Getting the program set up was time-consuming, but once I got everything established, it has saved me a lot of time and money,” says Monte Burch of Palmyra, MO. He is referring to his JD Office desktop computer software program.

“Setting up boundaries and accurately establishing field acres has been a big plus,” Burch adds. “I also like the ‘what-if’ options, which let me run several enterprise analysis scenarios in a short time.”

Last year, Burch grew about 2,100 acres of corn and 1,800 acres of soybeans. All of his land is grid sampled in three- to 10-acre grids. In the field, Burch couples his JD Office program with GPS (global positioning satellite) systems on his equipment. Combining the two lets him draft precise field maps that record fertilizer, planting data and yield information.

“Grid mapping cost me about $7/acre, but I'm saving more than that each year just on fertilizer and seed,” Burch says. “For example, on one of my bigger farms, broadcast fertilizer was costing me an average of $47/acre. With the spike in fertilizer costs last year, I saved money by applying fertilizer more precisely.

“Seed is not a small expense, either,” he adds. “I cut back corn seeding rates on more marginal land and step up plant populations on better land. Around field borders, close to brush and timber, I plant two rounds (24 rows) at 22,000 plants per acre, then step up to 28,000 plant population for the next two rounds.

I plant the main part of the field for a stalk count of 31,000. I plug my field maps and program plant populations into the computer, along with the variety, soil temperature, relative humidity and planting date.

“I can evaluate crop varieties more accurately and more quickly with this program,” says Burch. “I also scan each field at least four times per year for weeds and plug that information into the JD Office program. That lets us tailor weed control more precisely.”

One of the bigger savings Burch has realized from his system has come in the form of crop insurance premiums.

“My crop insurance man accepts my field maps, which are a lot more accurate than maps drawn on old ASCS aerial photos,” says Burch. “In some fields, those old maps were off by eight to 10 acres. With updated maps, I'm not buying insurance for crops I don't grow.

“Farm managers and landlords like the reports generated, too,” he adds. “I send yield reports, digital photos and field maps to them; electronically, in many cases. They especially like the field maps.”

Burch is working to set up his planter so he can change planting rates on the go.

“That will save some time,” he says. “I think we're just on the threshold of what we'll see in the next few years. The sky's the limit on technology.”

You can find out more about the program from: John Deere AMS, 4140 N. W. 114 St., Urbandale, IA 50322. Call 888-476-7827 or check the Web site at

Pick A Program

Over the past couple of years, computer software management programs have sprouted like mushrooms after a spring shower.

Many of these are general farm business and agronomy aids; others focus more narrowly on a specific area, such as record keeping or weed control.

Here's a sampling of software suppliers. To get more information on programs that interest you, contact the suppliers.

Phone Web site E-mail
AG RENAISSANCE 919/518-8030
AGRIS 770/587-3324 OR 800/795-7995
AGRISOLUTIONS, INC. 618/372-3000
AG VISION SOFTWARE 515/964-0708 OR 800/759-9492
C&P PRESS, INC. 646/733-6000 OR 800/544-7377
CROP DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS 530/743-7605 OR 800/237-2367
COUNTRYSIDE DATA 208/523-2641 OR 800/953-1099
DBC SMARTSOFTWARE 770/427-7633 OR 800/484-8704
ESRI 909/793-2853
FARM WORKS SOFTWARE 219/488-2561 OR 800/225-2848
FBS SYSTEMS, INC. 305/582-5628 OR 800/437-7638
FMS/HARVEST 815/485-4955 OR 800/992-2814
FUS SUPPORT, INC. 256/766-3877
LINNET 204/957-7566
MIDWEST TECHNOLOGIES 217/753-8424 OR 800/643-8324
RED HEN SYSTEMS, INC. 970/493-3952
RED WING BUSINESS SYSTEMS, INC. 651/388-1106 OR 800/732-9464
SOILTEQ 952/945-2390
WEEDSOFT 402/472-1544