Smart “Ears” To The Sky

Phoenix 250 Raven Receiver

Receiver and satellite technologies continued to show gains this past year. The buzz this season has been to purchase units that can access not only the robust U.S. GPS but also Russia’s GLONASS system. “All new receivers from the major players are now being manufactured GLONASS-capable and are future-proofing for Galileo (Europe’s satellite system),” says Trevor Mecham, Leica’s North American business manager, ag. Leica believes in the GLONASS boost so much that any mojoRTK user can demo GLONASS satellite activation before they buy it, to see if it improves their performance along tree lines and during poor satellite availability, says Mecham.

Topcon Positioning System has been working with multiple satellite constellations since 2000, says Mike Gomes, OEM accounts manager. He says the current GLONASS system stands at 16 satellites, with another six slated for launch in 2008. “In a GPS plus GLONASS system, typically users can have between seven and 16 satellites available, even if you go behind a mountain or into a canyon or behind a stand of trees. You can keep going when GPS-only can’t,” he explains.

Small But Mighty

There’s also a move afoot to provide more low cost choices, including units that combine receivers and antennas in one unit, dubbed “smart antennas.” Ag Leader introduced its GPS 1500 high-accuracy receiver/antenna late last year. “Our goal was to provide a GPS receiver with the accuracy needed for maximum performance using AutoSwath while keeping it affordable for our customers,” says Matt Leinen, GPS and guidance product manager. He says the GPS 1500 offers a fast update rate and sub-meter accuracy.

Newest in Raven Industries’ product line are the Phoenix 50 and Phoenix 250. “The ruggedized Phoenix 50 is your entry level WAAS receiver for applications like yield monitors and crop scouting,” says Darrell McCauley, operations manager. The 250 has the features of the Phoenix 200 plus adds the ability to receive OmniSTAR-VBS corrections.

Hemisphere GPS has the A100 Smart Antenna, calling it an affordable all-in-one DGPS receiver solution that offers fast start-up and reacquisition times and 60-cm accuracy.

The AgGPS 106 is Trimble’s all-weather, low cost DGPS smart antenna for yield or field mapping. The company also offers a range of stand-alone receivers (such as the AgGPS 442, 432, and 332) that can be coupled with antenna options to provide a variety of correction and accuracy levels.

There’s some debate about which is better: external, stand-alone receivers or receivers built into display boards. Dr. Mike O’Connor, CTO of Novariant-AutoFarm, says customers and dealers prefer a simple connection between the GPS equipment on the roof and the display hardware in the cab. “This generally requires a stand-alone receiver system on the roof of the vehicle, so that a standard wire cable bundle can be run into the cab, rather than a coaxial cable,” he describes.

But other manufacturers would disagree. Leica’s Mecham believes the only advantage external units have had over the last 10 years is upgradeability. “With the new boards moving to firmware-upgradeable versions, this advantage is basically lost,” he says. “Built-in receivers reduce manufacturing costs and reduce field breakdowns due to cable and connector failures.”

Multiple antenna set-ups are gaining favor in the industry since they provide very precise positioning as well as heading and terrain compensation measurements, says O’Connor. “This allows vehicles to start automatically steering from a dead stop and to operate at very low speeds.”

No matter the guidance set-up, Jim Shone, sales director at TeeJet Technologies, says users don’t need to be confused trying to put together pieces-parts like receivers and antenna. The company’s entry-level guidance product CenterLine 220 is an answer, and inside the compact lightbar is a high-quality WAAS GPS receiver. “We’re trying to make a very simple interface where customers don’t have to configure a lot of the settings prior to the operation of our products,” he says. “They can just plug and play.”

Correction Solutions News

Consumers there are. John Pointon, director of sales and marketing with OmniSTAR, said subscription sales at the company broke all previous records by April 2007 – and broke them again for April 2008.

RTK is also hot. “The biggest advancement in satellites and signals is the proliferation of RTK base stations,” says O’Connor. “In many areas it is now possible to purchase a system that is capable of sub-inch RTK steering performance without purchasing and installing your own base station.”

Indeed, DOT-sponsored RTK CORS (Continuously Operating Reference Stations) technology is soon becoming available for dealers and growers — and it’s “the next big thing,” says Mecham. The RTK signal from DOTs is mostly available free for public use, he explains. The Iowa CORS network, offering dual frequency receivers, comes online in late 2008, and Leica will be providing CORS support to enable farmers and dealers to connect to these rapidly expanding state networks.

One of the leading improvements that John Bohlke, director of product marketing with Hemisphere GPS, sees is with the company’s single frequency RTK. In a patented technique, the firm uses SBAS (WAAS, EGNOS, etc.) satellites for ranging in order to improve its RTK solution in the Outback product line. “And just the quality of the Crescent GPS receiver makes it a very affordable way to get centimeter level accuracy,” he says. In fact, the Crescent is featured in the new Outback S3, released in 2008.

John Deere Engineer Curtis Hay finds RTK growth — both in network expansion and individual use – is still quite strong, and “StarFire 2 sales are quite good. It points to a growing want and need for centimeter-level accuracy, which would make applications such as strip till or drip tape quite reasonable,” he says.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerBridging Crop Nutrition Science And Technology
September 7, 2016
The future seemed to draw nearer for the 1,600-plus attendees of the co-located InfoAg and International Precision Agriculture conferences in St. Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More