Enhanced GPS Steering Systems Help Growers Shine

Topcon System 150

With input and fuel costs on the rise throughout the ag world, more and more growers are implementing GPS automatic steering equipment to increase the level of efficiency in their operations.

“The adoption of precision technology continues to be a focus for agricultural producers,” says John Deere Representative Holly A. Brokaw. “Producers know that they have to maximize the production of acre as the price of inputs continues to rise with commodity prices holding steady.”

Adds Tim Stuenkel, market development specialist with TeeJet Technologies: “Sales of autosteer equipment have been very positive and growing for the past few years. The shift by growers from manual (lightbar) guidance to autosteer continues, as does the trend towards increasingly precise (RTK) GPS receivers.”

Although crucial for a better bottom line, reduced fuel and input costs are simply one of the many benefits automatic steering offers to operators.

Faster Field Speeds

Lori Costello, marketing communications manager with Ag Leader, says GPS steering permits the user to increase field speeds, put in longer hours in the field and experience less fatigue.

This season, with mild winter conditions moving planting times up throughout the Corn Belt, companies experienced a strong sales period as growers had to ensure they were ready for the early start.

“Fundamentals always play a factor in demand,” says Topcon’s Michael Gomes, director of marketing & business development. “With a mild winter, farmers are increasingly becoming more self-reliant and planting earlier.”

Harlan Little, Leica Geosys­tems ag business manager, also sees increased sales driven by the company’s mojo3D unit. “Many growers managed to make early buying decisions this year which is now giving them payback as they use their new equipment. We look forward to continued strong sales throughout the growing season.”

“As input costs continue to rise, growers are becoming better at maximizing their return on input expenses,” adds Gomes. “Precision ag technologies improve both accuracy and effiency, and they reduce cost per acre while improving the ability to cover more acres in a day.”

Beyond Tweaking

GPS steering technologies having been available to growers now for several seasons and manufacturers are entering their prime when it comes to upgrading capabilities.

For example, Raven Industries has improved the steering performance of its SmarTrax RTK and SmartSteer systems. “We have improved our steering software to handle more extreme conditions such as hills and terraces,” says Tim Heins, product manager for guidance and steering.

“The algorithm enhancements have also propelled our performance in other field conditions.”

TeeJet has also been busy this year with a plethora of new options for growers, according to Stuenkel. “This past winter we introduced a new line of high-precision GNSS receivers — the RX510 and RX610. The RX510 is compatible with OmniSTAR XP & HP for 6-or 4-inch pass-to-pass accuracy. The RX610 RTK receiver provides 1- to 2-inch pass-to-pass accuracy for the most demanding application. The RX610 features an integrated cellular modem (GMS or CDMA protocol) for use with increasingly popular CORS RTK networks.”

“Also new for 2012 is our UniPilot assisted-steering system,” he adds. “This system utilizes a universal mounting bracket and electric steering motor for simple in-cab installation. This provides another autosteering option for growers, in addition to our current FieldPilot hydraulic autosteer system.”

Ag Leader has also updated its leading autosteer unit this year, says Costello. “We recently introduced a new version of the OnTrac system called the OnTrac2+. The OnTrac2+ comes with a newly designed electronic control unit with updated hardware and updated inertial measurement capability. Also, we continue to add platform kits as new equipment models are introduced to the market.”

Leica continues to tweak and update its mojo3D and mojoMINI displays, according to Little. “The latest improvements on the mojo3D include the ability to download waylines and boundaries in Shape files. We have also started using the KML file for Google Earth to easily view coverage, boundary and AB lines. Additionally, the mojoMINI was also upgraded with some new features that included an export option for the KML file type.”

For 2012, John Deere Co. has a few enhanced capabilities to offer users, including a GPS signal enhancing capability called Shared Signal.

“When our RTK Extend expires, the receiver now has SF2 accuracy until the machine can reconnect line of sight to the base station with the StarFire 3000 Receiver,” says Brokaw. “Shared Signal allows two StarFire 3000 Receivers to share correctional signals in dual-receiver applications and deliver the benefits of the higher signal level. This feature expands the possibility for producers to use SF1 and SF2 signals in their operations.

“Shared Signal also allows producers to invest in advanced applications with less overall investment costs,” Brokaw adds. “Producers can pair an RTK receiver with a SF1 or SF2 receiver and have RTK accuracy and repeatability, or pair a SF2 receiver with a SF1 receiver and have SF2 accuracy. Shared Signal is created with two StarFire 3000 Receivers and a GreenStar3 2630 Display.”

Trimble envisions its 2012 offerings taking growers to that “next level of farming,” according to Market Manager Mike Martinez. “The updates Trimble has released build upon that solid autosteer platform to take the customer to the next step in the evolution of farming. This includes advances in planter and sprayer control, variable-rate technologies, high-accuracy GNSS positioning, land-leveling and drainage solutions and wrapping it all up with wireless connectivity using the Connected Farm.”

Says Topcon’s Gomes: “Autosteering technology is continuing to improve in many ways. More often end-users are looking to be able to encompass more functionality with a single console, or add additional sensors or harnessing to add the next functionality. As with all technology based products, getting both the payback and the experience today will continue to help an end-user be better prepared for business tomorrow.”

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

Matt Hopkins15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
December 16, 2013
These latest agriculture apps are sure to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2014 and beyond. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
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
Seed/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More
MicronutrientsGypsum On Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green
October 14, 2014
Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water. Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsVerdesian Grows Sales Staff
October 14, 2014
The new account managers will drive sales growth and support relationships with key customers in the plant nutrition and seed treatment and inoculants product categories. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
October 14, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Purchases Six Grain Elevators, Four Agron…
October 14, 2014
The Andersons has acquired Auburn Bean and Grain of Auburn, MI, which will increase the storage capacity of its Grain Group by about 13%. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Eric SfiligojEntering Agriculture’s New Phase
October 13, 2014
The market’s giddy ride the past few years might be coming to an end in 2015, warns one industry insider. Read More
Eric SfiligojWar And Green Peace
October 11, 2014
A one-time member of Green Peace recently explained why he left the organization after 15 years. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Add To Farm Sustainability
October 10, 2014
Farmers nationwide find cover crops to be a tool that helps groundwater, prevents erosion, builds soil quality and complements existing best management practices. Read More
EquipmentMeeting Changing Liquid Storage Needs
October 10, 2014
Tank and containment choices are expanding with shifts in farming practices and the economy. Read More
StewardshipEDF Launches Initiative To Reduce Fertilizer Pollution …
October 9, 2014
The effort will engage farmers and businesses throughout the supply chain to transform the way fertilizer-dependent grain crops are grown and sourced. Read More
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And …
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More