Technology Journal January 2013

January 4, 2013 08:52 PM
Technology Journal January 2013

Mobile Apps Make Machine Management Easier

AGCO Corporation announced that its telemetry service, AgCommand, is now available on the iPhone and iPad as a mobile app. Designed for farmers and the dealer networks that support them, the app helps to increase productivity by focusing on fleet management, vehicle health and overall machine uptime, says Martin Richenhagen, chairman, president and CEO of AGCO.

By providing real-time machine information, AgCommand allows for remote monitoring of Challenger, Massey Ferguson and Valtra tractors, harvesting and application equipment. Features include weather conditions, history of machine status and data, and user-defined alerts. It can be downloaded free at the Apple App Store.


For more information, visit

The newest app from John Deere is also available at the Apple App Store. Mobile Farm Manager allows an iPhone or iPad to connect to Apex software. Functions include field maps, historical reports, GPS tracking, field navigation and soil sampling grids.

The app is "designed to help make producers more efficient by making it easier to access and share relevant information," says Tyler Hogrefe, senior product marketing manager with John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group.

Visit for more details.

Research Trends Shift

USDA has published a study of research and development (R&D) investments and their importance to agricultural inputs. Recent growth in private R&D has helped offset sluggish growth in public R&D. This is significant, officials say—the growth in ag production in the past 50 years is primarily attributed to better crop and livestock yields rather than increased acres.

"Agriculture is more dependent on scientific innovation than any other industry," says Catherine  Woteki, USDA chief scientist and undersecretary for research, education and economics. "This study shows the great job that private industry is doing in research, much of which was built on the genetic technology USDA scientists have been working on for decades."

Among the key findings:

  • More than half of all global private agriculture R&D investment has gone toward food manufacturing, not toward inputs and other agriculture production industries.
  • Farm machinery and biofuel investments have grown significantly more than livestock-related research and crop protection chemicals.
  • Biofuels have enjoyed a total R&D investment of approximately $1.47 billion.
  • Intellectual property protection, regulatory frameworks and public investments in base science have been especially important in private R&D growth.

"It’s crucial that we continue supporting this kind of R&D," Woteki says.


High-Tech Insect Traps

The insect trap is the latest agricultural tool to get a high-tech makeover. Purdue University, in conjunction with Spensa Technologies Inc., has developed the Z-Trap—a device that automatically monitors insect pest populations and forwards the data it collects to a farmer’s mobile phone or computer.

pC18 Technolgy Journal High Tech Insect Traps

"Tracking insect populations is a fundamental part of any pest management program," says Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa and a Purdue research assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. "Being able to track those numbers in real time through a smartphone or computer helps growers choose how to use insecticides more judiciously."

Park says the device could help farmers reduce the amount of insecticides they apply, as well as other inputs and labor costs. Z-Trap can be used in conjunction with, an online subscription service. The technology currently focuses on several apple lepidopteran pests, but the company hopes to expand into corn, soybean, tree, nut and vine crops.

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