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Upgrade UTV from sidekick to true farmhand

Tom J. Bechman John Deere Gator decked out with GPS receiver and autosteer
HOP IN AND GO: This John Deere Gator was decked out with a GPS receiver and autosteer to introduce people to what it’s like to experience autosteering in a UTV.
Tomorrow’s Technology Today: Auto-Trac ready Deere Gator brings UTV’s into precision farming

Soil consultants long ago mounted GPS receivers and monitors on ATVs and UTVs to turn them into soil-testing buggies, capable of running A-B lines for field guidance and precisely marking sampling spots. Now, you can order a UTV from John Deere that is Auto-Trac ready. Whenever you want, simply add the equipment to have a streamlined UTV ready for precision agriculture.

Farmers drove a John Deere 865M Gator equipped with hands-free steering at the Farm Progress Show. With a rider in the Gator, a John Deere specialist piloted the vehicle through the demonstration course.

There were no hands necessary on the straightaways. It appeared to handle nicely through the entire demonstration. If you already have a GPS receiver, use it instead of buying a new one. Visit deere.com.

Truck burning 100% ethanol?

No, you can’t buy it today. The framework to make it happen, including legally buying 100% ethanol from an ethanol plant, doesn’t exist. But yet it could happen, perhaps sooner than you think.

ClearFlame — started by two Stanford University grads driven by $5-per-gallon diesel fuel — developed a technology to retrofit a diesel engine to run on pure ethanol.

That’s only the beginning. Brad Fruth, director of Innovation at Beck’s, was so energized by the idea that he assembled an alliance between Beck’s, CountryMark, Co-Alliance and Central Indiana ethanol. The alliance will help smooth the path, working on making it possible for an ethanol producer to sell pure ethanol and creating a framework to test trucks running on pure ethanol.

Look for ClearFlame to collect data needed for EPA by late 2023. This technology could become reality as soon as 2024. Meanwhile, learn more at clearflame.com. Visit Ethanol truck effort by ClearFlame progresses.

Land O’Lakes ups carbon ante

Truterra and Winfield United, both part of Land O’Lakes, have partnered to encourage more farmers to participate in carbon market programs. Growers can earn a $2-per-acre incentive by participating. Leah Anderson, vice president of sales for Winfield United, says they see farmers as interested in receiving payment for sequestering carbon, but realize some are reluctant to risk yield and profit by switching.

Beyond the $2-per-acre incentive, growers can join the Winfield United Advanced Acre Prescription Program. “A grower can participate in a warranty program that’s really around a single decision factor,” Anderson says. “Maybe it’s nitrogen use, for example, that’s a really critical piece tied to regenerative ag today.” Visit truterraag.com. See Land O’Lakes boosts support for carbon-curious farmers.

Plants talk, machines answer

InnerPlant is a startup developing a trait stack turning soybean plants into signaling beacons. John Deere wants to build machines that respond to these signals.

The first trait detects fungal stress. Shely Aronov, founder and CEO of InnerPlant, says field testing starts in 2023, with a soft launch in 2024.

This isn’t about detecting general stress, Aronov insists. Instead, each trait will send a specific wavelength when triggered. Sensors detect it and indicate what’s causing stress. Meanwhile, InnerPlant agronomists and Deere engineers are collaborating to develop machine technology complementing plant biology. Visit innerplant.com. See John Deere investment targets plants as crop sensors.

Limited launch for Adastrio fungicide

If you battle gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, common rust, southern rust or anthracnose leaf blight in corn, here’s good news from FMC. Adastrio fungicide will be available on a limited basis in 2023. Gail Stratman, regional technical service manager for FMC, says it has both preventive and curative properties, and delivers long-lasting control.

Also labeled for wheat and grain sorghum, it combines fluindapyr, flutriafol and azoxystrobin, representing active ingredient groups 7, 3 and 11, respectively. Fluindapyr is a new molecule in the SDHI class, available exclusively from FMC. Visit fmc.com.

 

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