Soil Optix High Resolution Soil Testing

We have joined with the team at Soil Optix to provide an additional form of high resolution soil testing to our customer base and local area.

This builds on what we started doing 2 years ago with our EC machine. Our goal is to provide our customer base with the best possible maps to help them understand and manage their farms. While traditional 2.5 acre grid sampling can be very good, in our area the variability of the soil creates challenges for this method.

The advantage of the Soil Optix process is that we can combine the creation of zones with soil sampling at the same time. This speeds up our process time and improves the data accuracy.

The Soil Optix machine measures soil radiation or spectral decay and couples it with traditional soil sampling to create a representation of soil fertility at up to 355 data points per acre.

This data is then analyzed using standard GIS software to create management zones, fertility and seeding recommendations.

Let us know if you would like to have a demonstration.



Farm Show Highlights

We would like to thank everyone who visited our booth at the Chatham Kent Farm Show, as well as at the Precision Ag Conference last week.

Here are some of what I considered as highlights from the Precision Ag Conference, as presented by Farms.Com.

Robotic Farming:
I’ll post some more about these at a later date. There are a couple of interesting ideas coming forward, one called “MARS”, the “Mobile Ag Robotic Swarm” concept, from AGCO – Fendt; and the other was a presentation by a Canadian Company, SeedMaster of Saskatchewan, with their version, called simply “DOT”

The DOT system is having a limited release in 2018 featuring a 30′ seeding unit!

Internet of Things:
This concept involves the placement of “sensors” on equipment so that it can be uploaded to a central site and the data monitored remotely. For example, weather stations, soil conditions, etc. In an equipment setting, a company called Uptake is using the sensors to monitor engines, gearboxes and mechanical parts so that they can been modeled for both optimum performance, but also to help predict failures and help plan scheduled, preventative maintenance.

Profitability Mapping:
A neat way to help manage variability in your fields. In a nutshell, the software helps you to set “goals” for your management zones, in the fields., based on breakeven yield, crop selling prices, and input costs.

Data Integration:
In short, farmers are looking to integrate their farm data as much as they can, from across their equipment platforms. This was regardless of farm size. Lots of support for platforms like Climate FieldView (data collection, post harvest analysis, data synchronization) as well as AgLeader SMS and, for those with JD equipment, JD Operations Centre. That said, the producers who made presentations often used a mixture of the three to accomplish their goals of understanding their farms, the variability, and making management decisions about them.

Here are some website links for more information, or contact us directly.

2018 Precision Ag Conference:
2018 Farms.Com Precision Ag Conference

DOT from Seedmaster:
DOT Farming System

Climate FieldView:

Join us at the 2018 Chatham Kent Farm Show

We will be attending the CK Farm show this year, on January 24-25, 2018

Here is what we plan to demonstrate for this year’ show:

Raven Products:
Raven Viper 4+ and the brand new CR-7, along with the multi product controller.
Raven SmarTrax Autosteer system
Raven Rate Control Module (ISO multi product controller)
Raven ISO and Standard Chemical Injection systems

Trimble Products:
Trimble TMx 2050 Display and the brand new TMx 1050 Display

Integration with JD and Case systems using ISO technology

We are also pleased to be bringing our Soil Optix Sensor as well as the EM-38 scanner that we have brought to previous shows.

This will enable us to show some techniques for precision soil sampling.

Link to Show Site:

Chatham Kent Farm Show

Managed Money and Grain Markets

In general terms, traders have a pool of money to trade, and then can put these funds wherever they deem they will get the best return.

While many who trade commodities are doing so to offset risk in that commodity, others are doing so to offset risk in other businesses.

In the recent Grain Farmers of Ontario Magazine, there was a great summary article about this. I have attached it:

The full story is Taken from the Grain Farmers of Ontario Website. You can go to it here directly if you wish:

Ontario Grain Farmer

GRAIN FUTURES ARE and always will be affected by outside investments such as managed money funds. With the sheer size of the portfolios managed money funds carry, they have the ability to swing a big stick when it comes to pushing prices higher or lower in the grain market depending on the fund managers motivation and perspective each day.
What is managed money? Managed money funds are funds that investors have placed with qualified managers and institutions. One manager can decide where millions of dollars are invested. Throughout 2017, we saw some major peaks and valleys in the grain futures market. Sometimes the peaks and valleys are easy to justify, other times there seems to be no common sense or logic to it. Although the futures market can appear like it’s a twilight zone and figuring out direction of grain prices can seem like “mission impossible”, it is important to monitor the major players that give momentum to grain futures pushing them higher or lower.

Throughout the 2017 marketing year, managed money funds carried large positions in the futures market. The funds either had a significant long or short position. This depends on whether they are whipping the bull run and expecting the market to go higher, adding to their long position, or letting the bears feast and destroy grain futures pulling them lower and stimulating a move to a short position. This is due in part to fund managers liking or disliking the fundamental news reported and it drives corn, soybean, and wheat prices up or down harder and faster than a rented mule, pushing them in either direction because they feel the market will continue to strengthen or depress. Whatever their motivation is each day or week, it can have a significant impact on grain prices.
Corn, soybean, and wheat price graphs showcase the recent relationship between the managed money fund position and futures prices. This demonstrates how the managed money entering into your grain marketplace has either benefited or hurt your bottom line. As you can see, there are significant correlations to grain prices and the managed money long and short positions.

The Commitment of Traders (CoT) report lists the net positions of each classification of traders including the commercials, managed money, speculators, passive index funds, and small traders. This report is released weekly by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is available online and can be found on their website.

Managed money funds will continue to move the grain market and none of us will be able to fully predict the direction they will take grain prices. For grain operations, some pieces of the puzzle to keep in mind are possibilities and probabilities. What is the funds current position? What is the trend? For example, if the funds are running a large net short position in the corn market and corn futures are making new contract lows or near the low, this could be an indication of the market potentially nearing the bottom and as we all know, prices can’t go in the same direction forever. If you step aside and look at that picture, funds are near a record short position and corn is near a record contract low in this scenario — from a futures perspective one might consider to either be on the sidelines or wait for a reversal in the market. If the funds decided to short cover and buy back their corn position, this brings demand into the market and can drive prices higher. As you can see in the corn graph, if the funds were to buy back their short of the 200,000 plus corn contracts, that’s over one billion bushels of corn to buy!

Managed money funds taking long and short positions ultimately affect the price of grain in your bin. From a basis perspective, this can have positive or negative effects. If the funds have a large short position and futures prices are low, this gives potential for the basis to appreciate as the basis is used as a flat price corrector. Don’t forget, the flat price of grain is made up of futures + basis and basis is a combination of forex, supply and demand, and transportation costs to the market you are looking at. Vice versa, if the funds are carrying a long position in the market, this could have negative effects on basis, as the futures prices are higher than the flat price needs to be for willing sellers to price their grain into the marketplace.
The market is a constant evolving beast and everyone is the captain of their own ship. It’s key to know what you are doing and why. If one can make a plan, stick to it and be ready to morph or adapt to fast moving market conditions, this will ultimately lead to success!
The Westland Corporation is a grain brokerage and market insight firm that is agriculturally driven and focused. The Westland Report is an in-depth daily market analysis which provides readers with a quick and concise look at the factors that are affecting their grain prices. •
“————-End Excerpt from Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine.

Corn Test Plot – Haggerty 2017

Haggerty corn plot was harvested on Friday.  Too wet for soybeans so may as well do something!

Corn yields look good.  Biggest surprise besides the raccoon damage we had to 3 varieties was the corn test weights.  Despite high moisture (27% plus) they were all grade 2.

On the plot we spread urea up front (150lbs of N) and then spun on another 110lbs of urea in Mid July.

In addition – we took another 6 acres off around the elevator to get enough for the dryer.  This corn was 31-33% and also was grade 2 (340 grams) which is great for high moisture corn.  Looks like 190-200bu for the field.

Here are the plot results:


2017 Heat Unit Ag Grower Dashboard

According to the Dashboard stats we have been collecting, since May 1st Haggerty has accumulated 3137 Heat Units.

How this translates to your field of course relates to planting date – nearly all the corn save 2 fields was planted middle to late May, with some of the heavier ground not finished up until June 10th.

Those early fields are turning colour nicely, in case you are wondering.

Using the dry down calculator available on the Dashboard, the DeKalb 53-56RIB we planted on May 12th will have black layered only today.

The DeKalb 50-78 we planted on May 3rd should have black layered on September 16th.

However we have been doing some double checking and it appears that the models are maybe running a week behind, which truthfully is pretty decent estimations.

The field I have been watching most closely is my Pride 6757 planted June 1st.  I have watched it’s estimated maturity move from September 30th (at planting) to October 8th (following the month of cool weather which just ended 10 days ago) to now seeing it move to October 2nd.  Based on current weather trends it looks like we will escape the early frost and this corn is going to make it.

Still pointing towards a high moisture corn harvest – we shall see if that transpires.  


Raven X – Sprayer Demo September 7th

Join us September 7th, for our 2nd Raven X Event.

At this demo, we will be featuring Raven ICD Hawkeye Nozzle Control, Injection and Autoboom XT!

Hawkeye Nozzle Control – for individual nozzle droplet size control, rate control and shutoff.

Autoboom XT takes boom height control to the next level by also controlling the centre rack angle.



Please see the following link for more information:

17_9 RavenX Bothwell ON

17_9 RavenX Bothwell ON


Agrifac Condor Install with Raven

We are pleased to have one of the first Agrifac Condor’s with Factory Raven controls for the section control, guidance and SmarTrax steering.

The agrifac Ecotronic sets the rate.  The Viper 4+ provides mapping, guidance, autosteer and section control using Raven ISO boom section and an ISO boom interface module.

The Raven ISO SmarTrax ECU is the first one we have installed and is brand new to the market.

Here are some pictures.


March 31st USDA Report Summary

Digging into Friday’s USDA Report comes up with the following items worth noting.

First, across the board stockpiles as of March 1st 2017 were up slightly from a year ago, and towards the high end of trade estimates, for all crops.

Corn had 8,616 Million bu (110% of last year’s level)

Soybeans had 1,735 Million bu (113% of last year’s level)

Wheat had 1,655 Million bu (121% of last year’s level).


Of course, all the talk is about spring planting these days, and the never changing discussion of whether or not this year will finally be the one the US farmer decides to switch to soybeans has resulted in a constant drip-drip-drip erosion of soybean pricing while corn has held steady.

The USDA report did not disappoint.  Corn intentions are at 90 million acres (down 4 million from a year ago) and soybeans are up a whopping 6 million acres to 89.5 million acres, largely at the expense of wheat acres.

Will this come to pass?  History has shown us that the US farmer will plant corn if the weather cooperates.  If so – there is some opportunity with soybeans.  That said, if we see a delayed spring the USDA’s guesses may come to reality.  Time will tell.