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Precision Terrain Solutions Podcast

Podcast Ep. 98, Precision Terrain Solutions

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Precision Terrain Solutions developed T3RRA Cutta™ (T3C) and T3RRA Design™ (T3D) to specifically address land forming problems and generate solutions. T3C & T3D enhance and extend John Deere iGrade™ and together, they offer a complete land forming solution for contractors and farmers.

T3RRA Cutta™ is the in-cab land forming software which operates as a stand-alone data collection, processing, and design program. T3RRA Design™ is a fully-featured desktop software for the more complicated land forming designs and a companion product to T3C.

In this episode, Gwen Brittain, US and Canadian Operations Manager for Precision Terrain Solutions, joins host Tony Kramer to discuss T3RRA Cutta in depth.

Related Episode: SureFire Ag Systems, Part 1 & Surefire Ag Systems, Part 2

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Episode Transcript: 

Tony: Every day, there are phenomenal advancements being made in the field of agriculture technology. RDO Equipment Company is a leader in agriculture equipment and precision agriculture technology. It's here with industry experts to bring you the latest news and information from RDO and John Deere. Thanks for joining us on the Agriculture Technology Podcast. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 98. Today, we are going to be talking about Tara Software.

Before we dive into the show, please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast if you haven't already. You can subscribe to the show on the many podcasting apps that we're streaming this to such as Apple's podcast app, we have it on Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud, as well as many others. While you're there, drop us a review. We'd love to hear what you think about the show. Lastly, make sure to follow RDO Equipment Company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube.

You can also follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK. Now with that, let's get back to the show. I'm really excited to welcome Gwen Brittain, who is the US and Canadian Operations Manager for Precision Terrain Solutions. Thanks for joining us on the show today, Gwen. To get started, I'd like to hear a little bit more about you and your background and how you got involved in this industry.

Gwen Brittain: Thank you, Tony, for having me on today. I really appreciate this opportunity to discuss land forming and water management with you. I wanted to give a special shout out to my dirt movers today out there working in the trenches. Be safe. I started in the land forming business really back when I was selling tractor-pulled scrapers. We, my husband and I, own a farm and Stuttgart, and we needed our land leveled.

We had a company come in, a contractor, and level our ground. We definitely saw a difference in our yields and our efficiency in our farm, so that really spiked more interest. As I started meeting people in the dirt moving community and my growers who move their own dirt, I worked with Stu Pocknee with, at the time, Precision Cropping Technologies. They asked me to come on board, and I agreed, and I have never looked back. It's great. I love the technology side of the land forming business. I get to work with all the John Deere dealers in the United States and Canada who are a great support for our product.

Tony: It's cool that you experienced it firsthand on your farm down in Arkansas and it spiked your interest and got you going in the land forming industry. You had talked about Stu Pocknee who introduced you to where you are today. The company used to be called Precision Cropping Technologies. Now, it's called Precision Terrain Solutions. Tell us a little bit about that company, where they started, and how it got to what it is today.

Gwen: Okay. Precision Cropping Technology started by Andrew Smart, otherwise known as "Smarty," and, of course, he's still out there today providing great agronomy services. He was developing the software with Stu for land forming. It became so overwhelming actually for just one company, they decided to divide it into two. That's when Precision Terrain Solutions was formed. That was back in 2015.

Then, I came on board right at the beginning of 2016 and established an office here for feet on the ground and for support for the United States and Canada. We have released now T3RRA Cutta 2, last December, which is our next version of T3RRA Cutta, which is basically two years of a wishlist put together from our users. We have built the software from feedback, from the users and their needs. This is a global company. Our software is used on many different farms and applications.

We try to provide a tool for everyone that is out there for water management on their farm. Also, our contractors, of course, they have different scenarios where they might be doing one day, a full field land forming, the next day, ditching, and possibly then going into civil work. Our software can take you just from the basics all the way up to something more complicated, a complicated engineering design.

Tony: You had mentioned that you guys, Precision Terrain Solutions, you are a global company. Where do you work? You cover the United States and Australia. You have a number of other people, and I believe the home office is in Australia.

Gwen: Yes, the home office is in Toowoomba.

Tony: Interesting. You guys cover a lot of the world. There's dirt being moved all over in construction, agriculture, everything. You had brought up the new software, the new version of the software T3RRA Cutta, now T3RRA Cutta 2. Let's dive in a little deeper to that, talk about who the target market is, what T3RRA Cutta can do, and what those product offerings are.

Precision Terrain Solutions - Podcast quote

Gwen:
Well, water management is essential in farming. It can provide the biggest payback. We want to offer a solution for every farming operation and a way of managing their water. Whether they're irrigating or they're just relying on Mother Nature to bring in the water, we want to provide a way for them to maximize that water and be sure that they are able to find a good balance. If they get too much water, we want to get it off in an efficient manner.

If they don't have enough water, they're able to conserve every drop. With the land forming, it can, for a full field, put maybe a gentle slope to the ground to where the water leaves without causing much erosion. Then, you want to, also for your dishes, for them to be able to flow in an even manner and that you don't have ponding and pooling. Water management for farming is something that you see globally, and everyone handles it differently.

If you're using land forming to help you with your water management, you're basically cutting the highs and filling the lows, whether it's across the whole field or in a ditch. Our software, T3RRA Cutta 1, did this in a very efficient manner. It's powerful software, but there were people who were just wanting more. We accumulated this wishlist together. One of the main things they wanted was to see an as-applied map.

That's what we've incorporated in T3RRA Cutta 2 so that it's real-time progress. It shows how much you've cut, what's left to cut. Your map changes as you travel. Your cut/fill map, the neutral color, will increase more and more. That way, you know when you're finished. Everything is to the design level when you're finished. You have a profile now of the drains as you're driving.

It is important for them to be able to see ahead, to see what maybe big cuts are coming up, which brings me to the next tool that we added, which is our blade limiting tool, so that you can go in and you can say, "I only want to cut a manageable amount on each pass." You can say, "I want to cut one or two inches each pass," and it will count your passes and it will lower the blade at each pass until you reach your design height. That way, you're not bogging down the equipment.

Those are some of the two highlights from our new software, but we've added so much to it. We've added the ability to manipulate your regions more. You can go in and merge regions so that you have a nonlinear line for your regions. You're able to also place in pattern drains so that you can have lateral lines placed at a certain distance apart. The list goes on and on. I think hands-on and demonstration is the best way to learn. We have the ability for all our dealers to go out in-field and do a full demo at any time for their growers.

Tony: That brings up a really great point. Demoing something like this, there's a lot that goes into it. What type of hardware or what technology is involved to run a system like T3RRA Cutta 2?

Gwen: For the controls, you need iGrade that controls the vertical height of your blade, and T3RRA Cutta takes over iGrade. You do need RTK. You need an RTK base and receiver. When you're out implementing, it's best to have your base within a mile, so that way, you get your good vertical accuracy. When you're surveying, you can have it further out. Other than that, some people are good with up to 12 miles out to their survey base or their tower for surveying, which leads me to the fact that now, you can bring in your elevation data collected during other applications as well into our software directly into T3RRA Cutta 2.

T3RRA Ditch was released in January. It also allows you to bring in your elevation data collected during other applications. As I travel and talk to growers, I realize that they may not know that they have this elevation data in their operation center. It's stored there and they need to make good use of it. They're able to bring it in and analyze their fields maybe during an off time, maybe during the winter months when it's slower, and use our rainfall simulator and see where the water is ponding and pooling and what they can do to help it get off the field and up their yields, the bottom line.

Tony: You had mentioned another software or another portion of the software, T3RRA Ditch, that just released in January. That's another thing that I really want to talk about. T3RRA Cutta or T3RRA Cutta 2 is the overall suite of software with absolutely everything, all of the offerings. Now, you offer a broke down version which would be T3RRA Ditch, which is-- Really, here in the Red River Valley, what we really focus on here is not so much the land forming but more so the surface ditches and the drainage in that matter. Let's talk a little bit about T3RRA Ditch and what that brings to the table.

Gwen: We listened to our users and our growers and the John Deere dealers up here in the Red River Valley. They were looking for a solution just for ditching. Although T3RRA Cutta does offer the ditching, it offers more tools that they, at the time, didn't feel like they needed. We separated out the ditching portion from T3RRA Cutta. That way, they can maybe start in just ditching, and if they decide in the future that they want to do more, then they can always upgrade to the full package.

If you have T3RRA Cutta, the full package, T3RRA Design comes with it which is our desktop software. That's when you can have more complicated designs, go in and do a little more analysis. Also, bring your ground into Google Earth so that you can look at it and see where the water's going to flow when it does leave your ground. I tell people that it's very important when they start thinking about moving dirt, whether it's for ditching, for a full field, or for subsurface tiling that they consider their water source, where their water will be coming from, and their outlet.

Those are very important when you're starting to make a plan. Where is it all going to go when it does leave the field? Where will it go then further from there? Is it going to go on the neighbor's property? [chuckles] They need to have a plan in mind. All of these tools we provide give them the ability to think it all through and decide what the best plan is for land forming on their property.

T3RRA Ditch offers the Red River Valley auto drains, which is where you can bring in your full field elevation data and let the software calculate where to place strains where the water is going to leave the low areas the most accurately. Then, you can take those lines that it creates and use them as guidance lines. We are compatible with gen four, so they're able to bring in these lines and auto-track them.

Then also use the iGrade and T3RRA Cutta to then do a full ditch project so they can go in and clean it out, maintain it, or put in a new ditch where they want one to go. We try to give everyone all the options they need because everyone moves dirt differently. I always say dirt moving is an art form. There's never one right way to do it. It's the way you need to do it and how it's going to benefit you the most.

Tony: Absolutely. There's never a one size fits all. It's definitely different for every operation out there, especially across the country and the globe, everybody does it differently. You had talked about bringing in those elevation maps. One of the things that I thought was really neat is there's many different ways to do that. One of them is just connecting directly with the operation center and pulling those elevation maps in. You can also do it in a more traditional manner too, correct?

Precision Terrain Solutions - Quote 2

Gwen:
Correct. You can have your elevation data in the RCD folder that is either saved on your computer or on a flash drive. You can bring that in. You can also bring in any Surface Water Pro elevation data that you want to. You can bring in a CSV file directly in that maybe you've saved to Alpha Apex. There's a lot of ways to bring in your elevation data into T3RRA Cutta.

We're compatible with the files from the John Deere Operation Center. If you have your username and password, it will just redirect you to log in, and then it will start filling in all of your orgs. You can pick your farm, you can pick your application. We tell people to pick an application where their receiver height stays at a constant height. That's usually planning tillage. It varies from region to region. Then, you can use this elevation data to make a plan for your farm.

Tony: Also, with that elevation data, you are also compatible with a couple of the other GPS systems out there too. Is that correct?

Gwen: You can bring in data that's been collected with drones, with LIDAR, with some of our competitive software out there for land forming. You can bring that in. We have tried to make our software compatible with just about everything out there anybody can throw at us. That way, they can have values still in some surveys that they've already completed or designs they've already completed. They can use it in our software to go out and move either a full field or ditching or do civil work, have people who maximize the software to its fullest extent and then some that just use the basic tools.

Tony: Talking about all of the different tools that are offered, another one that I want to touch on here is T3RRA plane. Let's talk a little bit about that and what that offers a customer.

Gwen: Well, there are some people who still use laser systems. They are very accurate but they do have difficulties in range. They have a much shorter range than GPS. They are affected by weather, by wind and dust, you will have to stop working at times. What we provide with T3RRA plane is the ability for these people who own laser systems to go out and survey and create a design.

Then, they won't be able to implement the design, but with GPS and iGrade, because that's something they haven't invested in yet but might in the future, they can go out and drive on this cut fill map that they've created using their laser control system. They're also able to print out their cut fill maps. It enables them to take more control over their surveying and their designing, and then their cut fill maps. Then, in the future, if they want to transition into a GPS system, it's an easy transition. They've learned the software and then they just transition into the full T3RRA Cutta.

Tony: It definitely sounds like the T3RRA software, everything, the solution that Precision Terrain Solutions offers is really something for everything or something for everybody. You did mention that, Gwen, that whether it's somebody that's wanting to purchase the full suite of software in T3RRA Cutta or if they're very similar to here in the Red River Valley, somebody that's just looking for maybe a ditching solution so they go along with T3RRA Ditch, the really neat thing is is if you do go and you purchase T3RRA Ditch, all of the hardware needed is all the same with the RTK receivers, everything.

Then, they have the ability to just upgrade software. They don't have to buy a completely different software. They just can upgrade to T3RRA Cutta, which is a really neat offering there. The last thing I wanted to touch on, and there's maybe a few people out there that have seen it on the operation center, but you guys did offer some T3RRA tools within the operations center. That is all available within the T3RRA Cutta software, correct?

Gwen: Correct, yes. You would find it in the more tools section in the operations center, T3RRA Tools. There are many offerings there. You can access them with an annual subscription. You have T3rra Paint. You also have a conversion tool, a way for you to make your data that you've collected in the operation center into a value to you. You've collected it. You can bring it into T3rra 3D, create a surface, use the rainfall simulator, and then possibly put in some drains. You can export some guidance lines from there. There are some offerings there for people who want to use them. They just need to look us up. They'll find us at tools.t3rra.com.

Tony: I know you have so many success stories out there from anybody you've worked with. You've worked with a number of customers and dealerships. You talked about working with all the John Deere dealerships in the United States and Canada. Can you share just a brief success story with us that really has put a smile on your face at the end of the day?

Gwen: Absolutely. There's actually so many because I get great satisfaction when I talk to a farmer and they tell me that the software has helped them in their farming operation overcome the obstacles they have faced as far as managing their water, and that they have seen an increase in their yields. We would love to see everyone benefit from it, but some benefit more than others depending on how they use it. I have growers just across the United States and Canada that I have been able to visit with one-on-one.

They tell me that when they brought their elevation data in, especially like from the ops center and just to look at it, it gave them a clearer view of what they needed to do. They were guessing before. Some people think that eyeballing it works, but usually, it doesn't. They need to be able to bring that data in, look at it in 3D, use our rainfall simulator, and make a plan. I have a grower in North Carolina who started using the software just around the time that I started with the company.

I've watched him progress with it. He would tell his workers when they're harvesting to drop a flag anytime the yield would get below a certain amount. Then, take that data and those maps where they have the flags where the yield dropped, compare it to the elevation data they collected, see where these problems are, and then go in with the T3RRA software and clean out ditches, create a ditch from a low area to make it drain and also do some full-field land forming.

He said he wants his yields across acre to acre to be the same, to be consistent. T3RRA software has definitely done that for him. It's very rewarding when I travel to talk to the users. I'm always wanting to hear stories. If anyone wants to send one out to me, I'd love to hear about it.

Tony: Yes. You people can connect with you on Twitter, correct? What is your Twitter handle?

Gwen: T3rrausa, T-3-R-R-A-U-S-A, by the way.

Tony: That's it. That's a unique one, yes. T3rra, T-3-R-R-A is how t3rra is spelled. Where can people go? Who can they talk to to learn more about T3RRA software and everything that you guys offer?

Gwen: Well, they need to talk to their local John Deere dealer because our software is sold and supported exclusively through John Deere. Number one, talk to them. Then, if they, for whatever reason, are not familiar with us, because we've tried to get the word out, have them call me directly and shoot me an email, or my phone number is right there on the internet on our website at pts-ag.com. You're able to connect with us one-on-one at times, and then I will find your John Deere dealer that you can buy the software through, and they'll provide their extraordinary support like always.

Tony: Like you said, Gwen, land-forming, dirt-moving, there's definitely an art to it. You talked in your success story, some of those guys that have been doing it, they've been eyeballing it for years. Now, there is so much when it comes to technology and softwares, things that can help do that, no different than anything else in the ag industry. I want to thank you very much for sitting down with me today and going through this and talking about something-- I can tell you are very passionate about the land forming. It's really neat to hear your experiences and what you guys offer with T3RRA software.

Gwen: Thank you, Tony, for having me. I appreciate being able to be on here. Once again, a shout out to my dirt movers out there in the trenches working. Everyone, be safe.

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