In-Cab Systems Innovate, Increase Productivity

Matrix Pro 570GS, TeeJet Technologies
Matrix Pro 570GS, TeeJet Technologies

With applicators demanding new options and capabilities from in-cab computing systems, manufacturers are taking notice and trotting out enhanced solutions for everyone from the novice beginner to the seasoned precision ag enthusiast.

According to Leica Geosystem’s Harlan Little, NAFTA agriculture business manager, ease-of-use remains an immense focus going forward. “Easy installation and ease-of-use are the biggest things that retailers and growers both say they need,” he says. “And Leica Geosystems continues to offer exactly that — easy-to-install systems like the mojo3D that can be placed in a steer-ready machine in a matter of minutes. The mojo3D achieves this by offering a setup wizard that walks the user through the needed measurements to configure the vehicle.

“Leica is also making sure that our equipment is able to connect to nearly any machine out there, and we have just announced the release of the Steer Direct ES Electric Steering system that aids in adding automated steering to older units or one that does not have the hydraulic valve needed,” Little adds. “In addition, Leica has also released connection to the John Deere “R’ series tractors via the CAN connection. This allows a grower to simply plug in the mojo3D, put the antennas on the roof and go.”

Meanwhile, Ag Leader is focusing its resources on water management efficiencies at a worthy time: One year after one of the most devastating droughts in U.S. history.

“Ag Leader has entered the water management market with the release of Intellislope, a new functionality available through the Ag Leader Integra display which provides tile plow control for installing field drainage tile,” says Ag Leader Product Manager Aaron Friedlen. “Intellislope makes it simple to properly install drainage tile, leading to increased flexibility and higher yields.”

Offering three main in-cab computing platforms (Cruizer II, Envizio Pro II and Viper Pro), Raven Industries continues to tweak its systems to allow increased connectivity.

“Emphasis on interfacing and integration to all of the various Raven application control, planter, harvest, steering and Slingshot systems to allow the user to have one field computer platform that will meet their current and future farming needs is a big focus for us,” says Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor. “In addition, we continue to invest on interface enhancements to Raven’s Slingshot system for automatic job file transfer, including remote support to help growers and applicators efficiently move data and provide support options without requiring costly trips to the field.”

Raven has also tweaked its Viper Pro and Envizio Pro II displays for enhanced control. “We’ve witnessed an increased demand for the ability to apply multiple products at the same time – helping to reduce the required number of trips through the field,” says Molitor. “In response, Raven has increased the control options on both the Viper Pro and Envizio Pro II systems, including direct injection options.”

What’s Next For The Cab?

The answers varied greatly among the experts we spoke with when asked what the next “big thing” will be for in-cab computing systems.

Al Myers, founder and president of Ag Leader Technology, responded: “The next revolution in precision technologies will be real-time connectivity between machines in the field, between field machines and the office, or between machines and the farm owner, manager, consultant or supplier. This will happen through wireless communication technologies being built into new machines or retrofitted onto older machines.”

TeeJet’s Tim Stuenkel, global marketing communications manager, sees the industry taking a cue from its counterparts in Europe. “Dry spreader swath control is a topic that may be new to many North American growers, but could have greater relevance in the future. Dry spreader manufacturers in Europe take a very sophisticated approach to spreader design and control systems. Unlike the one-dimensional nature of a spray boom, dry spreaders are two-dimensional and require a far more sophisticated approach to swath management which we can provide via Matrix Pro GS and Aeros 9040. As the North American dry spreader market moves to more sophisticated designs, which could offer significant improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of product application, dry spreader automatic swath control will be indispensable.”

For Leica Geosystems, a focus going forward will be integrating common office technology into the cab. “The cab is being viewed as a portable office now, so functions that are expected in a typical office will continue to show up in the cab,” says Harlan Little, NAFTA agriculture business manager. “I think we will see the adoption of non-job specific computers being used, such as tablets and smart phones either running apps or server-based operations to control the various activities going on in the field. This will allow the operator even more freedom to make sure the best job possible is being completed.”

Like Raven, Trimble currently offers three displays: The FmX integrated display, the CFX-750 display and the EZ-Guide 250 system.

“The FmX display is ideal for farmers who require high accuracy levels and enhanced functionality, the CFX-750 is ideal for broad acre and row crop farming applications with almost any crop type, field shape, or soil type, and the EZ-Guide 250 provides basic guidance functionalities,” says Mike Martinez, market manager, Trimble Agriculture Division.

With three displays currently on the market, Trimble is turning its attention to ensuring ease-of-use for its users, according to Martinez. “Trimble understands that ease-of-use is critical – especially as our precision farming functionality continues to grow.

“However,” Martinez cautions. “Operators can only keep up with so many changes, so Trimble focuses on developing both intelligent and intuitive user interfaces where set-up and use of the in-cab display is so simple and understandable that operators need very little training to get up to speed on new and existing functionality. For example, we use setup ‘wizards’ on Trimble’s CFX-750 display that guide a user step-by-step through a first-time configuration of a new feature.”

Another capability that Trimble’s customers demand is high-accuracy GNSS correction services, according to Martinez. “At the end of the day, we need to ensure we are delivering what the customer wants. An example of this is our offering of GNSS corrections services: CenterPoint RTX and the new RangePoint RTX. Customers asked for affordable high-performing correction services that could be made available anywhere in the world without the requirement to be near transmitter towers – an option that is extremely flexible to their needs.

“Trimble responded by offering two satellite-delivered options that are exclusive to Trimble users,” adds Martinez. “The CenterPoint RTX service offers 1.5 inch repeatable accuracy that is broadcast over a satellite network and is available on almost every farm in the world. And for the grower that doesn’t need a high level of accuracy, the new RangePoint RTX service offers the same high quality and reliability of the CenterPoint RTX service, but has an accuracy of 6 inches pass-to-pass – perfect for most broad acre applications.”

TeeJet Technologies is offering a couple of brand-new in-cab computing systems for 2013, starting with the Matrix Pro GS, an upgrade of the Matrix and Matrix Pro.

“The Matrix Pro GS introduces several new features operating on a more powerful, next-generation processor. Advanced swath control capabilities allow for automatic boom section control on sprayers equipped with offset (staggered) booms, as well as supporting automatic swath control for dry spreaders,” says Tim Stuenkel, global marketing communications manager. “With the addition of an optional pressure transducer, Matrix Pro GS provides real-time droplet size monitoring for sprayer applications, and the Matrix Pro GS continues to support all the features/upgrades offered on previous generation consoles including: FieldPilot or UniPilot assisted steering, RealView guidance over video, video camera monitoring, application mapping/ record keeping and BoomPilot automatic boom section control.”

Also new for 2013 from TeeJet is the Aeros 9040 Field Computer.

“Featuring a new, streamlined console with 8.4 inch touchscreen display, the Aeros 9040 interfaces with reliable, proven control modules to provide precision GPS guidance, auto-steering, application rate control, mapping, variable rate application, Automatic Boom Section Control (ABSC), droplet size monitoring, video camera monitoring and even wireless data transfer,” says Stuenkel. “Like Matrix, Aeros features an integral WAAS accuracy receiver as standard equipment with optional GPS receiver upgrades to support OmniSTAR and Network RTK signals, and is a full-featured, expandable control platform ideal for a wide range of application equipment including self-propelled sprayers and dry spreaders.”

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

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More