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Podcast Year in Review

Listen: Podcast Ep. 134 2020 in Review [Podcast]

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The year in review, as re-told by podcast episodes.

While COVID impacted every part of every industry, farmers were able to continue moving forward while many industries came to a halt.

In this final episode of the year, host Tony Kramer looks back on the year, its challenges, and highlights some of what he learned in the 25 episodes produced in 2020.


Each month, we share the latest in agriculture technology. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing to our podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Have a story idea or a precision ag topic we should highlight? Connect with us on social media:  Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter and connect with podcast host, Tony Kramer on Twitter at: @RDOTonyK.


Catch the full transcript here:

Tony Kramer: Hi, I'm Tony Kramer with RDO Equipment Company. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Agriculture Technology Podcast.

This is episode number 134, and today we round out another season of the Agriculture Technology Podcast. Before we dive into the show, please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast if you haven't already. You can subscribe to the show on the many different podcasting apps that we're streaming this out to such as Apple's podcast app. We have it on Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud as well as many others.

While you're out there, drop us a review. We'd love to hear what you think about the show. Lastly, make sure to follow RDO Equipment Company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube. You can also follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK.

Now with that, let's get back to the show. Like I said, this episode is going to be dedicated to just a year in review. We’re finishing out another year another season of the podcast. A lot of good information was shared, a lot of great guests that we had on the show, a lot of awesome talking topics.

At the end of the year, what I like to do is just go back and review some of those things. If you're joining us midseason or this is the first episode you've listened to, maybe it gives you an opportunity to go back and listen to some of the episodes that we've talked about or something might spike your interest to go back and listen to. Getting started, it was a great year. Of course, we had dealing with COVID. All of that stuff throughout 2020, it made a lot of stuff difficult for everybody.

I will say being in the agriculture industry, those of us that are in the AG industry, we are very fortunate to fall into that essential work, essential business category when it came to the COVID protocol and regulations.

In the AG industry, speaking from myself, my own position here working with RDO Equipment Company, other than some internal changes of how we conducted business on-farm with farmers in the cab of tractors, things like that, we really didn't notice a whole lot of change, a whole lot of difference. I know that cannot be said for all places around the world.

I know that can't be said for all industries.

Like I said, here in the AG industry, we are very fortunate to be essential, continue providing the world with food, and fuel, and clothing, and all of that stuff that wraps up into agriculture. I just want to give a big 2020 COVI-19 shoutout to all of the essential workers, whether you be in the AG industry like us here or those working in health care, first responders, law enforcement. Everybody that is deemed essential that was working through all of this and fortunate enough to continue their day-to-day without really being disrupted.

I know that a lot of people went through some difficult times and it's not fun to think about. It’s not fun to talk about that type of stuff. Hopefully, we can get into 2021. We can move past the COVID pandemic, get that under control and continue moving forward and just continue living life.

As far as the podcast goes with 2021 and COVID, fortunately, a lot of what I do with this podcast is remote interviews. Whether you know this or not, some of my interviews are done in-person face-to-face both talking into a microphone. A lot of the other interviews are over the phone.

We've done a great job with our equipment and our sound quality to be able to have very audio pleasing or good quality audio when it comes to phone interviews. I didn't really slow down the recording of podcasting at all, so very fortunate about that.

Going back to the beginning, pre-COVID, January time frame, we started out the 2020 season with episode 108 and I got the opportunity to talk to Laurel Caes with John Deere Company. She was working with John Deere and the CES Show, the Consumer Electronics Show that happens every year in Las Vegas.

For the past couple years, John Deere has attended that show as an exhibitor. In episode 108, Laurel talks to us about why John Deere is at that show. It’s not an AG show, it has nothing to do with agriculture technology or farming or anything like that, but John Deere saw it and sees it as an opportunity to showcase the level of technology that's being implemented in the agriculture industry.

There's a lot of people out there that don't realize we have self-driving tractors, Auto Trac, or self-controlled implements. If we talk Auto Trac Turn Automation, doing everything on its own, or we talk simple things like section control, turning on and off sections. There's a lot of people that don't realize the amount of technology that goes into the agriculture industry.

That was a really fun episode, kind of understanding John Deere's take or perception on why it makes sense for them to exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show. I just recently got a communication from John Deere that they again will be part of the Consumer Electronics Show in 2021. Now I do believe that is going to be a virtual show much like many other exhibits and expose that have happened this year throughout the COVID pandemic, but John Deere is again going to be part of it.

One of the things at Consumer Electronics Show, the CES Show 2020, John Deere released or showed the first, to the public, the X9 Combine. A little bit later here, we'll talk about an episode that we touched on the X9 Combine as well, but that was awesome to see. It made waves across the electronics industry as well as the agriculture industry with the amount of technology that is integrated into that machine.

Episode 108, episode one for season 2020, John Deere marketing at the Consumer Electronics Show, the guest, Laurel Caes. It was a great show, I really encourage you to go back and listen to it.

Going down the list a little bit, jumping down to episodes 113 and 114, I got the opportunity to connect with a co-worker of mine, Erin Hightower. She is our internal agronomist out in the Pacific Northwest covering Washington, Oregon, those areas down into the California coast, and whatnot. We talked to her about some of the technologies that are very simple.

Just implementing these technologies on your farm can help propel you. Can help you be more efficient, whether it's something as simple as a rate controller, controlling your product application, or even your Auto Trac. Just being able to autonomously steer that machine so you can focus on other things, talking some technologies that can help the efficiency of your farm.

After that, I got to touch base with Joe Bassett from Dawn. Joe does some great things with Dawn. They’ve implemented a lot of technology. They've got stuff for strip-till units and just so many different things. Joe is very, very adamant about the industry in a whole when it comes to technology and advancing the technology. He's working on some really cool projects.

There's also some stuff that's already out there, some different systems that Dawn offers. That was another really fun interview to pick Joe’s brain on technology and the industry in a whole.

Moving down to episode number 118, I actually connected with Jake Maurer who is another co-worker of mine. He is the RDO Agronomist for Midwest AG, which is our Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota locations.

Jake and I took the opportunity to add a second type of structure to this podcast. Since beginning recording, so for those of you that don't know, the first episode of this podcast dropped in February 3rd of 2016. We've been at this for quite a while. We've never really changed any structure. We've never changed any type of show. It's always been this interview type format.

Even with our In The Cab episodes, which we haven't done for a while, I need to get back on that. The In The Cab episodes was really the only way or time we changed up the vibe of the show. I asked Jake this summer, I said, "Jake, would you be interested in just having a one on one, just Jake and I chatting?" I think we settled on the name Jake and Tony talk, and that's really all it is.

We're talking about technology, we're talking about equipment, we're talking about one of the recent ones that came out Episode 133, Operation Center terms and conditions and the importance of getting those accepted, a lot of different things. Shout out to Jake Maurer and that Jake and Tony talk segment and finding things that Jake and I can just bounce off of each other and have a conversation about.

That was really fun. The first two episodes with Jake that we started on was, of course, the ExactApply nozzle body. We took a little deeper dive on that. Episode 120 was that X9 Combine release that we talked about. That was the full public release of the X9 Combine which is absolutely awesome. I got the opportunity to run an X9 Combine and some corn for a number of hours this fall.

Those things are unbelievable. The amount of corn, the amount of throughput on that machine is just astonishing. If you get the opportunity to see or be on an X9 Combine, I really encourage you to do so, those are fun to watch.

From there, we talked about ExactRate, John Deere released a new fertilizer system for their planters that mimics or utilizes components from ExactApply. Episode 123, ExactRate, the release of ExactRate and the fertilizer system, that was another fun one to talk about.

Going down I got to connect with some of my counterparts down in South Dakota. Episode 126, I talked with Terry Locker down in Aberdeen, South Dakota about Auto Trac Turn Automation. Auto Trac Turn Automation is a great feature. It allows you the ability to completely autonomize the operation and what you're doing once you set it up.

A planter, tillage tool, strip-till, whatever you're doing, whatever implement you're pulling, it does everything on its own and everybody talks about autonomous farming and driverless tractors. Auto Trac Turn Automation is autonomous farming, we still have someone sitting in the seat for a safety factor, but once you hit that resume button, you do not need to do anything other than confirm the direction of your turn and you don't even have to do that, if you just let the thing go, it'll go.

Autonomous farming is here. Auto Trac Turn Automation is autonomous farming, and I talked back that episode 120, that X9 Combine. Then also Episode 124, Jake and I talked about some combine technologies. One of those combine technologies is Auto Maintain. Along with Auto Trac Turn Automation and the autonomous farming, combine advisor with Auto Maintain, that too is completely autonomous.

You select your performance target in what you want to see with crop loss, foreign material, cracked green, things like that. Once you set that performance target, that machine automatically adjusts itself to follow those performance targets. Again, completely autonomous, you don't have to do anything other than set that initial target and it will then adjust itself based on the parameters that you set.

Another thing that John Deere continues to push the boundaries, John Deere is constantly releasing technology and innovative pieces that can make us more efficient, that truly does bring autonomous farming to real life. A lot of fun topics that we talked about.

Another cool piece that John Deere released this past year, I got to talk with product specialists down in South Dakota, Nathan Wright, and we talked about CommandPro. CommandPro is an awesome, new way to control a tractor. Now, it's not a new transmission. It is a new way to control the machine with an IVT transmission.

The coolest part about it is everything is right there at your fingertips. It's almost like playing a video game, those big joystick video games back in the day that were connected to your PC at home. That's really what it is. You have hydraulic controls, you have hitch controls, you have forward, and reverse commands. You have everything right on that one handle, right on that one joystick.

Whether you're pulling a sugar beet harvester or a planter or whatever you may be doing, everything is right there at your fingertips. It's all controllable. CommandPro, another really cool offering from John Deere.

Episode 129, another episode of Jake and Tony talk. We actually brought backup product that's been around for a while but we wanted to revisit it. Tru set technology on tillage tools. That was another fun one to discuss because it's been around since, I believe, 2016, I think is what it was, when John Deere released the 2730 Ripper.

True set technology automating the control of tillage tools behind you or if you want to run it just not in an automated mode with a prescription, you can make adjustments right from in the cab, right from the display. You don't have to get out adjust that single point depth control, get back in the cab. It's all done right from the display. Episode 129, like I said, is an older technology, but we wanted to revisit it because we felt there was opportunity there.

Then rounding out the year, I talked about earlier Operation Center terms and conditions. Jake and Tony talk episode 133 just released on the 16th of December, we talked about terms and conditions. Something that John Deere is doing, they updated their terms and conditions. We need the users of the John Deere Operation Center to get in and accept those terms and conditions. We talked all about that on episode 133.

All in all, as you can hear, we had a great year recording the Agriculture Technology Podcast. We are always looking for new topic ideas, new guests to be on the show to talk about those ideas. It's a lot of fun being able to connect with different corners of the AG industry and just finding out what other people are doing. It's not just here in the Upper Midwest, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota reaching out to other areas as well.

It's always fun because agriculture is just a little different in the different corners of the world, different corners of the United States. If you have any ideas, please reach out to me on Twitter @RDOTonyK. You can also reach out to any of our RDO social media platforms, like I said at the beginning of the show, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. If you are a YouTube watcher, listener to this podcast, let us know what you want to hear us talk about or let us know something that you want to hear.

Episode 128 talked about planter rate controllers. That idea actually came from a listener. He wanted to know what some of his options were when it came to controlling multiple things on a planter.

Great year, like I said, 2020 COVID threw a wrench into things but we were able to make the best of it. Here we are, December 30th, pushing on and moving forward into 2021. I wish all of you a very happy new year. Thank you to all of the subscribers and listeners. If you are not subscribed to this podcast yet, I encourage you to do so. Go out there, drop us a review. The more reviews, the more stars we get, the more people or the easier it is for people to find us or grow our listeners.

Our listenership has been growing consistently year after year. These last episodes through 2020 we averaged about 2,500 listens per episode, which is absolutely amazing and it is each and every one of you that listens to the show that gets us those numbers.

Thank you very much to all the subscribers, to all the listeners, wishing you the best in 2021 and we'll just keep pounding away and sharing this technology information and equipment information over the Agriculture Technology Podcast. Again, follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK. Until next year, thanks, everyone.