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Technology Promotes Efficiency

CARROLL SMITH

SENIOR WRITER

Agriculture technology is coming faster and faster. And, according to Jeremy Jack, who farms 7,500 acres of cotton, corn, soybeans, rice and wheat with his family in Humphreys County, Miss., this is a good thing.

“Technology helps us make better decisions on the farm and makes us more efficient,” he says.

On his cotton acreage, Jack uses a variable rate application approach in applying plant growth regulators, defoliants and irrigation water from his pivots. He also is working with variable seeding rates on several of his crops, using test strips within each of the fields.
“From a management standpoint, I would like to know how to best manage each acre to achieve its top potential instead of using a field-by-field approach,” Jack says. “Technology allows us to do that.”

The Delta farmer also adds that rotating crops is an important aspect of their family farming operation.

“We need cotton because we’ve got to have a good rotation plan, and we don’t want to lose our cotton infrastructure,” Jack says.

“We like to rotate cotton with corn and soybeans with rice. We gin at Holmes Gin and Mid-Delta Gin, and we want them to stay viable.”

A Myriad Of Options

On a regular basis, Jack takes advantage of myjohndeere.com, which works out well for the operation since 100 percent of their equipment is manufactured by John Deere.

“On this site, I can look at my finances, monitor equipment, order parts and have access to service manuals among other things,” he says. “I like going to one spot for everything I do instead of having to go to multiple Web sites.”

Jack also has downloaded the JDLink app onto his iPhone and iPad to help him monitor his fleet of equipment. This app features multiple machine mapping, directions to machines, ping machines, view and acknowledge alerts, engine hours and John Deere Remote Display Access.

“We have all of our tractors listed by serial number, and I can click on one or all of them to see where the machines are located and whether they are idling, working or transporting,” Jack explains. “I can see how many gallons of fuel per hour the tractor is using while in each of these modes.”

Less Downtime For Machines

With the Remote Display Access option, Jack can work through an issue that one of the tractors may be having by using his computer at the office or one of his mobile devices.

“If a driver is having trouble with something, I can go to Remote Display Access, and it will alert the driver that I want to log on to his tractor,” Jack says. “He clicks OK, and I can see the screen on his tractor as if I were looking right over his shoulder.

“This allows me to tell him what adjustments to make and walk him through the process,” he adds. “My dealer also has Remote Display Access, so if we can’t fix it ourselves, the dealer can get directions to the tractor, see where the closest service truck is and let me know how long it will be until it can get here.”

JDLink also provides alerts that appear as yellow, green or red codes based on the seriousness of the situation. For example, a green (information) code can let Jack know that a particular tractor has reached 100 hours, whereas a red code may indicate that a fuel filter is completely clogged up and the tractor is about to shut down.

“All of this engine information comes in handy, especially during the spring, summer and at harvest” Jack says. “In the big picture, agriculture technology allows us to keep up with what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. If we are doing something wrong, we can correct it with hard data, which keeps us sustainable.”

To learn more about the Jacks’ operation and how they are trying to spread the good word about agriculture, please visit their Web site at www.silent-shade.com.

Contact Carroll Smith at (901) 767-4020 or csmith@onegrower.com.