Name: Mike Zimmerman
Farm Name: Zimmerman Farms
Size: 2,800 acres plus 1,400 acres of custom seeding
City, State: Garrison, N.D.
Crops Raised: Winter Wheat, Spring Wheat, Barley, Field Peas, Sunflowers, Canola, Soybeans and Corn
Cropping Practice: Zero Till
Precision Ag Technologies
Zimmerman uses auto-steer to take stress and waste out of his field operations. For the past 8 years, auto-steer has kept his lines straight and given him the ability to better monitor seeder and sprayer operations instead of focusing solely on driving the tractor. He has auto-steer in two tractors and his sprayer.
OmniSTAR systems guide Zimmerman in his seeding, preplant anhydrous applications and is used in conjunction with his EZ boom sprayer shutoffs.
“With our large fields, EZ boom is more of a convenience for automatically turning the booms off and on when you get to the headlands, but it does save in chemical when you only need 50-feet of coverage in the last pass on a field and it automatically shuts off a section of the boom,” he says.
The accuracy is helpful for preplant anhydrous applications, allowing Zimmerman to return and plant his corn in close proximity to the band of nutrients.
His original WAAS receivers weren’t perfectly reliable, though. “We have some decent sized hills in our area. I would be seeding up the hills thinking I was fine and pretty soon I’d be wandering because I had lost the signal,” he says.
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With his new OmniSTAR system, he doesn’t have any connectivity issues. “I lost a chain on the seeder and my monitor didn’t report it. When I went to reseed, it the OmniSTAR system had the seeding discs running right in the furrow where I seeded before so it’s pretty accurate,” he says. “And I don’t lose signal.”
Point of Pain: Technician Availability
“My dealership has two guys that are very knowledgeable about guidance systems and precision technology, but as more and more people get the technology they get busier and busier and are hard to reach when something goes down,” he says.
Fortunately Zimmerman’s systems are fairly reliable, but when he does have an issue he runs the risk of not being able to get through to the help he needs.
“It’s a frustration mostly for me. If I can’t get it fixed, I just do it the old fashioned way and get the field planted anyway,” he says. “You do what you have to do, but it would be nice to have more people to service the technology now that more people are using it.”