Simpler Steering

AutoFarm OnTrac2

Automated steering systems have become standard tools for many applicators. And drivers are benefiting from continued improvements on both hydraulic and mechanical units, reports Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor, Raven Industries.

Raven just started shipments on its SmartSteer mechnical drive unit that integrates with the company’s multi-tasking Cruizer, Envizio Pro, and Viper Pro field computers. “It clamps on the steering wheel and is simple to install, set up, and move between machines,” he says. It’s also quiet, and operators don’t have to remove their steering wheel to mount the unit.

In hydraulic steering, the company’s SmarTrax system is “going CANBus this summer” — allowing it to integrate with Raven’s field computers. “Operators can program and run everything through one screen, which makes their lives much easier,” he says.

This spring, Hemisphere GPS announced that operators can team its Outback Sts guidance system with the company’s eDrive TC hydraulic autosteering “for instant return on investment,” says Jeff Farrar, channel marketing manager.

In February, AutoFarm released the OnTrac2 GPS Assisted Steering System. Its unique split-gear design does not require removal of the steering wheel for installation; the OnTrac2 simply latches on and off for fast, easy transfer across multiple brands and types of vehicles, explains Wade Stewart, field marketing manager.

Last fall, Topcon Positioning Systems introduced its System 150 that’s simple to move from vehicle to vehicle, notes Rod Haarberg, North American precision agriculture sales manager.

Automatic steering has gone beyond — actually, behind — application rigs. John Deere AMS released iTEC (intelligent Total Equipment Control) Pro for its GreenStar 2 2600 display. The iTEC Pro module coordinates vehicle and implement functions with end-of-row turns. “By automating these tasks it allows the implement and machine functions to be performed consistently on headlands or internal boundaries as well as positions the machine correction for the next pass through the field,” says representative Sarah Davis.

In other features, “plug and play” is many drivers’ ideal, and Leica’s Christina Roth, marketing and communications manager, says mojoRTK’s console does just that. It can be installed in less than an hour.

TeeJet Technologies’ Jennifer Burr, global marketing and communications manager, says the company keeps technology accessible by “building our autosteer lineup around the simple and robust interface of our CenterLine guidance platform.”

Crossing “color” barriers is becoming more common, with manufacturers making their automated steering systems compatible with a host of companies’ products. For instance, Stewart says regardless of how a rig is configured, users can customize the AutoFarm system to their machines for the greatest accuracy and performance. Trimble’s AgGPS Autopilot now has platform kits available for more than 450 vehicle models and more than 18 brands.

Choosing Signals

Higher inputs costs over the last couple of years have increased the need for advanced, more accurate steering solutions utilizing RTK GPS products, says Outback’s Farrar. “Nutrient placement, variable-rate application, section control, and implement steering are quickly becoming key tools required by today’s growers,” he says.

AutoFarm’s Stewart agrees that there’s definitely been more interest from customers in moving to RTK. He says most of the change is driven by growers’ choices of farming practices — strip-till, twin-row planting, inter-row seeding, and controlled traffic — that all demand high levels of accuracy and repeatability.

Trimble Agriculture Director of Marketing Rob Lindores reports that the company’s North American RTK network now serves more than 200 million acres for precision operations such as strip tillage, corn planting, and land leveling. And Davis notes that John Deere’s RTK networks now blanket some 170 million acres.

In addition to subscription services and personal or proprietary RTK networks, more applicators are looking into DOT and free CORS (continually operating reference station) networks. Many of these survey-grade networks are being built with tax dollars, so many states allow growers to access the RTK correction free of charge, explains Leica’s Roth. “Leica’s mojoRTK console is the only fully integrated, auto-guidance system with a built-in CDMA cell modem, which allows drivers to connect to CORS networks through a data plan,” she explains.

TeeJet has placed the RX-600RTK receiver in its FieldPilot hydraulic assisted steering system, allowing users to operate with RTK level accuracy utilizing either the traditional base station or local CORS networks. “This receiver also allows users of certain tractors to install autosteer that interface via CAN communication — eliminating the need to crack open any hydraulic lines,” explains Burr.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

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
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgMaximizing Returns From Water Inputs
March 3, 2014
Irrigation manufacturers have developed some vital new technologies to fine-tune irrigation and save growers money, water, energy and labor. Read More

Trending Articles

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
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. 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
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More