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
Top 100 Articles
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Latest News
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementCourt Decision Protects Chesapeake Bay’s Water, Wildlif…
July 7, 2015
Today, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the historic clean-up plan for the Chesapeake Bay. Collin O’Mara, president and Read More
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark…
July 4, 2015
Western-Australia-based Agworld — having fully launched its data management software system stateside last year after a 2013 soft launch — Read More
Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
ManagementUnited Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes Merger & Crop Update
July 2, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the reasons behind the United Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes merger and USDA’s recent Read More
Industry NewsBioSafe Adds To Sales Force
July 2, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the hire of two new members for its service team. David Britt recently joined the team Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementChesapeake Bay Clean-Up Gets Renewed Attention
July 2, 2015
The Chesapeake Bay has been called one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. It’s also one of Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
ManagementBulk Pesticide Compliance: Top 10 Areas Of Improvement …
July 1, 2015
  In honor of the 33-year run of David Letterman’s Late Show, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is happy Read More
Industry NewsArysta North America Hires Midwest Sales Manager
July 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the hiring of Brian Battles as the Senior Technical Sales Manager for the Midwest Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Retail FacilitiesBuilding Up Ag Retail
July 1, 2015
In the oftentimes unpredictable world we live in, it’s nice to know some things can be reliably countered on to Read More
Retail FacilitiesMaple River Grain And Agronomy Phases In Site Developme…
July 1, 2015
Marcus Construction helped Maple River Grain and Agronomy in Casselton, ND, with the design-build of its dry fertilizer, liquid chemical/seed Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Builds A New Liquid Terminal Hub For Br…
July 1, 2015
To build its new hub facility, Briggs Crop Nutrients enlisted the help of A&B Welding. The result, an efficient facility Read More
Edon Farmers Co-op
Retail FacilitiesNew Marcus Facility At Edon Farmers Co-op Provides More…
July 1, 2015
Edon Farmers Co-Op in Edon, OH, needed a new facility to consolidate outdated locations. Marcus Construction was able to design Read More
Retail FacilitiesKinder Morgan Expands Its Storage With A New Dome Barre…
July 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan wanted additional covered storage at its Dakota Bulk Terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. With Read More
Retail FacilitiesHeartland Tank Protects Fertilizer From Extreme Cold At…
July 1, 2015
The Arthur Companies in Harvey, ND, enlisted the help of Heartland Tank Companies to develop a new liquid fertilizer facility Read More
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More