Precision FarmingPreci­sion as a mission

Customers of agri­cul­tural contractor Flaskamp have been bene­fiting from the advan­tages of preci­sion farming for over 10 years. The company supports simple entry level oper­a­tions as well as complex preci­sion farming tasks.

There is a lot of activity on contractor Flaskamp’s exten­sive premises in Rheda-Wieden­brück (Northern Germany), but it is not hectic. “We have a few days to take a breather between the barley and wheat harvest,” explains Jannik Brüg­ger­shemke. He came to Flaskamp as a tempo­rary worker and now supports the owner Daniel Grote­heide – working mainly in the manage­ment team’s spacious and modern office.

Jannik Brüg­ger­shemke

We offer our customers holistic concepts.

Jannik Brüg­ger­shemke

Demand for yield Mapping

The Flaskamp contracting busi­ness was founded in 1911. In addi­tion to agri­cul­tural and munic­ipal services, it sells agri­cul­tural inputs, and offers soil analysis and agro­nomic advice. “We are not classic machinery contrac­tors, instead we offer our customers a holistic approach,” says Mr Brüg­ger­shemke.

In addi­tion to the loca­tion in Rheda-Wieden­brück, the company has another branch in Könnern (Eastern Germany). Although the number of customers is rela­tively low, Flaskamp manages large areas for them.

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It was this branch’s customers who first asked for yield mapping, and so initi­ated the purchase of the first near-infrared (NIR) sensors for forage harvesters more than 10 years ago. From there, preci­sion farming slowly spread to the tradi­tion­ally smaller-scale farms in the contractor’s home­land.

Moni­toring success

For Mr Brüg­ger­shemke, preci­sion farming starts with the guid­ance system. After all, the best map doesn’t help if you do not know your exact posi­tion. In addi­tion, all the customers’ fields – several thou­sand in total – are stored in the MyJohn­Deere portal. All the work done for a customer is docu­mented and the corre­sponding site-specific agro­nomic data are avail­able to the contractor an customer. Preci­sion farming tasks include sowing maize, sugar beet and pota­toes, as well as spreading lime, mineral fertilisers and slurry.

When harvesting grass, maize, and cereals, both the yield and quality are recorded for each field. “This means we have success moni­toring and basic infor­ma­tion for creating new appli­ca­tion maps,” says Mr Brüg­ger­shemke. In addi­tion, biomass maps, soil sample analysis and, finally, the farmer’s knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence go towards creating appli­ca­tion maps – regard­less of the task at hand.

The basic settings for each imple­ment are stored on a master USB stick and avail­able on all of contractor Flaskamp’s trac­tors.


precisely drilled maize  

Not every­body demands preci­sion farming. However, for many customers planting maize is a first step as it’s usually carried out by contrac­tors. Mr Brüm­mer­shemke esti­mates that 60% of customers precison drill their maize, but only 20% do so with their own machines.

Flaskamp contrac­tors preci­sion drilling maize at Stefan Vogelsang’s farm.


Farmer and Contractor working hand in hand

One of the customers who works closely with Mr Brüg­ger­shemke and his team is Stefan Vogel­sang. He manages a 160ha mixed farm with dairy cows and pigs. He outsources maize sowing to the contractor, because buying his own maize drill would not pay off. He also uses Flaskamp for harvesting grain and all of his forage.

Before harvest, all self-propelled forage harvesters are thor­oughly serviced.

Mr Vogel­sang creates the appli­ca­tion maps for sowing maize with seedbed fertilisers using yield and biomass maps from the previous years, as well as soil type maps and soil nutrient analyses. Where the soil has a high propor­tion of clay, it does not always create a fine and crumbly tilth, so the seed rate is increased in these areas. On the other hand, on sandy soils there is often not enough water avail­able. To reduce compe­ti­tion for water among indi­vidual plants the seed rate is reduced accord­ingly.

precise docu­men­ta­tion

Since Mr Vogel­sang also uses John Deere’s Oper­a­tions Centre, the data can be easily exchanged between the two compa­nies. However, before the data is forwarded to the tractor, Mr Brüg­ger­shemke takes a final careful look to check if all the data is correct, to ensure smooth sowing. Having precise data for all his tasks and appli­ca­tion rates avail­able is partic­u­larly bene­fi­cial for Mr Vogel­sang, since he serves as model farmer under his state’s Water Frame­work Direc­tive, which relies on precise docu­men­ta­tion and subse­quent eval­u­a­tion. 

Support from the dealer

Creating fields and appli­ca­tion maps in the Oper­a­tions Centre, trans­fer­ring data and setting up and oper­ating vari­able rate imple­ments requires expe­ri­ence. Florian Schalück from the John Deere dealer Deppe & Stücker actively supports his customers in all these tasks. He offers various training classes in which both contractor employees and inter­ested customers can learn how to use the John Deere display, the MyJohn­Deere portal and vari­able rate machines.

In addi­tion, Messrs Schalück and Brüg­ger­shemke have further opti­mised work­flows. For example, the basic settings and assign­ment of selec­tive control valves in the tractor cab are defined once for each imple­ment and saved on a master USB stick. When a new tractor arrives, these basic settings are trans­ferred imme­di­ately. They also colour code hydraulic hoses using cable ties, making it much easier for employees to assign them to the control valves when coupling.