The 2nd Annual IDEAg Interconnectivity Conference

July 15, 2013

The 2nd Annual IDEAg Interconnectivity Conference brought together the whole interconnected agriculture sector for two days of cutting edge education, exhibits and networking. The most innovative crop and animal agriculture producers gathered with top technology and equipment suppliers to discuss the key issues in our connected agricultural future.

This educational forum will provided information and allow discussion on the complexities of our interconnected age.

Here are some participants testimonials:

Mitchell Fiene, DMZ founder:


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your insight on interconnectivity in agriculture.  The ag industry as a whole is racing into the future and new technologies are being designed and implemented all over the world.  Concepts such as Mission Planning, Lean Processing, and Drone Technology are becoming more and more prevalent in the world we live in.  Your expertise throughout a plethora of subject matter allowed those of us in attendance at the Ideag Interconnectivity Conference to take a giant leap toward visualizing the future.

Eli Troyer President AgriDry LLC

Hello Andrey,

The conference material was very informative as to what needs to be done to connect the farmer/grower and his advisers/partners in the agronomy side of his operation. The farmer/grower presentations were very enlightening as to what they are looking for in suppliers/partners and how they are utilizing networking with people that are in the know. As a supplier to the post grain harvest side of the grower, the challenge/opportunity lies in the support for the user of the equipment/technology/service at the user level. Future conferences could include post-harvest material like grain quality control in grain drying and grain storage systems. Good format and material.

Michael Swanson, Senior Economist Wells Fargo: The presentation stresses the absolute importance of viewing agricultural production as an inter-connected system.  Operators need to integrate rapidly changing technology into their operations.  They must make their place in the future by planning to adapt, or they will not have a place in the future of agriculture.

Jesse Vollmar, CEO FarmLog: “Andrey clearly understands where farming is going and how technology can be a part of that”.

Matthew J Rohlik, Integrated Solutions Manager Haug Implement Company


I would be honored to give you some thought. The material provided was thought provoking and intuitive. As we look forward to the future of Agriculture and the survival of the American Farmer we will need to look more in depth at ways of improving our bottom line. You clearly have a vision for sustainable agriculture that will endure into the future.

Sarah Davis, at John Deere said the content was “utterly amazing at this show.”

Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 9:12pm

Creating a Yield Map Expert System

May 7, 2013

Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 4:46pm

A glimpse of the future

May 6, 2013

A glimpse of the future

With today’s state of ag equipment, technology and existing seeds, crop production can be increased in existing areas by 50 percent or even doubled. On top of that the cost of crop production of such yield in existing borders can be reduced by 10 to 20 percent.

I feel your doubts. That’s why I invite you to take a glimpse at the future, discuss how we can reach these goals, and what might be preventing us from doing so.

In previous blogs, I have mentioned three existing issues:

  • Real yield is far below the biological potential of any crop.
  • The use of farm equipment in the U.S. in most cases is very inefficient.
  • The key issue – the knowledge required to improve yield and efficiency is growing, but often not integrated into a farming operation – and sometimes difficult to find.

Let’s Share the Knowledge!

What will we see in the future? We start as always looking at the whole Farming System.

The major components of the Farming System are the technologies of crop or animal production, machinery placed on the land and managed by the farmer, and supporting services interconnected with each other.


Communications will be quicker, more reliable, higher coverage density, have more security for data transfer, include cloud computing, use more mobile devices for support, etc.


The communication between machines, machine-to-remote user, and machine-to-office will be significantly improved and become user-friendly. All field applications like guidance and VRT will be more precise and reliable.

Tractors, self-propelled equipment and implement will be equipped with ISOBUS. It will enable interoperability between different manufacturers of ECUs at any point in time and provide important features for the users:

•           Manufacturer-spanning interoperability between implement and tractor.

•           Use of a single input/output terminal (virtual terminal) for all implements.

So, look for the term ISOBUS-complaint when buying new equipment.

The competition among companies will be on the level of technologies providing more efficient equipment usage (automation, remote control, reliability, and diagnostics).

Irrigation equipment and technologies will become more efficient with remote monitoring and control.

Drones and remote sensing

We will see more drones in the sky. Their creators are fearlessly fighting for air space and rights to fly. Remote sensing, monitoring and usage of drones will become more affordable and wide-spread for more applications. You will see the presentation about their applications during our event.


There is a growing understanding of the necessity to support crop growing technologies with a more integrated knowledge base.

For example, Monsanto is working on Integrated Farming Systems. Syngenta has AgriEdge. Land O’Lakes has WinField Solutions. These are some of the developments you will see.

Seed producing companies will have more detailed data and technology descriptions. The competition among companies will be on the level of technologies providing sustainably higher yield.

New means of transportation

We see in near future more hybrid aircraft. The U.S. Department of Commerce is recognizing this technology as qualifying for commerce corridor funding. The implementation of the hybrid aircraft contributes also directly and broadly to the missions of both USAID and to the United Nations World Food Program.


New renewable energy sources like solar, wind and biogas will find more applications and usage in rural areas.

Custom crop production will grow.

Knowledge Integration

In order to accelerate all these developments we need to increase Knowledge Sharing and Integration, create better, more detailed market data, and have better data bases for everything involved in agriculture.

Our presenters will show you how to increase ROI integrating the existing knowledge and what will be possible in near future.

We believe that derivatives of Knowledge Sharing will be:

  • Self-learning program for crop growing recommendations.

-          Programs of applications of all nutrients inputs.

  • National and worldwide demand for agriculture inputs.
  • National and world-wide logistics programs for inputs and harvested yield delivery.
  • Equipment service programs.
  • Equipment and parts planning programs.
  • National and worldwide ag work and crop growing monitoring.
  • Independent recommendations for best practices and seeds for participating areas.
  • The possibility to arrange service franchises.



Let’s discuss what should we do and how.

Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 11:23pm

Posted to: Uncategorized

Better seed data could drive higher yields

April 8, 2013

After my conversations with farmers I’m convinced that Knowledge Sharing is the right problem to discuss. At the present time farmers use technology that gives obvious effects supported by calculated ROI. Autoguidance, performance monitoring and weather data are among these things. On other hand Variable Rate Technology (VRT), in spite of intuitive benefits, stumbles upon an absence of data to calculate its ROI.

Here’s an example.

If you would take a look at any website of major seed producers, you would find a target corn yield in a range of 127-174 bu/acre. This is an average yield. There are no concrete recommendations on soil preparation or fertilizer rates or their combination in relation to yield.

At the same time, the accepted standard for a bushel of corn is now measured in weight: 56 pounds.

The number of kernels per ear can vary from 500 to about 1,200, but a typical ear would have 800 kernels, according to corn experts.

Planting rate recommendations average 35,000 per acre

If we assume an average 1,800 seeds per pound and 35,000 plants per acre with a typical ear with 800 kernels, our yield per acre should be 277.77 bu/acre.

In 2012, Jeff Laskowski of Plover, Wisconsin, set a new all-time state record corn yield, producing 327 bushels per acre using the corn hybrid Pioneer P0533AM1.

But again, this corn hybrid ( has no data for potential yield.

It is very difficult to create technology and integrate all components if you do not have relevant data. We have a lot of different hardware and platforms capable of integration, but no data.

This time I’m asking such companies as Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta to share the data and crop growing technologies to achieve the maximum yield.

From my old experience back in Belarus working with potatoes, a new variety always was coming with detailed technology of crop growing, including all details of soil preparation, fertilizer type, rates and placement . The same was true for new varieties from the Netherlands. Sometimes it even included their equipment for the chosen variety of potato.

So, in order to use VRT farmers need to have more definitive data supporting this technology.

We need to know the following properties for seeds:

  • Potential yield (not only average)
  • Potential/desired output content (protein, starch, fiber, oil, etc.)
  • Rate of planting (spacing in the field, XYZ) as a function of yield
  • Rate of fertilizing for each growth stage (spacing in the field, XYZ) as a function of yield, desired crop properties, soil properties and structure
  • Rate of irrigation for each growth stage (spacing in the field) as a function of irrigation type, yield, desired crop properties, soil
  • Rate of chemical control for each growth stage (spacing in the field) as a function of chemical type (systemic/contact), diseases (type, spread, stage), weeds (type, spread, stage), and insects (type, spread, stage)
  • Potential yield losses as a function of planting speed, harvesting speed, and deviations from the optimum planting rate.

Based on the above data it is possible to develop a technology of crop growing (sequence of operations and supporting equipment) to support the optimal growing conditions and achieve desired yield and crop properties for the chosen criteria (ROI).

Is it possible to provide this data? Equipment industry and farmers are ready. Now we are waiting for answers from seed-producing companies and crop consultants.

I think if farmers would share their data anonymously with their crop consultants and seed dealers, it would be possible to create the described above Site-Specific Crop Management data to increase yield and reduce cost.

It would benefit all parties involved:

For farmers, an increase in yield and reduction in the cost of production.

For equipment manufacturers, a boost in VRT equipment sales.

For seed producers, a new paradigm of competition in crop growing technology and not only seeds.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with

Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 10:52pm

February 21, 2013

Aaron Hutchinson, who attended the first Ideag Interconnectivity conference, told me that my concept of applying LEAN manufacturing processes to improve farming efficiency and profitability “is very innovative and shows a strong grasp of what the agriculture market needs to do better while producing even higher quality and consistent products.”
I was pleased to hear this from Aaron. He’s knows a few things about process management and control as the president of Cogent 3D, whose products include the iCropTrack mobile farm management app for iPads.
LEAN is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination.
Implementation of LEAN requires Knowledge Sharing Networks. It also can help break the commodity price and input cost cycle.
By commodity price I mean that you can grow more specific crops with desired properties such as specific levels or qualities starch, sugar, protein, oil, fiber, etc. to get higher premiums.
If fertilizer is optimized for delivery, content, and time, rate and placement of applications, the cost per unit of harvested crop could be dramatically reduced.

In my opinion Knowledge Sharing Networks or Shared Knowledge determine the adoption rates of LEAN processes and is a major hurdle point. Low or very local level of Shared Knowledge is a limiting factor not only for in-time inputs delivery, but for the use of precision ag technologies and products in general.

Without Shared Knowledge it’s very difficult to have:
• Nutrient optimization in terms of cost and desired crop properties
• Optimized soil conditions (physical, pH, moisture) for each growth stage
• Crop growing technology optimization (sequence of operations and timing)
• Fleet optimization
• Management optimization
• Equipment maintenance programs

With creation of Knowledge Sharing Networks on the National level it’s possible to develop:
• Self-learning program for crop growing recommendations
• Programs of applications of all nutrients inputs
• National/global demand for agriculture inputs
• National/global logistics programs for inputs and harvested yield delivery
• More efficient equipment service programs
• More efficient equipment/parts planning programs
• National/global ag work and crop growing monitoring
• Independent recommendations for best practices and seeds for participating areas.
• The potential to arrange service franchises.

We know that knowledge creation, technology transfer, experience sharing, national and international cooperation, partnerships lead for the successful business development. So, let’s discuss what should we do for better Knowledge Sharing.

Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 2:49am