Garret Holler, Precision Ag Specialist
When faced with challenges, nothing stirs the Precision Ag experts at the Innovation Center more than hearing the words, “that can’t be done.” When it comes to Precision Ag, that phrase is heard often, particularly when it comes to working with multiple makes and models of equipment, and upgrades that change as quickly as the seasons. Garret Holler, one of the Innovation Center’s Precision Ag Specialists, doesn’t mind hearing “that can’t be done.” In fact, he loves to prove people wrong by taking on a challenge and finding ways to make things work.
From a young age, Garret was fascinated by technology. Garret says, “I was that little kid who took apart everything in his parents’ house just to figure it out, and then put it back together.” His natural curiosity sparked a career interest, and Garret went on to work in engineering, computers, and equipment modification. Garret then made the transition to agriculture and worked at a cooperative as an applicator and field operator. With his strong technical background and interest in problem solving, Garret quickly became a valuable asset on the Precision Ag team at the Innovation Center.
Last year, Garret tackled a big challenge on one of the largest pieces of machinery serviced at the Innovation Center: a TerraGator. The average TerraGator has a 1,200-pound-to-the-acre range and runs at about 8 miles-per-hour. Garret was determined to prove that a TerraGator could work more efficiently, covering more ground in less time. Garret adds, “We wanted to build the most efficient machine that we could use any time of the year, and we wanted to get more done in the field than anybody else possibly could.”
Garret worked with engineers over several months to improve the TerraGator’s performance, but nobody was able to help him develop a system like he envisioned – and eventually he was told it was an impossible task. “I take being told I can’t do something as a personal challenge. I’ve never been one to back down from a test, an opportunity, or a chance to prove to myself that I can come up with a solution even though nobody else has been able to.”
So Garret took matters into his own hands. “It took a lot of research and development to build everything that we’d need to make the machine work, including designing custom circuitry.”
Garret was so successful with the TerraGator project that the Innovation Center team also upgraded the monitoring systems in two other TerraGators and turned them into true 3-bin machines by installing larger chassis. These three custom machines now run about 1,200-1,300 pounds at 20-21 miles-per-hour and are the most efficient TerraGators out there – and they’re in high demand. The Innovation Center has been repeatedly asked about the availability of the custom TerraGators, but they are currently only available for internal use and customer application.
Garret explains the results: “The operator who spearheaded the request for this modification is absolutely in love with his machine. The other day he called me just as giddy as can be; you could hear the enthusiasm in his voice and what it had accomplished for him. To get the work done on a day when you’re up against the weather and you have a lot to get done – it’s just astounding.”
Garret works with our growers to understand their specific needs and to look for opportunities where they can improve their efficiency. If you’re looking to boost the performance in your operation, Garret Holler and the team at the Innovation Center are up for the challenge. Give us a call today to talk about what challenges you’ve been told ‘can’t happen’ and we’ll see if we can prove them wrong.