Don GlennDon and Brian Glenn squeeze five crops out of three years on the 1,500 acres they no-till on Glenn Acres near Hillsboro in northern Alabama.

They no-till corn, canola, soybeans and wheat and have been pioneers in the adoption of  precision farming equipment. Since 1996, they have worked hand in hand with university researchers and with their own tests to remain on the bleeding edge of this technology.

“We worked with Auburn University to field-test some of the first in-cab yield monitors in 1996. We now variable-rate apply lime, N ,P and K and pesticides,” Don says. “We gather enough data that we can look at every strip, every pass, as a yield test plot.”

“At first, my brother, who runs the combine, didn’t think we needed to invest in adapting the combine for auto-steering and yield monitoring. But now, you couldn’t get him away from it,” Don says. “It helps him track the machine’s efficiency and he has more time to concentrate on what’s going on with the combine.”

The Glenns have continually upgraded their precision equipment that they use with a variety of equipment brands, and their most recent generation of precision farming equipment is based on the Ag Leader InSight monitor and Trimble NAV 2 controller.

“We have been using these systems for four years, and they work well across the brands of equipment we own,” Don says.

A 12-row John Deere 1790 CCS planter no-tills corn, canola and soybeans. It can be configured in 15- or 30-inch rows and also applies 32% UAN during corn planting.

They pull the planter with a Challenger NT765. The Glenns also use the Challenger to pull their Chandler PT35 fertilizer spreader to variable-rate lime and fertilizer and their John Deere 1890 CCS air seeder for seeding wheat.

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.

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“The InSight system controls variable-rate fertilizer applications and automatically shuts off sections so we don’t over-seed or over-apply areas,” Don explains.

The Glenns upgraded to a self-propelled Patriot 3230 sprayer with a 90-foot boom this year, with a Capstan Pinpoint boom control.

“We will use it variable rate-apply fertilizer and pesticides — the whole gamut,” Don says. “The Capstan system gives us individual nozzle control for highly accurate variable rates.”

Point of Pain: Dealer Accessibility

The Glenns are proud of their success of adapting precision technology over the past 17 years, but they’ve had their share of trials and tribulations.

The biggest challenge they faced, says Don, was equipping their Massey Ferguson 9540 combine with auto-steer.

“Information on how to do it wasn’t readily available when we started on that project,” Don says. “We ended up getting in contact with an Australian Ag Leader technician who worked on Massey Ferguson equipment. He helped us understand the hydraulic steering system and adapting components to control them.”

Going the distance to get precision farming support is nothing new for the Glenns.

Until recently, proximity to their precision equipment dealer was an obstacle, however, not insurmountable.

“The closest Ag Leader dealer was five hours away, so we had to be self-supporting,” Don says. “We now have a new Case IH dealer locally that carries Ag Leader equipment, so it will be nice to have a local source for parts. Fortunately, I understand these systems pretty well, so the need for dealer support hasn’t been that big of a deal.”

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