Vibrant Visual Guidance

GPS guidance product sales are remaining strong, thanks to technology’s promise of a speedy return on investment and input savings. Dave King, marketing manager, Ag Leader, would add other benefits: “The adoption rate continues to grow as guidance helps applicators be more efficient, allows them to work at night, and reduces stress.”

While there’s no official industry reporting on guidance system sales, Kayla Reynolds, product marketing manager at John Deere, has seen a “heavy uptake” in purchases over the last few years, both in manual and automatic steering units. In just the last few months, Leica has signed on many value-added guidance resellers — equipment dealers and ag suppliers alike, says Christina Roth, marketing and communications manager.

Companies continue to introduce and tweak systems for all levels of work. This month, CropLife focuses on visual (or manual) guidance products, and in June, we’ll cover automated steering lines.

Displays For All Tastes

Guidance companies are offering more screen options than ever. Reynolds says Deere’s “Cadillac” of displays is the GreenStar 2 2600 Display, now standard equipment in every 4000-Series sprayer shipped. The color touchscreen measures a little over 10 inches and comes standard with manual guidance, coverage maps, documentation, and prescriptions. An AutoTrac-ready kit is built in, making it simple to add an automatic guidance system.

The GreenStar 2 line can now be used — with the addition of a GreenStar rate controller — to vary anhydrous ammonia rates. “It’s something everybody’s starting to dabble in, using GPS to control the on-off of anhydrous,” says Reynolds. In fact, the GS2 System can handle four inputs at one time, controlling seed, liquid, and gas while simultaneously controlling implement sections with GreenStar Swath Control Pro.

Leica just launched the Leica iNEX mapping and guidance display. This new full-color touchscreen is compatible with most GPS receivers and rate controllers. It comes with standard guidance options, unlimited line storage, and multiple field views. “Software upgrades allow users to customize the display’s functionality to fit their individual needs,” says Roth.

Just introduced in February, Outback STS from Hemisphere GPS combines the most popular features of the Outback S2 with a 7-inch, high-resolution color touchscreen that offers excellent situational awareness. The unit includes Hemisphere GPS’s patented Crescent Technology that provides industry-leading satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS/WAAS) performance, says Jeff Farrar, channel marketing manager.

Upgradability in displays continues to be popular with operators. Many units can easily add features such as automatic boom control, automatic section control, and automatic steering. For instance, Raven’s Cruizer integrates with SmartBoom and SmartRow easily, says Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor. These features control section shut-offs for both sprayers and planter. “Applicators need this technology to ensure they are not overlapping or skipping — this is especially important when using guidance and data logging,” he believes. “Being able to hand the customer a map of his field that can prove they sprayed only where they needed to, and didn’t skip, is critical.”

The AutoFarm ATC (Ag Technology Center) offers a realistic “virtual highway” look on its display, making visual guidance “as easy and intuitive as driving your car down the road.” The “Center” part of the system’s name means the users can do other tasks besides guidance, including where-applied mapping and field recordkeeping. The unit can also integrate with popular rate controllers and show individual boom sections’ shut-off and coverage.

Trimble’s newest product is the AgGPS FmX Integrated Display, which replaces the Trimble Field Manager Display. “It includes two integrated GPS+GLONASS receivers for the latest GNSS technology,” says Wayne Wenzel, public relations manager. This allows the unit to do guidance for a tractor and an implement behind it. “A 12.1-inch color touchscreen with plain and 3D views is 35% larger than the industry standard 10.4-inch screen,” he notes. The unit supports a host of signal choices and optional capabilities.

Trimble has focused on “future proof” technology, says Wenzel, “which means the equipment is designed to be upgradable so farmers and custom applicators don’t have to worry so much about their equipment becoming obsolete soon after they buy it.” He adds that Trimble is “color-blind and brand-neutral,” so the company’s equipment can be added to almost any existing farm equipment.

TeeJet’s new CenterLine 230BP combines simple guidance with automatic boom section control. It has all the features of the company’s entry-level CenterLine 220 (which has a new low MSRP price) plus headland and adaptive curve modes and applied area counter display. It also works with most spray controllers.

Bright Lightbars

While displays continue to do more, “we think there is still a pretty big market for lightbars,” says Deere’s Reynolds. Indeed, Deere has typically focused on more advanced solutions, targeting the automatic guidance market, but “now we’ve come back around and we’ve seen an opportunity to fill out our line-up, to offer an entry-level system also,” she explains. Enter the GreenStar Lightbar, new this season. It can be teamed with any Deere receiver, but customers are mainly pairing it with the new StarFire 300. “It’s a price fighter because when you put these two products together, you can benefit from manual guidance for $1,400. It’s a fairly inexpensive system that you can put on any machine — it doesn’t care the color,” says Reynolds.

Topcon Positioning Systems’ new System 110 combines GPS lightbar guidance with a simple screen set-up. Its detachable lightbar can be placed anywhere in the cab for optimum viewing, says Tom Causey, ag & OEM advertising manager.

The AgGPS EZ-Guide 250 and AgGPS EZ-Guide 500 Lightbar Guidance Systems from Trimble use a color display to aid manual guidance. The EZ-Guide 250′s 4.3-inch screen contains 15 bright guidance LEDs for quick on-line visual feedback, while the EZ-Guide 500′s 7-inch screen boasts 31 highly visible LEDs. At different price points, the units are targeted for different needs, with the EZ-Guide 500 offering accuracy and application control upgradability.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

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
Todd Golly and UAVs
Precision AgReal-World UAV Experience In Agriculture
February 3, 2014
Minnesota grower Todd Golly shares his views on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Read More

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipMonsanto Joins Panel Of Innovators To Advance Research …
July 30, 2014
Monsanto Co. and The Climate Corp., its division, recently joined a roundtable of experts at the White House to share ideas and research approaches to help the world’s farmers manage and adapt to the impact of climate change on the global food supply. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Checkoff Produces Big ROI
July 30, 2014
Under the soy checkoff program, all U.S. soybean farmers contribute a small percentage of their gross soybean sales for research and marketing projects that maximize their profit potential. Read More
CropLife 100Learfield Sports, CHS Agree To Football-Centric, Colleg…
July 30, 2014
CHS Inc. will embark on a highly integrated collegiate sports sponsorship platform with 24 Division I universities in 19 states designed to reach the farmer-owned cooperative's rural owners and customers. Read More
LegislationUSDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision
July 30, 2014
The new Supplemental Coverage Option, available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Forms New Organizational Structure For Its…
July 30, 2014
The new structure will provide more responsive internal support and will allow regional vice presidents and area managers to spend more time with customers, on talent development and on operational excellence across branches. Read More
Palmer pigweed in cotton
HerbicidesNew Training Modules On Herbicide Resistance Now Availa…
July 30, 2014
The Weed Science Society of America has announced the availability of three new education modules on herbicide resistance in weeds. Read More
HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More