Nathan Wentworth farms with his father and a cousin near Warrensburg, Ill., and as they were making their way to a Precision Planting Winter Conference a few years back, the team was contemplating a big purchase -- a larger planter.
"We felt we could justify going to a 24-row planter," he recalls. "But, at the conference, we heard about a product called SpeedTubes that would allow us to make our 2010 16-row John Deere 1770 NT into a high-speed planter. We signed up right away, and had the SpeedTubes on in time for spring planting. With our 16-row planter running at 10 mph, we essentially match the productivity of a 24-row machine pulled at conventional speeds."
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The Wentworth family operation has attended the winter conferences regularly since 2013. They don't always make big decisions at these events, Nathan says, but they do pick up information that is useful. "We circle the calendar and make plans to go," he says. "You get to see the engineers and agronomists present their research that leads to the development of these products. We like to keep up on the research, as well as the new products."
"We've been doing the winter conference for around two decades now," says Dale Koch, senior product manager in research and development for Precision Planting. "It is an event that we work toward all year long. We want to teach fundamental agronomic principles that allow farmers to do their best job in such things as planter performance and fertilizer management. We also share results of our research plot work, and we use the event as a platform from which to launch our new products."
The physical location for the event is the Precision Planting exhibition hall in Tremont, Ill.; there are 10 satellite locations as well where events are simulcast to remote audiences (see Virtual Venues). Meeting sessions are repeated each day, held from January 21-24, 2020. Location and details of the event are available online by visiting ppwinterconference.com).
The amount of information available at the winter conference can seem overwhelming. Koch recommends that growers pick out the weak link in their system and focus on finding solutions to their highest priority problem. "That's a great place to start," he says. "We want to help farmers find answers. There is no fee for our meeting, and you are welcome to attend even if you've never talked with a Precision Planting dealer. We would love to see you here."
Illinois farmer Nathan Wentworth suggests that farmers who attend should bring one important thing: an open mind. "They will obviously promote Precision Planting products, but the research and information is very useful," he says. "How they present it using videos, the time-lapse and animations is top-notch. You will learn something that will help your operation."
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