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

SIMPAS
Precision AgAMVAC, Simplot to Collaborate on SIMPAS Prescription Application System
July 31, 2017
AMVAC Chemical Corp. has announced collaboration with the J. R. Simplot Co. to field test the proprietary SIMPAS prescriptive application Read More
EquipmentAGCO to Acquire Precision Planting
July 26, 2017
AGCO and The Climate Corp. announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed for AGCO to acquire the Precision Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
Agronomist and farmer on iPad inspecting weeds
Precision AgPatience Needed: Lessons for Getting New Tech onto the Farm
July 6, 2017
A popular joke within the tech industry was trotted out at GAI AgTech Week in Boston, MA, speaking volumes about Read More
Trending Articles
Iowa waterways
Stewardship2,600 Iowa Farmers Commit $8.7 Million to Water Quality Practices
August 9, 2017
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Tuesday that a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100Cause of Gar Tootelian Fire Under Investigation
August 7, 2017
Over one hundred firefighters and equipment responded to a four-alarm shop fire at the Gar Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) facility in Read More
Rob Versprille
ManagementCeres Solutions, North Central Co-op Merger to Bring New Opportunities for Indiana, Michigan Farmers
August 1, 2017
More than 40,000 customers and almost 9,000 Indiana and Michigan farmers will begin doing business with the new Ceres Solutions Read More
CPS-Norwood-and-Dupont-reps
Eric SfiligojA Message to Ag Retailers: Do Tell Your Good Stories
July 26, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance ag Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Lindsay Corp.
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
Latest News
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
EquipmentAGCO Opens Nominations for 12th Annual Operator of the …
August 18, 2017
AGCO Corp. has announced the opening of nominations for AGCO Application Equipment’s 12th Annual Operator of the Year. The award Read More
ManagementTravels, Mergers, and CropLife 100 Updates
August 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss recent trips they’ve taken, the latest news on market consolidation, and the 2017 Read More
Corn Seed
Seed/BiotechSeed Innovations Benefit All of the Seed Industry
August 17, 2017
Innovations from throughout the seed industry help address many of the economic, environmental and health issues we face as a Read More
SpreadersGVM to Introduce New Prowler at MAGIE
August 17, 2017
The newest Prowler in GVM’s line-up will be introduced next week at the Midwest Ag Industries Expo (MAGIE), August 23 Read More
AcreEdge bag
Seed/BiotechLandus Cooperative’s AcreEdge Seed Brand Gears Up for 2…
August 17, 2017
Growers in more than 26 Iowa and Minnesota counties are seeing field signs with a new brand name at end Read More
Engenia soybeans
ManagementCorn and Soybean Yield Forecasts Larger than Expected
August 17, 2017
The USDA’s August Crop Production report contained larger-than-expected forecasts for the 2017 U.S. corn and soybean crops. At 169.5 bushels Read More
ManagementU.S. Ag Secretary Introduces SCORE
August 17, 2017
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a new agreement to support new and beginning farmers. On August 5, Perdue joined Read More
CHS-FFA-Minnesota
CropLife 100CHS and FFA: A Homerun Partnership
August 17, 2017
CHS hosted the Minnesota FFA for its annual FFA night at CHS Field. FFA students, educators and CHS leadership enjoyed Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100Gar Tootelian Foundation Donates Half Million Dollars t…
August 16, 2017
Students at Immanuel Elementary are looking forward to the first day of school for two reasons this year. One, they Read More
Water Drainage
StewardshipNew System Could Remove Two Water Pollutants from Ag Fi…
August 14, 2017
Algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico use up the majority of the oxygen in the water, leading to massive Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Top 10 Crop Protection Companies, Post-Mega Mergers
August 14, 2017
Everyone loves a good Top 10 list. In fact, some prominent celebrities such as David Letterman spent much of their Read More
ManagementThe DuPont-Granular Deal, Dicamba Update, and Upcoming …
August 11, 2017
Matthew Grassi joins Paul Schrimpf for the second week in a row to talk about DuPont’s acquisition of Granular, as Read More
Soybeans weeds
HerbicidesOngoing Evaluation Key to Controlling Weeds, Improving …
August 10, 2017
As the sun bears down on record U.S. soybean acres this August, farmers keep their eyes on their fields to Read More
Young Corn Plants
Seed/BiotechMycogen Seeds Offers Novel Product to Battle Pythium, O…
August 10, 2017
After a season plagued by seedling diseases caused by cool, wet soils at planting, farmers have a new option to Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerProtect Applied Manure Straight From the Manure Pit to …
August 10, 2017
Farmers who use liquid manure to fertilize corn crops can now mix Instinct nitrogen stabilizer in their pit for easy Read More
Iowa waterways
Stewardship2,600 Iowa Farmers Commit $8.7 Million to Water Quality…
August 9, 2017
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Tuesday that a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient Read More
Natives-First-Purple_Prairie_Clover
Seed/BiotechLa Crosse Seed Continues Focus on Soil and Water Conser…
August 9, 2017
La Crosse Seed is doing its part to lead communication to ag retailers across the country on the importance of Read More
HerbicidesAg Secretary Perdue Comments on Dicamba Issue
August 9, 2017
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated to reporters this week that he would like to see the industry work out a Read More