The forecast is 70 degrees Monday thru Wednesday. Not bad for the first week of November!

Our Freeport RTK base was having some issues and was down for a couple of days. It is back up and going, but with a new frequency. If you were running off of that base and need that frequency, call your local Sloans AMS specialist for updated frequency.   We are putting four new RTK base stations up next week. They will be in Thomson, Erie, Rock Falls, and Andover, IA. If you are interested in RTK please get with one of us and we can gladly help.  You can also get more RTK information on our website by clicking here.

I would like to also take this time and welcome Bill Lodge to the AMS team. Bill will be working out of the new Fulton location. Bill has been working at the Fulton store for some time now as their service manager. Bill knows a lot of the customers in the area and will make it an easy transition. If you see Bill, be sure to welcome him to his new role.

 

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.  Learn more at www.sloans.com

Convert a Cultivator to a Side Dress Applicator

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

The weather has been pretty hot and dry up in Northern IL.  The corn is looking good in most of the area. A lot of spraying has been going on along with side dressing. I have had the opportunity to install Rate Controllers on customers bars this year for ease of operation and/or running prescriptions. A couple of customers have found a good use for their old row crop cultivators that they aren’t using anymore. They have taken the old cultivators, removed the row units, and installed Yetter or Blue Jet coulters with knives. Then add a tank to the bar or side mount tanks to the tractor and have the proper set up to control flow. Most customers have gone with a Raven Flow meter, standard control valve and 3 boom section valves to run with their Rate Controller and Section Control. If you need some help or would like to install a Rate Controller on your side dress bar, call your Sloan’s Product Support specialist and they will be glad to help.

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Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 19 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.  Learn more at www.sloans.com

Wisconsin Planting, ExactEmerge Success, Active Implement Guidance, and Swath Control Settings

Row Clutches at Work

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI 

Planting started in Southern Wisconsin two weeks ago with above average temperatures followed by a week of below normal temperatures and even some snow flurries last week! This past week has been very good planting conditions and a lot of corn has went into the ground. We have some customers finishing with corn and more could be done by this weekend if the rain holds off.

The ExactEmerge planters have all been running well. Most customers have been running 7-10 mph across the field. Seventy acres per hour in our larger fields with a 24 row planter has been pretty common. Setting swath control has been pretty quick since you can dig seed like a sandhill crane when the spacing is so close to perfect. We did notice that some hub torques got a little loose after the initial break in. Similar to the ProMax 40 disks, it seems that a tighter hub torque has been better than a loose hub torque. Round seed has also singulated a little better than flat seed 98-100% vs 97-98% on average. With the brush belt carrying the seed to the trench and with it being speed compensated, the in ground spacing has been very good on both types of seed.

8370R 1775 ExactEmerge Active Implement Guidance

JD 8370R & 1775 ExactEmerge

Active Implement Guidance with ProTrakker hydraulic hitches have also been working very well this spring doing strip till in some rolling ground of Southwestern and South Central Wisconsin. Our local RTK bases have been performing very well again this year. If you are interested in RTK, give us a call and we can line up a demo before you’re done planting.

9410R 2510H Active Implement Guidance

JD 9410R Pulling JD 2510H Using Active Implement Guidance

I got a call yesterday about soybeans overplanting 5-6%. We ended up finding the seed very small and multiples getting stuck in some holes on the disk. We reduced the vacuum as much as we could and then cut back on the prescription rates using the Prescription Multiplier in order to get the correct amount of seed in the ground. It sounds like there many some abnormally small beans out there this year, so keep that in mind.

Small Bean Seed Overplanting 5-6%

Small Bean Seed Overplanting 5-6%

I’ve received a few calls this week from guys running adaptive curves in our small and irregular shaped fields. When the customer leaves his first line to go plant on the other side of the field, the line will not let him engage autotrac when he returns. Backdating to 14-1 GS3 software has fixed the problem on all of them so far.

Adaptive Curves Not Working

Adaptive Curves Not Working

Last but not least, I’ve had a lot of calls this week in regards to planter clutches. It’s impossible to dig too much seed when you start planting. In many cases, set-up has been incomplete and measurements were missing causing gaps on one end of the field and extra overlap on the other end. If you are running the new 15-1 GS3 software, I would recommend that you go in and uncheck the Implement Detection box, so there’s no way that it can get changed on its own once you take your measurements (Menu, Display, Diagnostics, Multiple Displays, Change Settings, uncheck the Auto Implement Detection checkbox and hit the save button). If you are still planting, it would probably be a good idea to dig some seed coming into and then again coming out of the headlands to make sure there are no surprise when the corn comes up. If you like what you see, make sure that you record all of your tractor measurements, planter measurements and on/off times so you have them for next year.

Sectional Control Info

Sectional Control Info

 

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 19 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

Southern Wisconsin & Northern IL Harvest Update

Dave Hach, Muscoda, WI harvesting with 9650 along the Wisconsin River Bluffs

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

Some guys are starting to get close to wrapping up harvest in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The weather has taken a turn though. Light snow and flurries were in the air most of the day yesterday. Today’s high is only 29 degrees. It looks like we will be right at or below freezing for the next 7 days. Lows a couple nights are expected to be 11 degrees. Guys are scrambling to get fertilizer/lime spread, NH3 applied and finished harvesting.

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Lance Barnes with Carrousel Farms applying lime with 8335R and DN345 spreader

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Dave Hach, Muscoda, WI harvesting with 9650 along the Wisconsin River Bluffs

 

NH3 Applicator Maintenance, Rate Controllers and Section Control

New Rate Controller Installed for NH3 Application

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

Most customers are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for harvest season in Northern IL. A few customers are done and a lot will be finishing very soon.  A lot of chiseling is going on before the ground starts to freeze. The weather next week isn’t looking good with snow in the forecast for Monday and cold temps coming our way. Yields have been really good and most customers are running out of storage.

Some guys have started NH3 this past week now that the ground has reached the lower temps. I have done a few Rate Controllers on NH3 bars. One of many nice things about the Rate Controller is that you can run with only one monitor in the cab, your GS2 or GS3. Another is that more and more guys are working with their local agronomist and they are starting to write more prescriptions. With the Rate Controller you can run prescriptions and put the nitrogen where it is most needed. This also helps saves you money in product costs.  Another nice thing is that it is capable of running Section Control (as long as you have the Swath or Section Control activation) allowing you do reduce overlap, and in turn saving you money on product and also less burn to the corn where there is too much nitrogen applied.   Most guys run two sections on 17 knives or less and three sections on 19 knives or more.  We can install a rate controller on any bar that uses Raven or Dickey John.  If you are interested in pricing, call your local Sloan Implement AMS Specialist.

Some maintenance to remember on your NH3 bars before season is to make sure to have your screens cleaned out behind the coolers.  A plugged screen with cause an erratic flow and the Rate Controller will show that. Also, if you run N-Serve in the Fall and Spring, make sure to take out your flow meter and clean out the impeller with brake cleaner and make sure that the impeller is turning smoothly. N-Serve is very sticky and will cause erratic reading if the flow meter is off balance. Also remember that NH3 is a nasty chemical to be around, make sure to also wear your gloves and goggles.