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
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Latest News
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
Industry NewsArysta Hires New Midwest Territory Sales Manager
March 5, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently named Jonathan “Jon” Tone as the Territory Sales Manager in the Midwest sales region. Read More
Fertilizer360 Yield Center: Try These 5 Steps To Fine Tune Nitrog…
March 5, 2015
Yield Center 360 advises that an effective nitrogen management plan needs to focus on how much N a particular field and corn crop needs, as well as how to properly manage N throughout the growing season — with adjustments along the way. Read More
Precision AgFarmobile Coming Online In 2015
March 5, 2015
A new startup is looking to make collecting and selling ag data a more rewarding proposition for growers. Read More
Crop InputsCommodity Classic 2015 Sets Attendance High Mark
March 4, 2015
With nearly 8,000 total attendees, the 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in Phoenix, AZ, shattered previous records for the landmark event, Read More
Young corn plants
FertilizerNew Nitrogen Stabilizer From Simplot Protects Fertilize…
March 4, 2015
By using OmniPierce Technology, Eclipse-N from Simplot Grower Solutions coats and protects more nitrogen, increasing nitrogen efficiency and decreasing loss due to volatilization. Read More
Industry NewsOhio Corn And Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean A…
March 4, 2015
The associations truly appreciate the comprehensive approach and diligent work that the Ohio House of Representatives has dedicated to addressing water quality and House Bill 61. Read More
Mahindra Implement
Industry NewsMahindra USA Aligns With Paladin Attachment For Impleme…
March 4, 2015
Mahindra USA will begin utilizing Paladin Attachments as its implement supplier in April 2015. Read More
Crop InputsValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications
March 4, 2015
The acquisition adds another strategic platform to VBC’s rapidly expanding global biorational business, providing additional tools for the Biorational Window platform being developed with its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation - Plant Nutrient on the Farm Station
Industry NewsNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Station Prog…
March 4, 2015
This ready-to-implement station provides an interactive opportunity for farms to showcase crop nutrients’ important role in growing healthy crops. Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsAdjuvants Continue Upward Trend
March 4, 2015
A dizzying array of developments in crop protection technologies promise to make specialty adjuvants a crucial piece of the puzzle going forward. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Me…
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
10 Tips for Spring Planter Preparation
Equipment10 Tips For Spring Planter Preparation
March 3, 2015
Kinze Manufacturing offers advice on how to ensure your planter is ready before you hit the field. Read More
Industry NewsOABA 2015 LAUNCH Program Recognizes 20 New Graduates
March 3, 2015
Twenty Ohio agribusiness leaders are being recognized as the latest graduates of Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH program. Read More
EquipmentNew AGCO Website Helps Customers Shop For Certified Pre…
March 3, 2015
RoGator sprayers are among the wide range of CPO equipment available through AGCO's site. Read More
Enlist spray Demo
HerbicidesGuiding New Herbicide Systems’ Launches
March 3, 2015
Under careful watch, the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops hit more acres this season. Read More
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More