Four Farm Equipment Editors, covering North America's two largest machinery exhibitions in mid-February — the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., and the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., — share what they saw in the way of new introductions for GPS & Precision Farming that the market will see in 2008.
RINEX showcased its new AS7500 automated boom section controller that it introduced in September. According to Heidi Gilbert, the unit reduces over-spray of crops, and will pay for itself in the first season with product savings, better chemical application and reduced operating costs. Simple to set up and operate in the field, the unit is positioned to reduce operator fatigue, save in chemical application, superior accuracy, onboard intelligence and compatibility with most GPS receivers.
AG LEADER TECHNOLOGY has partnered with NORAC Inc. to launch the UC5 Spray Height Controller this coming April. With the Insight interface from Ag Leader, operators can control boom height. Insight will also provide an onscreen coverage map and data log for as-applied data. When using the interface with DirectCommand, operators have all liquid application control capabilities combined with boom height control.
TRIMBLE introduced its EZ-Guide 250 lightbar system designed for first-time GPS guidance users and veteran operators transitioning to assisted steering. The EZ-Guide 250 allows vehicle operators to steer tractors, sprayers, fertilizer applicators, harvesters and other farm vehicles. "This has all the features of the EZ-Guide 500, but at a much lower price," says Courtney Gaudet. "It will have sub-meter accuracy and for just $300 a grower can upgrade for better accuracy."
The 20/20 SeedSense monitor from PRECISION PLANTING not only monitors plant populations, but also informs the operator of singulation errors and recommends fixes. From the sensors, the monitor displays down force, ground contact, singulation, population, doubles, skips, proper spacing and speed. "Our system goes beyond population to singulation so you can get kernels spaced the proper distance apart," says John Larkin. "It also shows you if you have unacceptable losses."
The new FarmPro from AUTOFARM combines industry-leading sub-inch accurate RTK AutoSteer from AutoFarm with the Viper Pro state-of-the-art display and control system from Raven Industries. FarmPRO offers a feature-rich steering and application control system that is at the operator's fingertips through a single large-screen display. Some features include WAAS to RTK steering accuracy options, as-applied maps and variable-rate control of up to five products.
The Outback S3 from HEMISPHERE GPS combines the performance of the S2 with the latest developments in Crescent GPS Receiver technology. With straight, contour and circle pivot guidance, the G3 also includes the electronically integrated SteeringGuide. This shows the proper nose heading based on a point well in advance of the tractor's current position and offers the operator steering instructions before getting off-track.
The RAVEN Cruizer guidance system offers a large 5.7-in. high-resolution, touch-screen display and an integrated lightbar system for additional accuracy and guidance. Offering several field views, Cruizer provides accurate sub-meter guidance of 9 in. pass to pass. It can be moved from machine to machine, and uses a cigarette lighter adapter as an in-cab power source.
The PSC-100 lightbar guidance system from TOPCON features a detachable lightbar for optimum field-of-view placement and 5-in.-high visibility color display that operates in separate "day" and "night" modes. You can operate in multiple guidance patterns with on-screen indicators for field area, area applied, speed and row number, while building color coverage maps with field notes for record-keeping.
The GreenSeeker RT200 from NTECH INDUSTRIES allows on-the-go zone management of top/side dress nitrogen. It verifies the amount of nitrogen that the soil has made available in season, then writes a nitrogen prescription for the sprayer to deliver. This helps eliminate costly excess application. The GreenSeeker RT200 uses real-time integrated optical sensing to measure the crop status and variably apply the crop's nitrogen requirements.
The ProPlant automatic seed rate controller from MICRO-TRAK SYSTEMS features three pre-set seed rates and on-the-go, seed-rate adjustment. Using less than 3 gal. of hydraulic flow per planter section, ProPlant features variable-rate seeding capability, auto section control and as-applied maps. Wireless remote control makes calibration a one-person task, eliminating the changing of chains and sprockets. The firm also introduced its MT-3405D dual channel automatic rate controller that simultaneously controls the application of two products from one controller.