Every year, the entire SureFire Ag sales team takes a break from our busy schedules to spend time together – team building, planning, and reflecting in order to be the best we can be for our partners, customers, and community. This year, the SureFire Ag sales team spent a few days in the panhandle of Nebraska at the historic Fort Robinson. The goal of this retreat is to discuss what went well over the last year, as well as what we can all do to make the coming year even better.
On the first day, everyone traveled to the location at Fort Robinson and a shrimp boil was prepared by Rick Heard from Dothan, AL; something we all enjoyed! After dinner, we began the meeting by studying territory reports from each Territory Manager, detailing how the year went and places for improvement. Each Territory Manager also broke down their key accounts and what the SureFire team can do to support them in the upcoming year.
The following morning, the group finished up territory discussions and began a healthy discussion of our different product lines and what they offer. The team was updated on product updates and significant time was spent discussing the new systems and plans coming straight from the engineering team. Everyone is thrilled with what’s coming down the pipeline and we can’t wait to share it with our loyal customers.
That afternoon, we took a break from business for a bit of fun. Most of the group went tubing down the mighty White River. After tubing, the team was served peppercorn roasted beef tenderloin sandwiches by Mark Griffith, Man were they good!
In August 2017, the SureFire Ag team celebrates 10 years in business. What started as a small dream by Blaine and Erin Ginther, Josh and Lisa Wolters, and Matt Wolters has turned into a reality we’re all immensely proud of. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the loyal support of our customers, dealers, and industry partners – we thank you!
SureFire Ag began specializing in providing solutions for the control and application of liquid and dry fertilizer, seed, and chemical the SureFire way. With the support from our amazing customers, our products and services have reached customers across the United States and internationally.
We’ve expanded our offerings to include SureFire Electronics LLC, a subsidiary of SureFire Ag, to design and manufacture wiring harnesses for SureFire Ag Systems. Together, SureFire Ag and SureFire Electronics employs 36 full-time and 7 part-time employees. Blaine Ginther, Co-Founder and National Sales Manager explains why SureFire is proud to be an employee-owned company in a recent blog– which we believe is a huge benefit to our team and customers alike.
From the beginning, our core tenant has always been to find ways to help our customers farm smarter, not harder. From simple, standard, single-product liquid fertilizer application systems, to complex, custom-designed systems, SureFire Ag is committed to helping you farm the way you want. Josh Wolters, SureFire Co-Founder and General Manager, had this to say about the past 10 years:
Here at SureFire, our busy days don’t give us much time to sit back and reflect on the past 10 years. As I take a chance to look back this afternoon, there are a lot of different directions my mind can veer off in. There are great successes. I’ve met great people as co-workers, customers, vendors and other partners. There have been failures large and small along the way. Failure is never fun, but we have learned important lessons from our failures.
One of our most popular Early Order products is the SureFire LiquiShift Variable Rate Technology. Farmers across the country have loved the opportunity this product provides to achieve their agronomic objectives without limitations. This system gives producers a mechanism to apply fertilizer to their crops with total control.
LiquiShift Variable Rate Technology provides the ability to achieve the widest range of on-the-go rate changes of any application system available. SureFire’s LiquiShift will allow for a flow increase of 6-8 times the minimum flow rate the system is configured for. In a scenario with a minimum rate of 10 GPA at 4 MPH, the maximum rate at 6 MPH would be 40-50 GPA (6-8 times the minimum rate).
You no longer have to narrow the range of your liquid prescriptions to get within the achievable range of a single orifice size. With 6-8 times flow capacity your agronomist is in the driver’s seat. When the analysis calls for 8 GPA in low-productive or areas with high residual nutrients, you will apply 8 GPA. When the analysis calls for 45 GPA in the high productive “black-soil” region of the field, you will apply 45 GPA. No longer will you be forced to over-apply in the poor performing areas.
Application Rate Changes from Field to Field
Never change another orifice. LiquiShift® utilizes metering tube to achieve uniform row-to-row accuracy and automatically switches between tubes to allow dramatic rate changes from field to field. Simply set the rate in your controller and LiquiShift® automatically chooses the proper metering tube.
Speed Changes/High Speed Planters
Faster application and/or planting speeds require larger flow ranges from your liquid application system. High-speed planters designed to work at 8-10 MPH impact fertilizer flow rates by a factor 1.5-2. High-speed liquid applicators and side dress machines create a similar scenario. LiquiShift® is ideal for all of these high speed scenarios.
SureFire Ag released the Marksman, a custom fertigation and chemigation system, in 2016 with a couple of goals in mind.
First, we wanted to increase accuracy by allowing you to see how much was being applied. With the Marksman, you no longer have to draw a line on your tank, and come back in an hour to see if your tank level dropped the right amount, hoping you have applied the correct rate. Most fertigation pumps rely on a theoretical flow based on a pump stroke setting. The Marksman however is a systems approach with the same reliability SureFire is known for in the mobile application world. With the Marksman, you set it and forget it. Read more…
Order early and save with our Early Order Program now through August 31, 2017. SureFire is offering specials on Fertilizer Application Systems for planters that will hit the field in spring of 2018.
When you are discussing your new planter, consider your fertilizer application needs at the same time. We’ll work with you to configure a system, schedule shipment in September and October and delay payment until later in the year. Ask your local SureFire Ag dealer if you qualify for the 2018 Early Order Program.
SureFire Liquid Fertilizer Systems are completely compatible and have the ability to be controlled by all major Ag platforms. Why add another controller to the cab when we can simply use the controller you already own? SureFire can work with you and your technology platform to make sure that you have what you need. We will provide the correct harness depending on which platform you have; you will receive everything your system needs to be successful including a high quality braided harness that will hold up better in the difficult Ag environment.
Now that your crops are planted and (hopefully) poppin’ up in rows, it’s time to prepare your SureFire Ag products for the off-season. In this blog, we’ll discuss winterization and off-season care of all SureFire Liquid Application Systems. Taking the time to complete these steps now will not only protect your systems, but it will also make next year’s planting season start-up go as smooth as possible.
To winterize your SureFire Ag liquid fertilizer application systems, please follow these key steps before you put the system in the shed for the off-season:
Side Dressing is a common method used to apply fertilizer after the crop has been planted. Depending on where you live, that application might be liquid or NH3 being applied between the rows. Either way, SureFire can provide the system to apply the fertilizer with great accuracy.
Our liquid systems feature our industry recognized PumpRight, a hydraulic driven diaphragm pump paired with our SureFire electromagnetic flow meter. The PumpRight pump is a positive displacement pump that allows us to have a consistent flow per revolution. Suction is no problem for the PumpRight, this self-priming pump has over 15’ of vertical lift. It is an oil lubricated pump, so running this pump dry won’t ruin any seals. The EMag flow meter has no moving parts, so no need to worry about taking apart your flow meter to see what got jammed in the turbine. The EMag flow meter compensates for different viscosity fertilizers. With a turbine meter, you should adjust the flow cal to expect consistent accuracy but most people don’t because of inconvenience.
SureFire Ag Systems has teamed up with John Deere Dealers in California and Arizona to introduce our systems to markets across the country. Last week we held SureFire Demo Days where we worked with the individual dealers to train their staff on our systems and had each dealer invite key customers in to see our products for the first time. We traveled from Yuma, AZ to Yuba City, CA and were fortunate to see virtually every crop in in the Southwest.
SureFire Ag is aggressively moving forward to create new products to drive the success of our clients in future years.
We are actively looking for applicants to fill Electrical and Computer Engineer and Web Programmer positions at SureFire Ag. We are committed to finding the right candidates and will hold rolling interviews until the position has been filled.
Marksman Precision Irrigation Injection from SureFire Ag is game changing technology for injecting fertilizer and chemicals in irrigation systems. Marksman provides growers, retailers, and consultants a line-up of new features not common in traditional fertigation and chemigation systems. Marksman increases accuracy, reduces labor, and provides accurate records of every application.
It’s just plain common sense to apply the field’s fertilizer and chemicals at the same time as irrigation. It cuts down on labor, time, and waste. Do just that with SureFire’s new Marksman Precision Irrigation Injection system.
This revolutionary product applies the fertilizers and chemicals needed for the crops directly through the center pivots as you irrigate. Not only does it save you a step, it increases accuracy, reduces labor, and provides complete and accurate records of every application. Marksman provides producers and retailers a complete set of features not common in most fertigation and chemigation systems.
SureFire Ag products employ pressure sensors in various places as a way to give you more information to ensure your application and use is in line with what you need. These sensors do not affect application, but rather, give you the information you need to determine if a change should be made to orifices or metering tubes. It is important for the sensors to provide correct readings; if you ever find the pressure sensor on your SureFire product not working use these steps to troubleshoot:
Using section control to divide your liquid or NH3 application into sections can help save on crop inputs by turning off sections as you cross into headlands or into already-applied areas. Troubleshooting an electric valve that is not working is not difficult. With a voltmeter and a few minutes, you should be able to diagnose the problem and come up with a solution to get your rig going.
As you test the section valves on SureFire Ag products, occasionally you’ll run across one that will not turn or move. If this happens, follow this guide for steps to help you determine the problem and troubleshoot to get you back up and running.
Around the country as farmers are beginning their planting and fertilizing for spring the question sometimes comes up regarding fluctuations in the application rates as they go across the field. This could be the result of a few things. This blog will walk you through the steps to identify the cause of the bounces in rates and how to correct things to ensure you’re applying uniform product across the field.
First, some bouncing in rates occurs all the time. Many controllers don’t show this on the screen because of a feature commonly known as Rate Smoothing. When Rate Smoothing is turned on, if the actual Applied Rate is within the Rate Smoothing % bounds, the controller shows the Applied Rate as being locked on to the Target Rate. Read more…
All SureFire pumps are paired with an electromagnetic flowmeter; these devices are designed to ensure the rate of flow of fertilizer, or other product, passing through SureFire pumps is distributed at the correct flow. These meters allow for extreme accuracy and fewer problems, making them an integral component of a SureFire system. Unlike a traditional turbine-type meter, the electromagnetic flowmeter has no moving parts to wear or jam. The liquid is measured as it flows through the inner tube between two electrodes. The beauty of these flowmeters is once the meter has been calibrated, it will be accurate for any other conductive liquid, without the need for recalibration as the density or viscosity of the product changes.
In the image on the left, you can see the SureFire electromagnetic flowmeter on a Tower 110 system.
Help! My hydraulic pump won’t turn. If you find yourself in this situation, the SureFire Ag support team is here to help.
There are two components involved in making the hydraulic pump run—hydraulic and electric. There must be hydraulic oil going through the valve block to turn the hydraulic motor to turn the pump. In normal application mode, the PWM signal from the controller energizes the solenoid on the valve block. This causes the proportional valve that is located inside the solenoid to open, allowing hydraulic oil to flow, which turns the pump. If the pump is not turning, we must determine which part of the system is not functioning as it should. Use this guide to help you troubleshoot and check for issues. Refer to the manuals for each controller at the end of the blog for further help.
As you begin to get your systems in place for a successful spring planting season, some of the most common questions the SureFire Ag team receives are about electric pumps. In order to save you time and frustration, this blog will serve to answer some of the common questions.
EPD Flashing Light Error Codes
EPD stands for electric pump driver. It serves as the control system and operating system for your pump. If your system is operating properly, there should be a steady blinking light in the middle of the display when pumps are off. If the LED light is flashing four times, then pausing, the EPD has tripped due to a low voltage condition. Unplug the Power Supply to the EPD to reset. If the condition persists, check Power Supply cables from battery to EPD to ensure a solid connection and viable electrical path. It is best to check the voltage under load. Voltage may appear normal when the pumps are off, but if there are connection or harness issues there may not be sufficient voltage under load conditions. There should be 11-12 volts at the point where the EPD connects to the battery power harness; lower voltage could result in a flashing light error. If the voltage drops too much under a load, check all the pins and connectors for something that might be loose, corroded, or not making good contact. Be sure the power harness goes directly to the battery, as power strips may not be able to provide the current needed to run the electric pumps. Be sure the harnesses have wires of sufficient size. 6 AWG or 8 AWG will be needed, especially for longer runs. Also, when testing the system, be sure the tractor is running. The pumps will draw a battery down quickly and encounter low voltage problems.
Spring is barreling down on us and chances are you’re in the thick of pre-season prep work in order to hit the ground running for planting and fertilization. As you begin to set up and test your SureFire Ag products, we recommend you begin testing with water first.
Using water, as opposed to fertilizer, in your initial set-up is crucial to test for leaks. Depending on the system you are running, there can be hundreds of fittings, clamps, and other potential exit points that may need to be addressed before you begin using the system in the field with product.
Tighten all hose clamps and push the tube in every QuickConnect fitting. Loose clamps or improperly seated QuickConnects may not always show up as leaks, but they can be a source of air getting into the system. Air in the system can cause unstable flowmeter readings and can contribute to check valves not holding.
SureFire Ag is committed to supporting our customers and products through the entire partnership. We believe in providing you not only solutions, but reliable communication and excellent service as well. Whether it is a follow up phone call or an on-site install, the SureFire team has you covered. We pride ourselves on developing relationships with our customers and strive to not only meet your expectations —but to exceed them.
Nitrogen management in agriculture is a hot topic today. Nitrogen is being discussed from practically every perspective:
- Lawsuits over runoff nitrogen in Iowa drinking water.
- OSHA rules (postponed for now) that would have a dramatic effect on the anhydrous ammonia market and availability.
- Additional knowledge from researchers, both public and private, on precisely how much and when crops need nitrogen.
- Precision ag services using a variety of new technology, from remote sensors on drones to super accurate weather, to generate prescription maps for nitrogen application.
- New and old nitrogen stabilizing products on the market that can provide farmers a positive return on investment while also benefiting the environment.
SureFire Ag team members have been traveling the country to farm shows, clinics, and training events. We have met many new potential customers, so we thought we would introduce ourselves and give you a bit of company history. SureFire Ag Systems was founded in August 2007 by Blaine and Erin Ginther, Josh and Lisa Wolters, and Matt Wolters. At that time, GPS technology was being rapidly adopted by many farmers. Along with the GPS technology, an opportunity existed to help producers more precisely apply fertilizer, chemical, seed and other crop inputs. SureFire was created to help producers become more efficient by applying the right product, in the right place, at the right rate.
Nathan Franklin, a local Rawlins and Thomas County farmer, was recently recognized for having the highest yield in Kansas in the National Corn Growers Association annual contest with a remarkable yield of 305.8542 bushels per acre. He has entered a total of five times, beginning in 2011; this year marks the first time he won top honors.
SureFire Ag Systems is heading to the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association’s Cropping Systems Conference in Kennewick, Washington January 10-11, 2017. This conference is geared towards educating farmers about reducing input costs in farming operations by networking with other progressive farmers, industry experts, and researchers on the latest technology, equipment and strategies to improve farming. SureFire Ag will be in booths 17 and 18 at the show presenting how they can do just that with our fertilizer systems.
SureFire Ag is heading to the Potato Expo 2017 in San Francisco January 4-6, 2017! Bryan Gran, Regional Territory Manager of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, and Arizona will be manning the booth.
SureFire will be introducing one of it’s newest systems that has the potential to revolutionize the potato farming industry, the Marksman Irrigation Injection System. This automatic flow control injection system brings SureFire Ag technology proven in mobile applications, to pivot irrigation systems, effectively allowing farmers to accomplish two important tasks concurrently.
Matt Wolters, SureFire’s QuickDraw Product Manager, recently attended the 50th Annual National Agricultural Aviation Association Convention & Exposition in Long Beach, California. Pilots and aerial spraying company owners from across the country attended to learn and share industry news and updates. SureFire Ag hosted a booth in the trade show and had the opportunity to demonstrate how the QuickDraw system can make aerial spray operations more efficient and accurate.
As you spend this winter in your shop preparing for the upcoming spring planting season, consider adding a SureFire QuickDraw Max or QuickDraw Light to your equipment lineup. This product attaches to your spraying system and dramatically increases your efficiency and accuracy in crop spraying.
The SureFire Ag Product Catalog provides our customers and partners with a comprehensive look at our product lineup. The 2017 catalog is packed full of new product lines and exciting updates; you’ll find informative descriptions of all SureFire Ag products, as well as testimonials, and information about SureFire Ag.
This publication details each of our unique fertilizer application and control systems, what they are designed for and how they can help make your operation more efficient and productive. The products in this catalog include LiquiShift Variable Rate Technology, the Sentinel Liquid Row Monitor, the Torpedo Precision Anhydrous Ammonia Systems, the Spartan Direct Injection System, and the Catalyst Micro Volume Application System
The SureFire Ag Product Catalog is completely available online. You can flip through it right now on your computer screen by clicking here. Use the options at the bottom right of your screen to switch pages and if you want to zoom in on a particular image or description, simply double-click the area you would enlarged. Please feel free to share this blog post and the SureFire Product Catalog with any friends or family who are interested.
If you’d like a printed copy of the SureFire Ag catalog mailed to you or would like a stack of them for your shop or store, please contact us. For more information any of the SureFire Ag agriculture technology systems, please contact us here.
With the recent introduction of the Rate Controller 2000 and subsequent updates John Deere has made a significant upgrade to their application control systems. This new JD Rate Controller allows for control of up to 5 liquid, anhydrous, and dry products as well as seed rate control for air drills. In total the JDRC 2000 can control up to 4 products to be documented, and a fifth product for independent control. Other advantages to the JDRC 2000 is the ability to control more implement sections, an easy conversion from Deere’s previous single product rate controller, and an improved user experience.
As I sit down to write this, it has been nearly 10 years since starting SureFire Ag and four years since SureFire Electronics. You know the adage about time flying when you’re having fun. It most certainly has been fun, and challenging of course, but if I had to use one word to describe it I’d say it has been inspiring.
In the beginning, our first and foremost goal was to make a good living and raise our families in our hometown of Atwood, Kansas. As founders of SureFire we’ve all spent time away from home gaining valuable experience. I believe our roots, and those outside experiences, have given us a sense of perspective and vision. I’d like to think it’s a little bit like the pioneering spirit that our ancestors had when they settled this area, and like our fore-bearers, we are committed to building something that endures and leaves a legacy.
SureFire Ag has long been committed to educating our customers in order to help improve efficiency and productivity. It is our mission to provide farmers with custom, compatible and complete solutions for the application of crop inputs. To accomplish this goal, our team has spent years doing this both in person and over the phone; but in order to further this goal, we’ve started a blog! Through this new platform, we will be sharing the valuable information and the experience we’ve garnered over the years to help our clients be better positioned to use our products and compete in this dynamic market.
If you are looking to control your liquid application with the same precision as your seed, the SureFire PumpRight is the ideal solution. With four different sizes offered, a SureFire application control expert can help you choose the one that is right for your needs, up to 55 GPM. Key features include:
Be prepared for spring fertilizing with these Surefire tips for your fertilization system:
1. Load the tank with 100-200 gallons of water. Utilize the stationary/manual operation procedure for your controller. Allow the pump(s) to run long enough to thoroughly flush the system of any solids that may have accumulated over winter.
2. Inspect the system for any leaks.
3. Use simulated rate and speed mode to ensure the system is working correctly. Keep in mind that water is thinner and weighs less than fertilizer and will result in significantly lower pressures than when fertilizer is pumped. If not all check valves open initially, increase your simulated rate until you reach a minimum of twice the cracking pressure of your check valves. (SureFire check valves with a black cap=10 lbs, with a blue cap=4lbs)
4. Pump any remaining water from the tank, fill with fertilizer, and you are ready to head to the field.
5. For more specific information about operating your SureFire System, see our support page for your specific control platform.
In order to prepare for the onset of winter and colder temperatures, please winterize your SureFire equipment by:
- Flush your SureFire System with sufficient water to ensure all fertilizer and/or chemical is purged. This typically requires 50 to 150 gallons of water. Ensuring that all fertilizer is flushed out will prevent salt-out and crystallization over the winter. If not flushed properly this can result in significant frustration the following spring with plugging orifices, metering tubes, filters, and cracking pumps.
- Circulate RV Antifreeze, or specific winterization flush solution, through the entire system. Once all of the components are full, stop pumping, leaving antifreeze in the system. The antifreeze in the system prevents seals, gaskets, and pump diaphragms from being exposed to dry winter air resulting in significantly increased life. For more information on how to run your controller while sitting still, see our support page for your specific controller.
SureFire Ag systems are compatible with John Deere Rate Control, Ag Leader, Trimble, Raven, Micro-Trak, Dickey John, Topcon, Agco, and Case. The integration of a SureFire system into a multi-function platform is a seamless process. Our technical manuals provide detailed instructions to get you running in no time.