Concordia Tractor Inc. (CTI) customers spread across more than 500,000 acres can bring a precision ag technician to their side in moments with the company's remote access service.
The Wamego, Kan., John Deere dealership uses RTK in combination with fixed satellites to provide their broad-reaching signal. The combination of technologies eliminates satellite drift, allowing RTK to provide repeatable sub-inch accuracy.
CTI Integrated Solutions Manager Jared Ochs said using the service is like bringing a technician along each time producers prepare equipment and head to the field.
"We don't want customers to have to deal with technology nuisances that our trained staff can readily resolve," Ochs said. "We know there's typically a 10- to 12-day window in spring to plant and tight time frames at harvest. When farmers get to the field we want to make sure they're ready and able to get to work. We used to drive miles to provide this kind of service."
CTI's remote access service allows trained precision ag techs to receive real-time information from equipment and see whatever a producer sees on their system's display screen. The tech can also remotely make corrections to settings or check for system errors in order to head off unexpected major repair issues.
"We can view a coverage map that shows us the real-time location of each piece of equipment enrolled in the service," Ochs said. "If there's a system error the operator isn't aware of, we'll receive an automatic notification generated by that equipment's system. If an operator has problems operating their technology, they can contact us any time of the day or night. They can also request just a second pair of eyes, a professional review of their system's settings or confirmation of data that they're seeing. Providing that kind of service is a huge focus for us."
The main benefits of advanced precision ag technology include getting field work done efficiently and effectively in a timely manner.
"Precision ag tools allow farmers to be more environmentally friendly, too," Ochs said. "Precision farming typically requires fewer inputs, such as seed and fertilizer. It also reduces input costs like fuel by eliminating overlap related to planting and harvest. Decreasing the amount of resources and energy invested in farming means those resources are available for other purposes."
Reducing the risk of breakdown and maximizing producer uptime is also of great value to farmers. System sensors that alert operators and technicians to potential mechanical failure provide significant time and resource savings.
"When precision ag equipment operates at maximum potential, it can increase yield and a producer's bottom line," Ochs said. "Plants that are well cared for are healthier and more productive. Equipment that harvests crops efficiently means farmers realize greater benefit from the inputs."
Ochs emphasized that John Deere equipment owners don't have to have the "latest and greatest" equipment to take advantage of advanced precision ag tools and CTI's remote access program.
"Some of John Deere's advanced precision ag tools can be retrofitted as much as 15 years," Ochs said. "In a retro-fitting situation, remote access service plays just as important a role, providing answers for operator questions about specific equipment models."
As they assist producers in learning more about how to take advantage of opportunities precision ag tools offer, CTI is sensitive to individual preferences as far as how much each operator wants to learn about their system and the level of operation independence they seek.
"Some operators don't want to know how we fixed an issue, they just want it fixed," Ochs said. "Others are curious about how we resolved their problem and want to learn how to handle it themselves. We believe empowering our customers to be self sufficient is important. To aid them in their training, we regularly offer video presentations and archive them for customer convenience. Each individual controls the level of training they can achieve."
At www.myjohndeere.com, operators can access data generated by each piece of their precision ag equipment and manage equipment performance as well as data and system applications. Ochs and his team regularly meet with John Deere company leaders to discuss operator needs and interact with customers to maintain front-line insight.
"We're currently exploring ways to help operators analyze and make use of their agronomic data," Ochs said. "Each individual grower can store data on our cloud service. They choose whether or not to share part or all that data with us. It's their information and they maintain control of it. We're working to help identify the value of the data and productive ways to use it.
"Each grower can customize their remote access service," Ochs said. "Our aim is to provide the best possible service around the clock."
More information about CTI, their service and locations, is available at www.ctiks.com.