In late June, SeedMaster’s president, Norbert Beaujot, stood in front of a group of farmers and made a brief presentation on the brand’s history during a field day at the company’s research farm in Southeast Saskatchewan. In any similar future presentation, 2015 may have to be highlighted as another important year for the company, which has just gone through a rebranding exercise. That has resulted in the firm adopting a new corporate image, which was unveiled at Canada’s Farm Progress Show a week earlier.
According to Cory Beaujot, SeedMaster’s marketing manager, the new brand logo, which includes a stylized cube-shaped image with the company initials embedded in it, reflects the changes that have taken place in the last decade in dry-land, no-till seeding. The previous drill opener graphic that had been the brand logo no longer reflects the focus of corporate R&D in SeedMaster management’s view.
The independently linked opener has become an industry standard and the image of it on corporate logos no longer sets the brand apart, as Cory describes it. The challenges, as he sees them, have moved beyond seed placement issues and now lay in technologies that advance precision agriculture in other ways.
“It (the old logo) didn’t represent us in the bigger picture, the higher view,” he said. “From product development, metering technology, electronics and hydraulics, all of that stuff wasn’t fully represented with the logo. So we revised it.”
Along with the new look, the company had new product options to talk about which demonstrated that new focus on other technologies.
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To appeal to producers who are concerned with soil compaction and floatation problems, SeedMaster toolbars and the Nova seed carts are now available with track systems rather than tires. The Camoplast track option is available as a replacement for standard tires and will add about $29,000 to the purchase price of a Nova seed cart and about $39,000 to toolbars.
The company also revealed this month it has been working with its digital partner, Raven Industries, to introduce an ISOBUS-compatible control system, which will be available for 2016. That will allow producers to simply connect one cable into any standard ISOBUS plug on the back of a tractor and use any brand’s virtual terminal (monitor) to control drill features, eliminating the need for wiring in a dedicated, in-cab drill monitor.
“It’s customer driven demand to go into the ISO world,” said Tim Ottenbreit, product development specialist. “Over the last several months we’ve been working with Raven Industries to develop an ISO system. The long and short of it is we should be able to back up any color tractor, connect to the ISO plug on the back of the tractor and pull up our screens up on their VT (virtual terminal) in the tractor.”
To emphasize that fact, SeedMaster product reps had a drill hooked up to a display arrangement that used one of John Deere’s 2630 terminals.
“What we’re doing is showing the VT side of the 2630 terminal,” Ottenbreit added. “You could run this (drill) with your IntelliView (NH), Pro 700 (Case IH/Trimble), your X30 VT, Outback has a VT on their monitor, and the list goes on and on.”
If you choose to use your tractor’s own terminal rather than purchase a dedicated Raven drill monitor, you can take advantage of the convenience of using a familiar terminal and save some money by reducing your investment costs.
“You’ll see some cost savings for sure,” said Kinch.
But the move to ISOBUS compatibility comes with a trade off. It may mean losing some features, which ISOBUS virtual terminals aren’t yet capable of controlling.
“When you move to ISO, you lose a lit bit of the features,” confirmed Ottenbreit. “But you gain a lot of (other) features at the same time. That’s why we’re moving slowly. We have so many awesome features on our tanks now, we want to make sure we keep them when we move into the ISO world.”
“That’s one of the handicaps when you’re the first to come out with new ideas,” added Norbert Beaujot. “There is no technology out there to support the ideas. That’s where ISO falls behind a bit. If you’re the first out with something new, it might not (yet) be available on the ISO platform.”
With SeedMaster’s initial ISOBUS compatible offering, most system features will be available, but not all.
“We’re going to have all of our drill features plus control one tank on frame,” added Ottenbreit. “The initial step into it is control one product and then we’ll move from there.”
For producers who already own a SeedMaster drill and want to move to ISOBUS compatibility, the company expects to be able to make retrofit kits available, but each one will have to be tailored to the particular features a drill has and a producer’s needs.
“We will (be able to offer ISOBUS upgrades) for pretty much any toolbar out there, depending what features you want,” said Ottenbreit.
“We’re really happy to offer this for our dealers,” said Kinch. “The dealers know their (main brand) monitors and, like farmers, want to use something they know and are comfortable with. This is going to help them provide the support they need to for us.”