Advancements in planting equipment and data acquisition systems have driven significant improvements in how precisely farmers can plant their acres. Paul Harms, Product Support Manager at Precision Planting, joins us for this episode to talk about Precision Planting's technology offerings. Topics covered in this episode include data acquisition and utility, calibrating sensors mounted on planters, different control paradigms, and the value proposition of planting technology for farmers. As Paul mentions in the interview, the Precision Planting's mission is to make their partners "smarter every season" by providing actionable information that gives them greater insight into and control of their planting operations and spatial variability. If there's one episode in the planting series not to miss, it's this one. Buckle up for a great conversation!
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Opinions expressed by the hosts and guests on this podcast are solely their own, and do not reflect the views of Nebraska Extension or the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Jackson: Welcome to the FarmBits podcast a product of Nebraska Extension Digital Agriculture. I'm Jackson Stansell
Samantha: And I'm Samantha Teten. And we come to you each week to discuss the trends, the realities and the value of digital agriculture.
Jackson: Through interviews and panels with experts, producers and innovators from all sectors of digital technology we hope that you step away from each episode with new practical knowledge of digital agriculture technology.
Samantha: Welcome back to the FarmBits podcast. We are continuing to roll through our planting technology series and are very excited about this episode.
Jackson: Planting equipment continues to advance significantly in the modern ag tech landscape.
This episode features a company at the forefront of planting technology innovation.
Samantha: Paul Harms, product support manager at Precision Planting, joins this episode of the FarmBits podcast to discuss Precision Planting's mission, product platform and vision for future innovation.
Jackson: We dive into many topics from data to sensors to equipment and how Precision Planting is doing exactly what their name suggests, enabling precise planting operations, so here's our interview with Paul Harms.
Paul: I am super excited to be here, I appreciate you guys reaching out and getting the invite in. I'm well my name's Paul Harms in case you haven't seen that or read that yet, but I started with precision planting about 13 years ago, and I work in the product support department. So, I grew up on a farm. We had 2,500 acres of row crop and then 300 head sow operation, which we did feeder and farrow to finish so came from the farm background, spent some time in the seed industry kind of got in the door here on a whim just on a flyer and have loved the role, the task, the people, the culture and the mission. So, that's that's been a blast that I just can't walk away from.
Jackson: Awesome and where are you from originally?
Paul: I grew up in central Illinois right here, about an hour to north of here. (awesome) Yeah, I'm located right at the home facility here in Tremont, Illinois.
Samantha: Good deal, so since you brought up the mission of Precision Planting, can you talk a little bit about the company and what kind of role they are fulfilling within the industry?
Paul: Absolutely, I would say our mission is very similar to the title of our podcast- the Smarter Every Season podcast. It's our goal is to help growers improve year over year and we feel it's our role to try and provide education opportunities and solutions to problems that they're seeing you know we do that through our precision technology institute, our winter conferences, our field demonstrations. We provide our solutions in a retrofit fashion and our factory installed through our partnerships there and it's all about taking advantage of every time we go to put a crop in, trying to put the best crop in and make our operations as secure as possible.
Jackson: That's really cool stuff, and I think the retrofit aspect of things is a really important asset for farmers and from an engineering standpoint, I just think it's a really important way to design things. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the great lineup of technologies that y'all have including some of those retrofit pieces of equipment that that you offer to people?
Paul: Yeah, the retrofit is actually our bread and butter so we approach problems that we find in the industry first and foremost towards that that retrofit solution. We want to make whatever problems we can solve with a product or a design. We want to make sure that that's applicable to as many people as possible and there's a much larger portion of the industry that has an existing implement in their shed then there is new going out every year, so we don't want to just make it tied to that. It's important for us to be able to continue to add value to that existing implement, you know our start with that was the keaton seed firmer which was just an attachment onto a rail unit to help firm the seed down in the soil and that's our focus there is finding those solutions.
Jackson: Awesome so, it's really interesting that you know kind of your you know you're talking about the seed firmer but those seed firmers have kind of morphed themselves or not necessarily morph themselves but you've expanded from that point to doing a whole lot of more high-tech things than just firming seed into the ground. I mean you've got different you know you have your smart firmers out there, flow sense furrow force. I mean we could go on and on, I mean can you tell us a little bit more about some of the technological advancements that have happened from those regular seed firmers?
Paul: Yeah, so a lot of that does track along the same path where when we started we were focused just about helping that seed with emergence and ensuring it gets good solid seed-soil contact and that was adding a firmer onto the back of the rail unit made sure that the seed was placed fully into seed contact and then that has grown into well I made sure all the seeds were starting and emerging correctly. Why do I still have an erratic stand? Okay, so then we start looking at the meter, what's the next problem and a lot of times it's just continuing to advance and look into what are those next problems and then understanding how they occur, finding a good solution that provides value in the operation and then putting that product out. So, you know as we worked through all those a great anecdote is one of those stories where one of the first engineers took his laptop and he was doing some testing, looking at meters. He was using the existing sensors that were on the planter and for us sensors and information drive a lot of where you can improve because until you can measure something it's hard to improve on it or advance that against that problem. So, he would take his laptop out, plug into the planter and all of a sudden the operator could see so much more than what the existing technology in the cab offered him and the engineer would get what he needed and x laptop up and go back and do some design work. Well, what the driving piece came out of that was no don't go away with that, I can see more. I'm not adding any new sensor. I'm doing more with the data in real time and I can make better decisions with that in the cab seat while I still have time to impact my yields for this year and that was one of those light bulb moments for ourselves while we were designing towards one thing and we still continued with that, but it also opened an opportunity of knowledge is was a big driver, being able to make the right decisions.
Sam: That's awesome, yeah so thinking about that collecting data but more importantly using that data- can you talk about the smart firmware which is that reflectance-based sensor for people who may not be familiar with that. But, what are some challenges that are associated with this technology particularly with making sure that data is accurate but how does it adjust with different conditions and some effects?
Paul: Okay how far in the weeds do you want to get with the, so the smart firmware is a great example where we have gone from a product that solved an immediate solution or an immediate problem, it was a quick solution to a problem of seed to soil contact and uniform emergence. As we progressed along, we got to the point where we wanted that or we had the desire towards you know- I just want a window into the furrow to what my seeds are seeing. If I knew that I could make a better decision and this is from us as operators and and time in the seat wanting to do better with this season's crop. So, we said okay let's let's find out what instruments and things we can put on that to give us that window in there and the smart firmware is the tool that we came out with. What it's doing is it is a reflectance-based sensor, so we have some lights in there and they're shining against the soil. The major hurdle is when you get that reflectance back you have to correlate it to some known okay what does this data mean right? Whe way you figure that out from all the distant different datas is a bunch of backbreaking work in validating it and testing it in a known condition against every possible iteration, so we went from this great idea of I want a window into the soil. I want visibility into the furrow to a warehouse portion of the warehouse that's full of five gallon buckets of soil from all around the world as many places we could and then not not just getting the samples but then testing them and going what is it at zero percent moisture five ten fifteen twenty 30 40. What does it look like, what are the reflectance values and smart firmer is really beautiful in the way that it doesn't just tell me how much moisture is in the soil because that would be potentially a misinformation, and I'll go into why in just a bit. But, it actually is reporting to the user how much moisture a seed can pull out of that soil over the next three days because that's the inhibition we're period that's when the seed is going to start suck that moisture and we need that to all happen uniformly and enough to initiate the germination process. So, we didn't just look at the soil and say okay at this amount of reflectance for this type of soil we're going to get or this is how much moisture is in the soil. We actually then took it and said with this soil at this amount of moisture, if nothing changes will the seed have enough to begin germination in three days and the example and the reason back for that is I can have a sandy soil and it can have 30 moisture in it right think of it like a wall tank, right my sand won't hold as much as a clay. I have a smaller gas tank but on a clay, a clay won't give me every bit of water that's in it like a sand will. Sand will give you every ounce of gas in the tank a clay holds on to half of it same 30 moisture on both of them is a different amount on how much my seed can get, so when we put a number on our monitor in this in the cab we're constantly driving towards the number that affects seed germination. So, we want to stay over a 30%, we want enough moisture to be in this soil type that over the next three days that seed will have enough be able to pull enough moisture out of the soil to gain 30 percent of its weight by volume.
Jackson: Sure, and so is that moisture aspect than kind of the primary value driver for smart firmers right now at least on the real-time side and then the organic matter is a little bit more of kind of a post-processing side, or I guess how does that work because it does both right?
Paul: Yeah, so there are six layers of data that come out of smart firmer. When we launched and announced smart firmer, we were super excited about hey and we can do organic matter. We initially went into it with the moisture focus and then halfway through that we're like well we can easily correlate this to organic matter. We're getting that number and our data. We can just start to present that as well and it was kind of that wow, we're excited. We can also include that but that took a lot of the notoriety but there of those six, of those six data layers that we're getting three are extremely valuable to the operating in the cab year in year out, acre by acre. Three of them are great for informing and influencing long-term decisions. So, the six that we have are furrow moisture, so that's how much moisture is in there my furrow, uniformity and my clean residue or my firm residue. What amount of trash is in my furrow? The last ones are temperature, organic matter and CEC. So, those first three are the ones that drive best practices and can save this crop from having a skip or a large gap as I wait for seeds to get enough moisture to germinate. So, those are the three that really help an operator do a better job this year.
Sam: Can you elaborate a little bit more on that value proposition when you say it can help make management decisions? So if let's say a farmer says or they get that message that says oh it's not enough moisture to last those three days what can they do about that how is it actually changing their management does that make sense?
Paul: Yeah, yeah so and this is a great question that we will commonly have with growers and they'll ask us at farm shows and things so what's the value prep on that and or how do I make a change or how do I utilize that information and we'll commonly ask or at least I'll ask the question back. So, what depth do you plan your seed at and varying number of answers will come back and it'll depend on crop and it'll depend on where they're at in the world. When it comes down to it, what does the seed need to begin germination, temperature, water a little bit of air right. So, we can really affect mostly moisture. So, if we have a measurement of what's in the soil, where the seed is the one of those three that we can target we go after. So, if it's dry and we don't have moisture present, we'll stop, get out, go back around the planter set your planter just target a little deeper until you do find moisture or even better yet maybe you can't find moisture and it's this seed and this field is better saving my yield with that seed in the back. Yeah, no matter how bad it is and sometimes this isn't an equation. If I have a fully irrigated field, and I'm going to water the crop in, great but that can also be a big value out indicator of hey there was enough soil or there was enough moisture in that soil, I don't have to water it in. I can save myself one cycle around on that and that can be a huge impact on how much water you use in a year and just an additional pass cost, so those are some easy simple ways that inform that operation and gives that operator, the guy in the seat the right information at the right time. So, then some of those we can continue to automate and the same way that our smart our seed firmer, our standard poly heat and seed firmer that has grown into a smart firmer. We added a sensor and gave it some more value to us and some more input. Now, we can take smart firmer. Now that we can measure that moisture on the fly, well the first thing you would react to on chasing much moisture would be depth, so now we have a smart depth system that solves a couple mechanical problems and gives us the ability to respond in real time to that moisture value.
Sam: So, all this data is really valuable if it is accurate right you always talked about your validation process, you guys are lots of soil types lots of different moistures but is there a way for a producer to potentially calibrate this information on their own field so potentially taking moisture samples, organic matter samples or anything like that to potentially better inform these data layers?
Paul: Yeah, we're kind of riding the smart firmer horse on this one. So, that example but smart firmer is a great example for this reason- its primary goal in the field is not to create the absolute value of organic matter or any of these values, our full target is to create the spatial variability right. So, I can then understand how this portion of my field behaves differently than another portion of my field, and I can always correct that legend later. So, if I see a variability from one to three on a field and that really needs to be from two to four I can go correct that after the fact. What I'm most focused on is that I'm able to control real time to the variations in the field as it goes from one to three back and forth across the field. So, sure all those data points so specifically on Smart Firmer you can take your smart former data and and send it up we have a server that has a program built on it, and you put in all of your soil samples and if they have GPS data points it will correct that map and legend to a correct value to that absolute value that a soil sampling test like site would would give you.
Jackson: Yeah, I think that's extremely valuable. I mean just thinking about dealing with relatives instead of dealing in absolutes right like that's really what we're trying to get to here is like if you can if you know I guess and this is how I would interpret it- if you know that you're planting at the right depth for a certain moisture right and you know that all of a sudden your soil has gotten drier well you're probably gonna have to you know increase your depth in order to get there. It doesn't necessarily matter exactly what that moisture is, but if you know that relatively speaking this part of the field is drier than another part of the field at certain depth you still have enough to kind of make that decision is that am I interpreting that the right way Paul?
Paul: Yeah, so going into smart depth smart up for us has a few different ways we can control it. Hey we can just put in a value and say, I want this thing to be planting at two inches. It always plants at two inches, straight forward very simple. We can also put it on a moisture basis, which says here's my preferred depth. If I fall below this certain amount of moisture, go deeper if I get too wet come shallower right and you can figure it so you know it stays within a window or range that's right for your acres, for your locale and then we can control within that to make sure that we're giving the seed the best opportunity because you don't want to go too deep if you don't have to because then you're just making it harder for that seed to get through up to the surface and actually see the sunlight so we want to keep that as short as possible to reduce that resistance. The last way we can control it is off of a prescription, so if I know I have an extremely distinct soil type difference in my field and I normally would love to plant the left or the south half of my acres on two inches and the north half at two and a half, I can do that. I draw a prescription and then my default depth goes to that, and I can still control the moisture. I'm just affecting my default depth and allowing the system to do what's correct and all that's changeable or modifiable on the fly, which is really interesting the engineers were actually able to make it so that that prescription and the controls could be read by the system and controlled to we can edit, make live edits make the update and it's a faultless process, so that it's a read and update at the same time it's pretty impressive.
Samantha: So, thinking about how planting conditions are not always optimal, as we would like them to be can you talk a little bit about maybe some calibration challenges or with any of these technologies- how are you making planting more stable across multiple soil types, maybe different moisture conditions what kind of technologies are making that where you're consistently planting how you want to plant at different conditions?
Paul: We want to be able to know when situations change, when the environment demands something different out of the implement and be able to respond to that. So, commonly if it's an automated control system, if the soil has just gotten a little tighter well maybe the system can just auto it has a target value and it will push down until it hits that target, so it kind of overcomes some of that need to calibrate. Probably the biggest part that's still an unknown and that won't go away is the the ground truth, the value of ground truthing or data validation is always going to be there. And we can automate a control to any target that the operator wants us to right within our control range. We can do all the automation, we don't know that the control target is 100% perfect. That's left to the grower, we know we need the grower to say this is where I should be doing for this field, so some of that is still you know down on your hands and knees you say a prayer and then and evaluate what the equipment is doing to the ground and making sure that it's accurate for what you're doing.
Jackson: Sure so, when you think about a product kind of like active downforce, the delta four systems that you all have- I guess that's kind of one of those examples that comes to my mind when I think about you know the farmer still needs to kind of set the right down pressure, but I'm also thinking there's got to be some there has to be some truth out there right of like this is too much down pressure given these moisture conditions and or you know soil type right and then this will lead to compaction. So, you know I guess how are you all going about you know implementing this delta force and how is it bringing value and potentially helping farmers to make better decisions as far as how much downforce they're applying out there in the field?
Paul: That's a multi-headed beast. That's a good topic to unpack because there's a lot to that one so downforce I've never given a direct answer of what's the correct answer you know what's the correct downforce amount because even in the field that's right next door that we've seen and I've been on a dozen years in a row, I don't know its conditions its moisture, how the winter affected the soil structure it's gonna handle different this year than probably it has in any one of the previous ten yeah maybe some similarities but it's going to be unique, and I need to be able to confirm that I'm setting the right target the system will go and I've got some presets I can affect how I do towards that and simplify my life in setting that target, but I do need to be able to make the correct decision or make the correct target point that the system controls to and that would be that's going to be present you know pretty straightforward across all of the products or or any of the actions we do across the field. We do need to have that ground truth to know that we're doing the right thing with the equipment, with downforce we don't technically target what the right amount of push down is. We know we need to push the row unit down. We'll continue to do that until we get the correct amount measured on our depth stop so we just keep pushing down on the rail unit until we've hit our target of force against the gauge wheels and the example you go in your garden if you guys do any gardening at home yeah okay so in your garden your garden is probably like like my wife helps me make ours perfect, super fluffy nice no no problems weeds or anything and so when I go to plant that it's make a little hole put the seed in cover it up and then what do you do. So, there's a certain amount of that where you're resetting the the soil structure and the density of the soil above the seed you want it firm enough that it holds air and water correctly but you don't want it so firm that the seed can't get that generation yeah absolutely yep so the gauge wheels on a row unit on a planter row unit are for a good portion of that you're firming action they have an impact on what your soil structure is around that your closing system is like the wax job after a good car wash if you don't wash and shammy and wax it, the wax and the shammy can make the make a wash look really bad that finishing touch. So, all of that without resetting. We want to make sure that our push down is as it should be but that takes the operator to choose that so we'll push down as hard as you need anything up to 650 pounds to push down, or we will remove weight for the rail unit as much as 450 pounds and we can make those changes extremely, rapidly probably more rapidly than should be needed in the soil, but the focus is just having the ability to hit that target very accurately. Each row behaving independently and hitting its own target because as this row is going through a tire track and the row next to it is not they're going to have different demands on what's needed to push that row unit down to get the right measurement on my gauge wheels that says hey yes, I've met my depth and I'm doing the right thing to the firm the soil around the seed.
Jackson: If you think about some of these other measurements that are going on out there as well, you know we're thinking about how much you know down pressure is being applied. We've already talked about the moisture you know kind of ad nauseam but you know I'm sure there are other you know measurements out there, temperature whatnot if any decisions are being made on these from the cab how important is it to be able to filter that noise and you know how much of a challenge is that for real-time control having this really noisy system out there in the field?
Paul: So, as soon as we were approaching and starting the product design process for a high-speed solution- we knew that every one of our products would then get applied in a high-speed environment and needed to be able to maintain performance and accuracy across there, so like we designed furrow force our closing system high speed was a prerequisite before that could be a viable solution to solving closing as a problem, so all of that that you know as soon as we decided yes planters can and should be able to cover more acres or or cover acres in a more timely fashion yeah all of the pre-work had to be done on the other components, Jackson: Carrying the data. I'm sure but as the noise I mean the noise has to be something that's pretty significant to deal with I'm sure you know on the monitor side and kind of the engineering side they they've obviously done a whole lot of work with being able to filter any bad data or you know any of that noise from vibrations or other things out?
Paul: Yeah and again it comes back to the the the engineers that get the boots dirty in spring riding with it and understand that I don't need to just bring forward the data, I need to bring forward the piece of information that drives the right behavior in the cab by the operator at that at the right time so again smart firmer is a great example, I don't want to just bring them how much moisture is in soil. I want to tell them for this soil how much moisture can my seed get out of it, right that's actionable.
Samantha: Yeah, I think the one product that we haven't really touched on a lot yet is the furrow force can you maybe talk about that a little bit and how is it adjusting in real time to make sure that seed to soil contact is there?
Paul: Okay, what we're doing on the closing side is more of tackling the two biggest problems, what the row unit did to get the seed there to begin with. First it had to carve the soil open, so I need to first remove that and then because I carved it open I messed with the soil structure. I need to reset that, so our closing system the furrow force closing system is targeting those two actions first. I need to destroy or undo what my real unit did to create a furrow and then I need to reset the soil density above the seeds. So, it's not an air packet or it's not a dry space, can't hold moisture. And then two I don't make it so firm or tight that the seed can't sprout through there. So, that's what furrow force is doing. What we do is we have three different versions of our control aspects on there, so one is a manual only you would just manually fill a pneumatic bag to your desired amount of force pushing down and and run with it. The second way would be you would have some sensors on there that would tell you am I holding my closing system down hard enough again? This is a control or a target set point that you're going to be choosing which of the the right set point is but we continue to push down on the closing system as a whole until we meet a measured weight on that that stitching wheel on the back. So, that's how much I'm firming the soil back together with we'll continue to push down until we measure that. We've attained that amount of force, you set that target rate and we chase it with that middle layer there. We put the sensors on there, we give you what you're measuring but you have to manually adjust it to hit that target the last one is we put an automated control piece on each row and you tell it a target and it maintains it. So, as you go into softer soils it lets air out makes it walk across the soil a little lighter. In harder soils we continue to push down until we measure that right amount. I can also do that to solve agronomic problems as well. Maybe I'm in a an overly tilled environment. I got wet, I had to till it to get moisture out now I've got a little bit of clods. So, I hit it again and now I've got overly fluffy soils. So, I can actually add extra pressure on my closing system to maybe firm that soil back up and retain a little bit more moisture than would normally be available. So, I can use it as a tool to help me out of bad situations as well.
Jackson: That's really cool, and I think just thinking about the value proposition for all this you know we think about how much farmers would have to get out for the operator the you know of the planting system to get out and go and reset all these things without kind of the automated control right it's really going to slow down your planting operation, which we all know has to be timely. So, I mean is that is that the biggest value proposition for some of these tools is that you know really you don't ever have to stop you can make those adjustments on the fly is that that what a lot of people are seeing out there as a value?
Paul: So, there's got to be an agronomic value to it. Stand alone we have to be solving a problem and that goes back to our entire mission of we like to make sure that what we're doing is solving a problem right. Farmers are an amazingly industrial people and if there's a problem that that they know about they can solve it and they can do a better job they want they have that innate desire we have that inner desire to do better and so that's why a lot of our mission is on focusing on encouraging that education and helping people understand where problems come from so they can solve it. The timing and the operation and what the impacts are there. Our first solution has to be we actually solve an agronomic problem. The speed or ease that we can do to maintain the optimal performance that's an added benefit. So, I don't have to choose between beating the rain, managing the other activities and operations that are going on on my farm because most often the operator in the cab is not the the second or third person on the operation. They're usually the primary person on the operation who has to direct the entire choir of activities and make sure that no horns get out of tune and a lot of times what will happen is there's not a loss of desire to hit that perfect or to hit the optimal performance. It's a priority choice of I can either continue to strive for performance or I can keep that problem that's another aspect of my operation from hitting a dead end or stopping completely and in the larger sense those priority decisions sometimes have to be made but if we can make them the tools that allows them to make those changes or create a set point that they're confident in and let the system maintain that performance while they can then do their operation management that's a a great side benefit, but the product itself needs to stand on its own its value.
Samantha: So yeah, thinking about this value I'm gonna ask kind of a two-part question. Can you maybe first tell us what is current adoption with some of these technologies is these things with planting a huge priority to producers right now and then the second part is what are producers most excited about where do you guys think this adoption is going?
Paul: I don't have hard numbers on what current adoption is so I as an anecdotal answer when I started 10 years ago 13 years ago whatever a lot of the conversations I would have say downforce is a great example. We're explaining how a miss setup or a miscalibrated system would give you an agronomic cost. It was very heavy on the education of where a problem existed and how to solve that you know that was truly a cost to their business then once we when we understood where that fault could come it became more of a how do I select the right tool, how do I operate the tool the best what's the right tools for my operation and how do I use them? Simple part. My conversations in the last 10 years have shifted as I talk to growers across the nation across the world those conversations have shifted from what is it to which ones are the right tools and how do I employ them best. So, as a whole our our industry has gotten more aware of problems, are still looking for the right ways to identify them timely and you know as soon as they know they have them they know the solutions are out there they just need a little help in choosing making sure they get the right one and it's employed correctly. And then come back to your second half of your question, what's the most exciting one again I'm sorry I have to knuckle out on this one as well because if you the most exciting thing to any one farmer is going to be the problem that's costing them the most, solving that problem means the most to them for some that may be a low sidewall tire on the tractor or the combine right if you can solve that problem that's the greatest thing. What we want to do is work with our regional sales managers who are working with our dealers and our resellers who have that one-on-one relationship with our customers because they then are that trusted advisor that knows hey you know Bob, your biggest you know problem right now is not the planting process it's it's the people in your operation all going in a bunch of different directions. Is there a tool I can help you with, sometimes that's the answer it's education, it's communication. So, we want to try and make sure that we're focusing first on solving that farmer's problem. Most often that comes with visibility of the problem, shine a flashlight on what's occurring so we know what to solve. We get to focus very narrowly on the agronomic and the control and the operation portion of different implements and up and activities across the field. That's where our bread and butter is, but that's that's coming from that heart of we want to identify what's costing those farmers you know yield grain and solve that for them because that's what they want.
Samantha: So, where can people go to learn more about what Precision Planting is offering uh maybe talk about where they can go to learn more information but also maybe your podcast can talk about that a little bit.
Paul: Absolutely thank you for the queue up on that first and foremost and probably the best recommendation is there's a local regional regionally placed next next to our listeners there's a precision planting dealer there's got to be one close to you, we're we're pretty widespread that's going to give the best experience right they're going to know your neck at the woods, they're going to know your challenges unique from someone else. We are never pushing anyone away but we do understand that the best is our team of dealers that are out there because every one of them I believe does have the customer's best interest at heart and they're here because they have the same mission as us and that's our growers success. So, we want to make sure that they're learning and growing with us, and that's where I'd start. Outside of that we do have a lot of outreach things, so we'll partner with our dealers and do field demonstrations and local farm shows of that nature sales experiences we have a precision technology institute in Pontiac, Illinois and that's very close to us where we have a little playground. We have equipment running you can come in climb up in the cab operate it yourself you don't want to test drive on it's not your you know Ford f-150 test drive. It's the half million dollars of equipment right at 13 miles an hour but yeah it's fun those are some ways. We do have a winter conference which is a our annual event where we get to put the engineers on the stage and let them share what they've learned over the last year and make them a little uncomfortable. You have us on the podcast which is Smarter Every Season and that's available Stitcher, Apple podcasts, anywhere you normally see.
Jackson: Very cool awesome, so to to kind of wrap up what's been a really cool conversation I've learned a lot from- what's one piece of advice that you would offer to our listeners who are wanting to maybe solve that problem that they have in their operation and have been wanting to solve for a while or just be more precise in their planting overall, what's one thing you can make it three or four however long you want but if you can distill it to one I'll be impressed.
Paul: Information, so whether that's adding a monitor adding a sensor probably best yet starting a relationship with a trusted advisor who can help you along that process, getting and learning more because the more we learn and the more we can help each other grow on or learn or overcome problems the better and and that may that may not have an individual economic value that's definitely going to have a and a solid intrinsic value to their operation. So, I'd say first and foremost it's you know it's the gi joe knowing is half the battle there you go I think I can end on a gi joe reference now absolutely never thought you'd do that one before.
Jackson: Thank you to Paul Harms from Precision Planting for joining us today on the FarmBits podcast. I personally thought that was a really really fun interview, I liked how we kind of mixed up the engineering side and a lot of the really technical aspects of what they do with some of the bigger picture aspects of what precision planting mission is and how they're going about achieving that. I think my favorite part of the episode was when Paul talked about kind of the three different levels of control that they give folks in terms of their furrow force right, where you can actually have something that you go out and adjust manually to create the right setting. You can actually do the setting within the cab manually, you're getting sensor feedback but you still have to set it manually or you can have it just be fully automated where the the monitor actually will set the correct set point in accordance with the sensors and just make sure that the system is maintaining what it should be and all that is kind of embodied in this whole sense that they have of trying to make sure that everything is rooted in agronomic value, but at the end of the day they're also enabling additional value propositions right and how however far that farmer wants to go if they don't want to have to get out of the tractor to go fix whatever's going on back there there's a next step right and so multi layers of value yeah it's not just collecting all the data they are using it and and if the farmer's not ready for that step they can be very customizable and so yeah.
Samantha: That exactly, like what you said leads me to what I thought. My I mean what my favorite part was which was that it is so customizable we asked about where adoption was going and there he was like well it really depends on what an individual farmer needs it's so different based on what region you're in what your soil types are what your challenges are on your farm and so it's not about making a product that fits across the entire United States. It's finishing a product for a farmer, and I just think that is such a cool mentality so with that thank you so much for joining us today on the FarmBits podcast hope you enjoyed learning more about Precision Planting and we look forward to having you again next week.
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