Tech Shorts: Ag Drones, App Upgrades and More

May 22, 2013 03:50 AM

Several precision ag and ag technology companies have made recent announcements regarding new products and services. Here is a quick look at the most recent developments in this sector of the ag industry.

Precision Hawk Hones Drones For Agriculture

Winehawk Labs has announced a company rebranding – complete with a name change to Precision Hawk – that will change its focus from wine production to a broader agriculture market. The company manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones.

"It became obvious that agriculture was not very well served from a data perspective," says Ernest Earon, CEO. "Precision Haw is providing a solution to the area of precision agriculture where there is a clearly defined need."

The company’s newest UAV model, the HawkEye Lancaster Mark III, weighs just three pounds and is 3’ long. Earon says users can literally walk out their back door, toss the platform, wait for it to come back and instantly have data available to review. The UAV can collect crop production information, weather conditions and more.

"Our focus is on the data, not the platform," says Patrick Lohman, COO. "We consider ourselves more a remote sensing company than an unmanned aircraft company. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the data that the user can collect and how that data can be translated [to enable profitable decision-making.]"

Precision Laboratories Upgrades Its Mix Tank App

Precision Laboratories has announced a new version of its mobile app, Mix Tank 2.1, which is available as a free download on both iPhone and Android devices. New features on version 2.1 include:

• My Favorites: Locate, manage and select the products you use most.
• Mixing Precautions: Redesigned and enhanced so alerts are more visible only when a product has a precaution
• Weather Integration: Easier access and capture of wind speed and direction, temperature and other conditions.
• Added directions to saved tank mixes and spray log sections for easier usage.

Dan Ori, marketing manager, says the company took user feedback on prior versions of Mix Tank seriously.

"Feedback from the user community helped drive some of these changes, as did trends we’re following in the agriculture industry," he says.

Ori adds that Precision Laboratories is preparing another significant update to Mix Tank that will launch later this year.

Website Improvements For Ag Leader

Ag Leader announced it has developed a responsive website for a more optimized user experience.

"Responsive web design is an approach that businesses are implementing to provide users with the best possible viewing experience, no matter what device they are using," says Jake Smith, web developer for Ag Leader Technology.

Smith says the ultimate goal is to provide farmers who visit with improved readability and simpler navigation, whether they are using a desktop computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet device.

DICKEY-john Offers New Elevator-Quality Moisture Tester

DICKEY-john is now selling an affordable moisture tester that provides elevator-quality readings on the farm. The GAC 2500-AGRI Grain Analysis Computer was designed to match the instruments that are compatible with Unified Grain Moisture Algorithm (UGMA), which are commonly used at many local elevators and official check stations.

"With the advent of the new UGMA/149 MHz instruments developed for grain elevators, many farmers are looking for an affordable way to keep pace," says Roger VanderKolk, product manager. "The GAC-2500 AGRI Grain Analysis Computer provides the technology and usability the farmer needs to have confidence that his moisture reading on the farm will match the reading at the grain elevator."

The 149 MHz technology reduces the number of grain calibrations needed to deliver precise results, VanderKolk says. This model also has more accurate temperature sensing capabilities, which allows farmers to measure in extreme temperature conditions, including when grain is frozen or hot, he says.

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