Lightbars Become Brilliant

Hemisphere GPS Lightbar

Basic lightbars have been around for a long time now, but manufacturers are still finding ways to make them better. “The improvements seen in lightbar products are generally in features and application,” says Tom Causey, Topcon Ag and OEM advertising manager. “The PCS-100 brings core features with the benefit of simple operation, rugged design, and upgrades to the industry in display screen.”

Lower Prices, Better Accuracy

In January 2008, Trimble introduced an affordable lightbar system designed with consistent pass-to-pass accuracy and advanced, easy-to-use guidance patterns. “With the introduction of the AgGPS EZ-Guide 250 lightbar system, Trimble has set a new standard for affordable guidance solutions,” says Trimble Agricultural Division General Manager Erik Arvesen, describing the new system as economical and packed with features, as well as “costing considerably less than comparable solutions available today from any manufacturer.”

As with any technology, improvements continue over time as more manufacturers get involved. The increased competition and advancing expertise that reduce pricing have also improved lightbar accuracy. “As with any electronics, improvements in components and manufacturing capabilities, coupled with advances in GPS technology are allowing for more affordable and more accurate lightbars to be produced and marketed,” explains Jeff Farrar, channel marketing manager of Hemisphere GPS.

Increased Demand

With more machinery in the fields, there has been an uptick in demand. “Topcon has seen an ever-increasing interest in all segments of precision ag, from entry lightbar systems to full precision control systems,” says Causey. “The Topcon PCS-100 will address a group of producers who are looking for basic guidance and coverage mapping as well as a new group of producers who are just entering the market.”

Farrar adds: “Basic GPS lightbars are now available for under $1,000, which has opened the door to a broader demographic of farmer to incorporate GPS into their operations to assist with offsetting the ever-growing input costs. After seeing the benefits, GPS utilization in ag seems to be somewhat addictive, with most users realizing the need for more.”

Technology Trends

“Visual awareness and autosteering systems appear to be the hot items for ’08,” says Farrar. “Utilization of this technology is allowing growers to be more productive and efficient.” With competition from graphic displays, lightbars must not only be able to offer themselves as the cheapest option, but as a viable alternative that can offer growers equal visual cues and accurate information.

“Precision agriculture products will continue to grow in features and applications, allowing the producers to maintain control of the increasing input costs,” says Causey. “With additional features, applications, and markets, the trend is for precision agriculture products to become complicated for the user to install and use. Simplicity, flexibility, and stability will be key features of new products.”

New Offerings

Several manufacturers are raising their game in 2008; new equipment includes the Topcon PCS-100 lightbar guidance system and two new guidance products from Hemisphere GPS, along with Trimble’s EZ-Guide 250 system for new GPS guidance users.

“The PCS-100 combines core features like multiple-pattern guidance, on-screen mapping, and acre calculation into a rugged and simple to use unit,” describes Causey.

Hemisphere GPS’s Outback Guidance line has introduced two additional GPS guidance products since May 2007, explains Farrar: “The Outback S-Lite is an entry level GPS lightbar which retails for under $1,000.” It includes straight guidance, contour guidance, and return to point, and is expandable to work with Outback AutoMate, which monitors and controls individual sprayer sections to minimize overlaps and skips.

“The Outback S3 is an all new GPS guidance and mapping system which retails for $3,995,” says Farrar, with an 8.4-inch color touch screen providing constant situational awareness and easy-to-read job data in real time.

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
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark…
July 4, 2015
Zach Sheely, vice president of sales and operations, says that several large, well-known U.S. cooperatives (Stanislaus Farm Supply, Wilco-Winfield and 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
FungicidesHelena To Distribute Unique Summit Agro Fungicide
June 29, 2015
RANMAN 400 SC fungicide, the only fungicide with a FRAC group 21 designation, is now part of the innovative Summit Read More