Ordway Boriack’s venture into precision farming is quite a bit different than most farmers. This Giddings, Texas, graduate of Texas A&M’s ag engineering program works by day as an engineer at a Blue Bell Creameries and by night, he’s ru nning a beef cattle operation.
Only 40 acres is tillable on the 275 acre farm that’s primarily ground that’s been in the family for generations. Boriack is slowly building a fleet of equipment with the goal of one day becoming a custom applicator.
Boriack raises corn for his cattle operation and started using precision farming equipment in 2009. He’s adapted a Trimble 500 monitor for use on his 230 Spra-Coupe and added a Trimble EZ-Steer unit that he’s since adapted for use on a 3630 Spra-Coupe and will soon be adapting for use on a 4640 Spra-Coupe. He’s also engineered and built a bracket so he could transfer the system to his tractor, a Case IH 5240 that pulls his White 6700 planter that he will soon convert from a four- to six-row unit. He also uses the system to spread variable-rate fertilizer and seed cover crops that he’s using to build soils worn down from decades of cotton and peanut production..
“When I started inquiring about what was needed to install the EZ Steer on the tractor, I got resistance from the dealer saying that it needs to be engineered by a professional,” Boriack says. “I am an engineer and have worked on much more difficult engineering tasks than that in my day job and even on the farm.”
Point of Pain: Give Me Information, Not a Sales Pitch
Boriack and even his father appreciate the automatic steering control of the precision equipment, but he’s less than enthusiastic about the spotty technical support he’s encountered.
What Farmers Want From You is a series of farmer profiles that examine the scope of precision farming tools individual farmers are using on their operation, along with the frustrations that can occur with adopting new technology and how dealers can alleviate those "points of pain" for farm customers. For the latest additions to the series, visit our What Farmers Want From You feed.
“One technical support person will be great, but then the next one jumps into sales mode and tries to sell me something,” he says. “I am economical with my purchases and I need to make what I have work. It’s annoying when the technician immediately tries to sell me something that is way out of my price range.”
Boriack says he’s found some of the best technical support online, without the sales pitch.
“It doesn’t take long to find a forum where someone has had the same issue and someone has blogged a work-around,” he says. “Dealers need to be more service-minded and the sales will naturally follow.”
As Boriack adapts precision farming tools to his equipment, he’s also been frustrated by the lack of common electrical connections. He says he’s fortunate to know how to build his own connecting cables.
“I know they all do this for a reason — to sell adapters — but I think it would be easier if everything was a little more universal,” he says.
Boriack would like to see all the power cords have the same main connection and the sprayer controllers on the outputs have the same pin configurations so rate, sprayer on/off and section on/off are the same.
“Maybe I am being a little too extreme, but it would be nice,” he says. “The same is true for flow meters. They are all different. Each controller seems to use different voltages and have different outputs.”