Easy And Upgradeable

EZ-Guide 500 Trimble

“We used to think we had a demographic for the end-user of our product,” says Jeff Farrar, North America sales manager for Outback Guidance. “That demographic has blown up this last year.” Indeed, growers and dealers continue to enter the GPS guidance world at all levels.

Marlin Melander, marketing manager, Raven Flow Controls, says “manufacturers are starting to tailor their product more towards the demands of the customers.”

“There’s still a real strong demand for simple guidance and guidance only,” says Melander. “Envizio Plus fits that, with its ‘last-pass’ guidance program. We’re also looking at a market that is maturing, and steering is the next step up from guidance.”

Says Rhett Schildroth, ag product marketing manager with Topcon Po­sitioning Systems: “These entry level kits are good for allowing people to affordably get guidance on one of their vehicles and experience the ‘wow’ for themselves in their own cab.”

Farrar agrees. “I think manufacturers are improving this technology in part by offering starting-point, scaled-down, cleaner, more affordable packages.” Hemisphere GPS continues to offer its flagship product, the Outback S2 lightbar, plus the Outback 360 system. Trimble and business partners Ag Leader, Case IH, Hardi, and New Holland debuted their EZ-Guide 500 GPS lightbar, moving the EZ-Guide Plus to a lower price point ($1,995) for new adopters.

Simple To Add On

The secret to simpler systems is offering something that can be up­graded, believes Farrar.

Raven transformed its Envizio just six months after its introduction in 2006. Melander says users were asking for AutoBoom (automatic boom section control), AccuBoom (boom height level control), and data logging on the console — so Raven added the capabilities, dubbing the newcomer Envizio Plus.

Trimble’s EZ-Guide Plus lightbar has already been updated with EZ-Boom capabilities, and the EZ-Guide 500 will have the option later this spring. Sid Siefken, sales channel manager at Trimble, believes one of the biggest challenges facing retailers today is understanding the upgrade options available with the Trimble product line-up — keeping in mind what they’ll want to be doing in the next three months, or the next three years. The EZ-Guide 500 has the capability to use WAAS, OmniSTAR XP/HP, or RTK corrections for flexible accuracy options. And, with many systems, dealers need to consider if they’ll want to add auto steering or boom control capabilities.

Topcon’s upgraded X20 system now includes controls for these options, and for 2007 has added a weather station that integrates with the console, displaying and documenting real-time weather information. Also available is a camera system that allows better visibility around the machine, says Schildroth. Operators can install up to four cameras.

AGCO Global Technology’s new Con­sole I — available on select equipment this year — utilizes cameras for guidance. The display, mounted in the cab, is also able to control all guidance functions, including autosteer, implement steering, and application of inputs.

Retailers are also calling for guidance systems with upgradeability in GPS signals. Units can now operate using WAAS, OmniStar, or RTK — or, in the case of Hemisphere GPS, its new BaseLine HD portable transmitter.

Making It Comfortable

Options and upgrades are great, but drivers are also saying they want comfort and easy operation. Designers of the new EZ-Guide 500 increased the size of the display, added color, and increased the size of the text. “The large font size allows operators to comfortably read — and actually learn how to use it — as they sit in the driver’s seat,” says Siefken. The display complements the 31-LED lightbar situated above. “Simply looking at a computer screen for guidance can be difficult. With the lightbar, drivers don’t have to focus exclusively on the display.” Dave King, marketing manager with Ag Leader explains that the display — highly visible even in bright light — provides users with an “overhead” or “perspective” view of the operation, while the map view provides a real-time coverage map.

The GreenStar 2 (GS2) guidance system from John Deere features a 10.4-inch color, touchscreeen display with an on-screen path accuracy indicator that looks and functions much like a lightbar, says Emily Harringa, communications specialist with John Deere Ag Management Solutions. “It’s one less piece of hardware to clutter up the cab.”

AutoFarm LTi also has a friendly display, giving users a “virtual moving highway,” says Deane Malott, director of marketing for AutoFarm. Then, he says, the LTi is taken to the next level in the company’s Ag Technology Center (ATC). The ATC features 3-D color graphics — which are especially helpful in anticipating curves and headlands — and mapping, while leaving room for future capabilities.

Making It Easy-To-Use

Raven’s Melander says that Envizio users have told him that the company didn’t even need to write a manual for the product — the touchscreen handily guided them through set-up and use. “To have that type of product is very critical in the marketplace. Otherwise, you end up with frustration and service calls,” he says.

Manufacturers encourage retailers not to be overwhelmed by guidance choices available today. Different levels of guidance options can be a boon to retail managers who want to outfit their spray fleets but don’t want to — or need to — get the highest-end product available, says Siefken. “Their key machines may have lightbars or autopilots, but not all have a GPS lightbar system yet.” In either case, there are “strong economic cases to be made for investing capital in guidance with the increased efficiencies of all machines in the fleet,” he concludes.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Precision AgGoogle Glass: New Tool For Ag
October 8, 2014
New wearable smart technologies such as Google Glass show potential to greatly impact how we accomplish the business of feeding the world. Read More
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: Finding The Payback
September 6, 2014
Profitability in precision ag is not about any one technology, but the result of employing technology in a total system approach that is agronomically sound. Read More
Precision AgUAS: The S Stands For Smart, Service And Sensors
May 1, 2014
The only thing occuring more rapidly than the technologies’ evolution is the clamoring to implement UAS into agriculture as soon as possible. Read More
Precision AgAg Retail: 3 Tech Trends To Watch In 2014
April 1, 2014
It's been a busy first quarter of technology developments in 2014. Here are some of the highlights, and things to watch in the months ahead. Read More

Trending Articles

CropLife 100Agrium To Cut 500 Jobs, Sell Some Businesses
November 11, 2014
Among the businesses Agrium will try to sell are its micronutrients and European UAN (urea-ammonium nitrate) lines. Read More
HerbicidesMonsanto, Sumitomo Chemical And Valent Extend Crop Protection Collaboration
November 10, 2014
The agreement extends their strategic partnership in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform for soybeans and cotton in the U.S. Read More
FertilizerCorn Rootworm Hybrids And Potassium Uptake
November 4, 2014
To achieve successful yields, grower-customers can’t afford to cut back on their potassium use with corn rootworm hybrids, say experts. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More

Latest News

EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 12, 2014
Agricultural firm H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
Blenders13 Fertilizer Blenders For 2015
November 12, 2014
Dealers can find a fertilizer blender to deliver any speed, volume and custom mix they want. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Vice President Receives Honorary FFA Award
November 11, 2014
Jim Loar, vice president of operations of Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division, was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, KY. Read More
FertilizerBASF Makes Limus Nitrogen Management Available In U.S.
November 11, 2014
Reducing ammonia losses by more than 90%, Limus nitrogen management has demonstrated increased crop yields on average of 6%, according to 2013 replicated research. Read More