As a punchout user, please email for assistance.
Resource Center
{{product.extended_sale_price | toCurrency({currencyCode : cartDetail.currency.code})}}
Cart details ({{productsTotalQuantity}})
Subtotal: {{cartDetail.cart_amount_ex_tax | toCurrency({currencyCode : cartDetail.currency.code})}}
Your Shopping Cart is empty
RDO Equipment Co. Precision Agriculture Specialist Team Combine Automation with Smart Apply

RDO Equipment Co. Precision Agriculture Specialist Team Combine Automation with Smart Apply

10 Jan 2024 Author: Dick Muhlbeier Read time: 4 min

In almost every conversation I've had with recent growers, they’re talking about input costs like chemicals, shortage of skilled labor, water and increasingly, government and environmental regulations. You can somewhat control the first three, but it’s hard to control rules.

I work with 300-plus crops in the Pacific Northwest, including apples, grapes, hops, cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, blueberries, hazelnuts and vegetables like onions, potatoes, and carrots. For years, these specialty crop growers have become increasingly interested in precision agriculture technology to adapt their operations and collect application data, so they pivot spraying applications each season or follow regulations or their contracted orders.

Before John Deere's Smart Apply system was available, RDO Equipment Co. team members adapted row crop technology for precise spraying applications. But when we became aware of the Smart Apply, RDO saw the opportunity this new equipment technology creates for growers.

Explicitly designed for high-value crops, growers can retrofit Smart Apply systems on virtually any new or used air blast, over-the-row, or even an autonomous Global Unmanned Spray System (GUSS) sprayer. Smart Apply uses a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) laser to examine trees or vines individually based on size and foliage density. The Smart Apply system can stop spraying when tree/vine growth isn't detected through the sensors and machine visioning technology - without any intervention from the grower.

When RDO demonstrated the Smart Apply system for growers, they asked:
*Does Smart Apply solve the problem of pest and fungus control?
*Does it provide adequate coverage to get the job done?

We understood we needed to show the efficacy of Smart Apply plus its chemical and cost savings. The system had to protect crops effectively. So, RDO Product Specialist Dave Del Moro, Agronomist Erin Hightower and I began a year-long process of extensive field trials to prove the technology did the job as good as or better than traditional spraying. During the study, RDO documented a 50% reduction in chemical and water use when growers used Smart Apply.

Now, when I speak with growers, I highlight not only the chemical savings and proof of its crop protection but also its increase in efficiency despite the need for more skilled labor. One of the first questions out of a grower or ranch manager’s mouth is, “can my people use the Smart Apply system?” With adequate training, RDO’s precision agriculture helps to program the system based on a grower’s specific operation.

RDO Partners to Install Smart Apply

With Smart Apply, we give growers the complete RDO approach: Precision Product Specialists work with Agronomists to combine their decades of experience with a dedicated sales team and service technicians. We’re all responsible and work together to ensure each grower gains the most from their investment and realizes the Smart Apply system’s maximum benefits. The Precision Ag team partners with sales team members to explain the Smart Apply system and its applications for their specific operation. After this step, our service technicians help growers install and troubleshoot so growers can learn the machine's ins and outs before the season starts. Then, it’s just a matter of operators pushing a button to spray. Specialty crop growers can see they don’t need skilled operators to run Smart Apply. With Smart Apply, operators fill their tanks half as often and cover more acres in a day.

Growers Future-Proof Operations with Data

The Smart Apply system’s data solutions keep the RDO Precision Agriculture team going, engaged and excited to work alongside growers. Smart Apply documents every time you spray. It captures the who, what, where and when and gives the grower consistent, accurate documentation of what’s going on in their fields.  

When the Smart Apply system is integrated into their farm management system like John Deere Operations Center™, growers automatically collect vital data points and upload data to the cloud. Using applications in the Operations Center like Work Analyzer, growers can compare application rates with coverage and field maps. With this info, growers can cross data points from fields where soil conditions or moisture levels vary to identify opportunities to reduce or increase spraying applications.  

With Smart Apply technology and RDO, growers create a data collection system to support regulations when needed and highlight their sustainable chemical applications. Pacific Northwest growers and RDO are just scratching the surface of data insights Smart Apply can provide and its potential to change spraying applications for years to come. 

Watch how Mini GUSS programmed with a Smart Apply system works in the field. 

Dick Muhlbeier

Dick Muhlbeier, the General Manager of Precision Agriculture at RDO Equipment Co., has more than a quarter of a century of experience in agriculture. Muhlbeier interfaces with precision ag team members working in the field across RDO’s footprint. He also acts as an effective consultant to help growers solve problems and become more efficient and productive.

Staying Connected
Join our email list to receive information on featured equipment, store promotions and sales, special announcements, and more.