Adam Casner is a seventh generation farmer at Casner Farms in Carrollton, Mo., and since the family adopted precision farming techniques, they are into their third generation of equipment.
Adam, who farms with his father, Kevin, and mother, Gayle, are in transition from conventional tillage on their Missouri River bottom ground to strip-till and more precise fertilizer placement. They no-till their hilly upland ground.
The Casners began their journey with precision farming equipment with a yield monitor when they purchased their John Deere 9600 combine almost 20 years ago.
“It was a simple brown box system,” Adam recalls. “I remember data being transferred on a floppy disk.”
They added a Deere 4720 sprayer with a 90 foot boom and a GreenStar 2600 controller for swath control that uses a StarFire1 signal for GPS guidance.
As the Casners have upgraded their equipment, they have tried a variety of precision equipment platforms. “We have used Deere’s platform and signal, then switched to Ag Leader Integra units and row controls for our hydraulic drives on our Kinze 3660 16-row planter.”
They have used Integra monitors with Trimble CFX 750 steering systems for sub-inch accuracy, but didn’t like managing 2 monitors in the tractor cab. This year, they went with the GeoSteer auto-steer system for strip-till and planting.
Point of Pain: Match Equipment to Cropping Practices
They have used OptRX crop sensors to variable-rate apply liquid N 29-0-0-3 sidedressing corn with a Schaben 16-row pull-behind applicator after V5 stage, but have stopped using it due to concerns that the sensors might be misreading the crop canopy because the corn was too small.
“We sidedress almost all of our corn and can't wait until it's all at canopy tostart sidedressing, so we are trying to figure out how to make that work for us early in the season,” Adam says. “I wish the dealer would have had a better understanding of our equipment and cropping system to make sure what they are selling will work on our farm and with the equipment we have.
“I am partial to the GreenStar system, but Dad prefers the Ag Leader system and it is half the cost. We found the Trimble auto-steering system very good, but when we switched to the GeoSteer system and Integra monitor, we just haven't found the RTK signal through a Network Transport Connection(NTRIP) to be reliable enough for our strip-till, and we really don't want to pack a base station from field to field, some of which are 25 miles away.”
The Casners have also switched from using Deere’s APEX to Ag Leader’s SMS crop management system. Getting information from the 2600 into the SMS software isn’t a problem, says Adam, but the equipment doesn’t communicate well.
“I like our Deere dealer’s reliable RTK signal, but it doesn’t work with the GeoSteer system,” he says. “ It’s very difficult to first get the right equipment, then get up to speed on it before the next generation of equipment or software is introduced. I need a platform that enables me to have repeatable sub-inch accuracy, with no limit of guidance lines and work in any color of equipment. Maybe the ISOBUS compatible equipment will help.”