Category Archives: Prime Meridian

New Web Reseller Locator: Find the ‘Prime’ Nearest You!

What many people may not know is that Prime Meridian has over 30 qualified reseller locations throughout the Midwest.

Prime Meridian has made it easier than ever to find your nearest reseller of its precision agricultural data services with its new online Reseller locator. Simply go to www.PrimeMeridianData.com and click on the NEW “Find a Reseller” link under the Reseller’s tab. For the direct link, click here.

Powered by Google Maps the new Prime Meridian Reseller locator allows you to search by zip code or by city and state. Just click on the Reseller pin on the map and complete contact information will pop up on screen.

“We’re excited about being able to bring this informative interactive feature to our website,” says Steve Cubbage, president of Prime Meridian. “People know about our services because of our website but they probably didn’t know that they’ve got Prime Meridian resellers literally in their own backyard.”

Prime Meridian offers many of its individual or bundled data services packages to ag retailers and ag service providers to help streamline, enhance and ultimately complete their precision services portfolio. Click here to get a full run-down of Prime’s services.

“Every retailer on our map is serving their customers in new and better ways because of Prime Meridian’s complete offering of precision services,” says Cubbage. “We believe that agronomy is local but precision agriculture is universal. Through the Prime online site and the web-based services we’re bringing the two together easier than ever before.”

To learn more about becoming a Prime Meridian Reseller check out the Reseller Requirements.

Precision Agriculture needs a “Jitterbug” and an “Easy Button”

The other day the daughter of one of our customers said something that made so much sense that it bears repeating.

“Wouldn’t it be great if there was actually a Jitterbug monitor for precision ag,” she said. “This stuff needs to be simpler so people like my granddad can use it.”

Photo via Toptechreviews.net.

For those who don’t know what a “Jitterbug” is – it is a cell phone made specifically for those who are “technologically adverse” or simply were a generation ahead of the “personal computer revolution.” In other words – a simple cell phone – with an emphasis on being a phone and double emphasis on being simple. No smart phone apps or complex data plans – simply a nice phone with big buttons, large display and robust volume. You know – the important things you might want in phone!

These comments reveal a persistent problem that plagues precision agriculture. It’s still too complicated! The hardware is too hard to run! And sometimes you truly may need to be a rocket scientist in order to operate this stuff.

For a segment of the agricultural industry that is nearly two decades old – precision agriculture should be simpler and offer a better user experience than it currently does. When the most complex task most operators of the hardware can achieve is simply pushing a button marked “A” and another button marked “B” so that you can drive straight – that is not what I would call fulfilling the promises of precision ag.

A $25,000 autosteer system should be able to do more than just drive a straight line. It should be a management tool that is like your own personal assistant that you take to the field with you recording exactly what you’re doing agronomically on your farm. It should be easier than it is to record the varieties you plant, the number of seeds you plant, the herbicides you spray and the number of bushels you harvest.

But those tasks are still hard to do because iron and hardware companies remain clueless or too hardheaded on how to easily collect the most basic, yet most important agronomic details regarding crop production. In order to outdo each other these precision ag companies continue to awe us with their latest bells and whistles. Meanwhile, the basics and the agronomic promises of precision ag have been left behind in the dust.

So it my contention that whoever comes up with the “Jitterbug” or the “Easy Button” of precision hardware will win the game. Technology can only truly fulfill its promise when it becomes transparent. Because it is not the hardware that should be the focus of precision agriculture it is the agronomy. And if we’re too confused about which button to press we’ll never get there.

That’s why Prime Meridian has worked very hard putting together BASIC multi-year precision plans called “Prime Packages” that focus solely on getting good data to and from the field. It would be a lot easier if the hardware companies would jump on the precision agronomic bandwagon but until then we’ll keep fighting the good fight and continue delivering SIMPLE to our customers.

Thousands of Reasons why Your Farm Needs an iPad 3

If you’re wanting an excuse to get Apple’s latest must have gadget – the NEW iPad 3Prime Meridian can give you one!

In fact, we can give you thousands of reasons – they’re called acres! When you sign up 2,000 or more acres of your farm in one of Prime Meridian’s multi-year precision plans called ‘Prime Packages’ the iPad 3 comes standard.

Photo from Apple.com.

Why? Other than it’s the coolest device on Earth – it is also the easiest way to connect you and your farm to your precision agriculture data. Plus, you can do so much more with it than you can old 3-ring binders full of maps.

Being shackled by a desktop PC and paper printouts can be compared to the days of using a rotary dial phone to talk with someone. Today, technology is mobile in a big way and we believe this mobile revolution being lead by the iPad is going to change the future of farming – big time!

Prime Meridian through its ‘Prime Packages’ delivers all of your maps ‘electronically’ so that you can view them right there on your iPad whether you’re in your La-Z-Boy watching March Madness or in your tractor planting corn. Your farm’s there in digital form everywhere you go.

With the new iPad3, precision agriculture becomes much more personal and greatly more interactive. It brings multiple years, thousands of acres and hundreds of agronomic variables into view on a magical 10-inch slate of glass. And with the new iPad 3’s retina high-definition screen its like holding a 42-inch HD TV in your hand!

To learn more about taking your precision plans mobile and viewing your farm in high-definition, contact Justin Ogle, head of GIS operations at Prime Meridian at 417-667-4471 or via email at: justin@primemeridiandata.com.

Prime Meridian makes the News and Predictions about Precision

Photo from FarmIndustryNews.com.

Farm Industry News recently highlighted Prime Meridian in an article about what the future holds for precision agriculture.

The February article in Farm Industry News entitled, “Next wave of precision ag data” featured comments and crystal ball predictions from industry leaders including Steve Cubbage, president of Prime Meridan, a precision agricultural data management company headquartered in Nevada, MO.

To find out the trends and the technology that will drive precision agriculture in the next decade check out the article by clicking here.

“Spring Forward” with your Precision Goals with “Monitor Prep”

Sure you changed your clocks last weekend for Daylight Savings Time. But the question is – are you ready to go to the field to start the 2012 crop year? Sure you’ve greased the planter and the seeds in the bag are ready to go, but are you really ready?

As I was resetting all my clocks in my house I wondered why producers shouldn’t do the same thing with their “electronic devices” before they go to the field in the spring.

If synchronizing all clocks and changing out your smoke alarm batteries are a spring ritual – shouldn’t prepping your precision equipment for the season be just as important?

At Prime Meridian we created a service that we hope becomes a spring ritual called “Monitor Prep” – a lot like setting your clocks forward. Monitor Prep is like spring cleaning — wiping the slate clean to start the new year fresh when it comes to collecting good and complete data from your precision monitors all season long.

Good precision agriculture just doesn’t happen. It’s a lot easier to collect good data if a precision display has been properly prepped with the right field names, the right field boundaries and the correct labels of all the seed varieties and crop inputs that made your pick list for 2012.

Failing to walk away from your field operations without collecting the right data is a great waste of precision technology that will impact the management of your farming business for years to come. Precision displays should not be treated like Etch-a-Sketches that you doodle on during the season for entertainment value – and you can’t just shake them clean when you’re ready to start another season.

Those of us at Prime Meridian believe the real rewards in precision and farming’s future will go to those who think of the equipment as true tools – just like they would with their tractor, combine, planter, disk, etc. For equipment perform correctly it has to be set correctly – and that in a nutshell is the first step to success on the path to precision.

The Final Frontier of the Information Age

In 1982 John Naisbitt published his prophetic best seller entitled, Megatrends. His overall theme and prediction was that modern America was in the middle of a revolution. A revolution that would see an industrial-based economy upended by something called an information society.

He couldn’t have been more dead on. His predictions were amazingly precise especially considering that the Internet was basically in its infancy and no one had ever heard of an iPhone or Google.

One of the industries that’s in the middle of one of the final battles of this revolution is agriculture. There was a time only a few short years ago that the coffee shop talk centered around the horsepower of Farmer Joe’s new 4-wheel drive tractor or seeing Tom’s 24-row planter in the field for the first time. Today as you listen in on these conversations the horsepower and big machinery talk has been superseded by discussions about Internet Service Providers, bandwidth and mobile Mi-Fi’s.

There is no doubt that farming is not what it used to be and it will be transformed in ways that we have yet to comprehend. The biggest issue at hand is how will producers on the farm – the place where agriculture originates – adjust to this sea change in the agricultural landscape? Getting used to the space-age controls of a new tractor is one thing but managing mountains of streaming agronomic and economic data is an entirely separate skill set.

There are certain to be casualties in this revolution and it will change the landscape and demographics of agriculture in its wake. Prediction: farms will get bigger. Older producers will choose retirement rather than to fight this new battle. Bandwidth and connectivity will become the new horsepower on the farm. And alongside the farm manager and your trusted agronomist will be your new information manager.

Who will train YOU for this battle? How do YOU even go about fighting such a battle? This is why Prime Meridian came to be. We saw this revolution looming on the horizon and we decided to act to help prepare producers with the services and skills that they would need in order to win in this brave new world.

Soon John Naisbitt’s prophecy will be complete. Agriculture has shifted its focus to the information age and data is becoming the farm’s most important crop. The final question is whether you and your farm are prepared to fight this new battle? If you’re waiting for a modern-day Paul Revere to warn you about the information age – take note – that horse rode about 30 years ago.

Lining Up Your Precision Ag Data – Square Peg? Square Hole.

Remember that preschool exercise of putting the square pegs in the square hole?

Interestingly enough the same rules apply when it comes to precision agriculture data management – the square pegs have to fit the square hole.

The square hole in the case of precision agriculture is simply a field’s GPS boundary.  The digitized boundary is unique and so are the latitude and longitude coordinates that go with it.  No other location on planet Earth shares those same coordinates – in other words each field is unique.

Because of such uniqueness – every geo-referenced byte of data that belongs to a field fits perfectly within a field’s GPS boundary.  In layman’s terms that means every combine yield map, planter variety map and every GPS grid soil sample point that belongs to that field will fit seamlessly within that digitized field boundary.  Think of it like Legos that stack perfectly on top of each other.

As more and more GPS data is collected from field operations and other sources it is vital that producers have a master set of field boundaries that can be used to “sort through the laundry” of data.   When a producer asks where he should start when it comes to precision agriculture the answer is simple – start with the field boundary.  The field boundary is the foundation – the square hole – of everything to follow.

With today’s sophisticated mapping programs like the one’s Prime Meridian uses – all data from almost any sources can be sorted by a field boundary.  But be careful – not all GPS field boundaries are created equal.  Some can be created literally without even going to the field by just clicking a computer mouse around an aerial image of your field – just like how it is done down at the local USDA office.  Better than nothing but certainly not the best square hole when it comes to digital field boundaries.  The best field boundaries are still obtained by being onsite and physically running the boundary with a GPS device.

Because of its importance – Prime Meridian offers a specific field boundary service called Precision Boundary to make sure field boundaries are accurate, up-to-date and named properly to make sure that all the square pegs to come has a perfect square hole to call home.

Wireless Wave for Precision is More Like a Tsunami

A wireless wave is coming to precision agriculture.  Precision pundits predict that 2012 will be the tipping point in regards to wireless solutions for precision agriculture.  The technology, the economics and most importantly ease of use has matured from a junior high science project to a viable mainstream solution in the world of precision.

Some may ask what all the hoopla is all about concerning wireless data transfer and precision agriculture.  The industry’s seasoned veterans are hoping, praying that this technology can deliver information and data services seamlessly and completely like never before.

Why is this so important?  Simple. In computer terms the industry needs a reboot – a restart – to Precision Agriculture 2.0.  Ever since the early days of the first GPS yield monitors massive amounts of data never made it the short distance from the combine to the office computer.  It is the digital equivalent of leaving a crop in the field to go to waste.

Being able to seamlessly capture “real-time” data instantly from planting to harvest may finally unlock the agronomic promises originally predicted in the early days of precision agriculture.  Plus, it literally puts a “virtual” agronomist in the field by being able to wirelessly send prescriptions to the cab and also monitor growing crops from afar.

With all this promise also come possible pitfalls. Wireless data transfer sounds wonderful – but transfer to where?  Equipment and hardware manufacturers are quickly jockeying to build the infrastructure to capture these streaming bytes of information.  The big name players – John Deere, CNH, Raven, Trimble and Ag Leader all either have a solution or have outlined their wireless plans that will roll in the coming months.

But what are hardware companies going to do with digital mountains of agronomic data?  Certainly makes you wonder what their end game is. Just how this “data” is going to be made available back to the producer?  How much is it going to cost to retrieve it?  What happens when a grower has a “mixed” set of precision hardware brands?  Is it going to be like when you need $100 cash from the bank and you have go to 5 different banks to withdraw it?

It is because of questions like these that independent data management companies like Prime Meridian have a legitimate place in this new wireless world of precision agriculture.  Why?  Because producers want a single, safe, independent home where they can go online to do their precision business.  And with wireless on the way – that business is likely to boom.

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate at Prime Meridian

As the Christmas season approaches it stirs a time of reflection.  It is also a time to look forward to the “growing season” ahead in the new year.

Those of us at Prime Meridian have had quite a year.  In October, after months of planning, creating and assembling www.PrimeMeridianData.com was launched and a new home for precision ag data was born.  We’re proud of the fact that we’ve brought about an independent place that facilitates the exchange of data between growers and the local people they do business with.

But most of all we’re thankful for all of you and your support to make all of this a reality.  We are not done.  In 2012 you will see even more precision tools and services offered by Prime Meridian to make the business of precision data management simpler, more complete and ultimately more profitable.

For now, let us close the book on 2011 and celebrate the season with families and friends.  From all of us at Prime Meridian we wish all of you a joyous, safe holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.