While the majority of the survey’s results will be presented in the June 2013 issue of CropLife magazine, recently completed analysis provides insights into how the technologies are being perceived. Survey respondents (ag retailers) were asked to categorize different precision technologies by how they perceive the anticipated future of these products.
According to survey results, as new technologies emerge, such as the variable-rate seeding and chlorophyll sensors, the impact will be different than for more mature technologies. These technologies are new and used by few, so growers are more likely to have questions and potential concerns with applicators and retailers using them. For example, promoting nitrogen application with a chlorophyll sensor might create confusion about what the sensor is and how the technology works. Retailers will have to think critically about which technologies they decide to adopt and how they decide to promote them.
Technology allows farmers to do what they do and do it well. Commodity Classic is the place to share what’s new in the technology world and Trimble was there to do just that.
During the event I spoke with Southern Region Distribution Manager for Trimble, Brad Rouse. He pointed out that Trimble’s early technology was in steering, but has evolved into much more. The message they still share with growers is they can interface with any vehicle, regardless of brand and make them more efficient.
“Connected Farm is our big push right now to allow the grower to move data to machine, back to the office. Whether it be from any kind of field application, such as variable rate planting or prescription maps. So, to be able to wirelessly move that data around from machine to office is our focus right now.”
Many growers who passed through the Trimble booth wanted to know how their software would work with equipment they currently had on their farms and what the biggest advantage would be.
“The big advantage is to reduce the inputs, which is very expensive today and impacts the bottom line in a positive way.”
There’s a lot of information out there. So much, in fact, that some producers can find themselves drowning in a sea of data as they go from machine to machine trying to collect and manage it all. That’s where our friends from Trimble come in. During the recent National Farm Machinery Show, Trimble’s Mike Martinez talked about their Connected Farm system that allows easier and more seamless data gathering.
“Everything that’s out on the farm today that’s precision farming is collecting data. It’s always been a challenge what to do with that data, how to get it to the place it’s most productive. So Connected Farm grabs the data without much user intervention and wirelessly collecting that in one centralized location so that the farm manager, the farm operator can then make intelligent business decisions based on that data,” Mike said.
Not only does Connected Farm give you vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity in the field, but it also lets people back in the office tap into the technology in the field to troubleshoot any problems within minutes. It also has productivity reporting to help decision-makers see what is and isn’t working, as well as what problems are being faced in the field.
For producers concerned about the security of their information, Mike said there are some extremely secure technologies out there that Trimble is using. “Multiple redundant servers, your data is not going to get lost or hacked into. We’re using global standards for data security, and we hold that very, very important.”
And since you need to make sure the information your gathering is valid, in the video below, you can also see Mike explain how Trimble’s Correction Services helps make sure the data you’re using is accurate:
Trimble introduced a new high-accuracy correction service available to the agriculture market. The Trimble RangePoint RTX correction service is an introductory, cost-effective correction service available to farmers across the contiguous U.S. as well as most of Canada, South America, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The RangePoint RTX service is ideal for broadacre agriculture applications. For 2013, all compatible devices—the Trimble CFX-750 display, FmX integrated display and the AG-372 GNSS receiver—are eligible for an introductory, free 12-month subscription to the RangePoint RTX correction service.
The new service uses satellite broadcast capabilities to deliver real time accuracies of better than 50 centimeter (20 inch) repeatable, or a superior 15 centimeter (6 inch) pass-to-pass, and does not require the use of traditional reference station infrastructure. Trimble RTX technology supports both GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations, increasing accuracy and reliability for users by leveraging the availability of multiple satellite systems. As a result, the RangePoint RTX service can provide a more accurate, reliable correction solution than some of the traditional Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS), and is also available in certain geographic areas where SBAS is not currently accessible.
The Trimble RangePoint RTX service is expected to be available by March 2013.
Also from Trimble… a new feature of the Connected Farm app which automatically calculates the recommended nitrogen rates for crop readings taken by the GreenSeeker handheld crop sensor, an easy-to-use measurement device designed to assess the health of a crop.
The Connected Farm app allows farmers to conduct scouting and mapping activities from their smartphones and tablets. The new feature provides an easier and more efficient process for recording crop readings and determining application rates using the GreenSeeker handheld crop sensor.
Farmers using the GreenSeeker handheld can now enter their crop readings into the Connected Farm app, which will calculate the recommended nitrogen rate from each reading and geo-reference the location. Logged data is sent to www.connectedfarmso.com users can view their information online.
The new Connected Farm app feature is expected to be available in January 2013 for both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
Trimble introduced several new features to further enhance its Connected Farm™ solution. Connected Farm is an integrated operations management solution that provides information exchange across the entire farm. New features include additional viewing capabilities between vehicles operating in the same field, and reports on the productivity and delay of field equipment.
Trimble’s Connected Farm vehicle-to-vehicle communication allows real-time wireless data transmission between multiple vehicles and mixed fleets operating in the same field. The new features allow operators to:
• View virtual tank levels of nearby devices that are planting or applying product, allowing applicators to coordinate seed and chemical refill.
• Share instant yield, instant moisture, and combined coverage layers for yield and moisture with different displays that are in the same field.
• Share “as-applied” coverage layers between displays for vehicles conducting the same operation with the same material.
• View coverage data from multiple vehicles in the same field that are performing different operations without affecting row shutoff. For example, when tilling and planting simultaneously, operators can assess which areas have been covered by the other vehicle.
• View a combined coverage map with a legend of multiple vehicles in the same field to quickly pinpoint each vehicle’s covered area.
Trimble announced a strategic alliance with Great American Insurance Group to help farmers automate their crop insurance reporting under the USDA Federal Crop Insurance Program. The new recordkeeping system makes it possible for Farm Works™ users to submit their crop insurance records electronically to Great American Insurance Group. The time-saving solution makes it simple for farmers to transfer planting and harvest data directly to the Great American Insurance Group systems from their Farm Works Mapping software.
In 2011 the USDA Federal Crop Insurance Program, administered by the Risk Management Agency, began accepting precision agricultural data which meets the specific requirements listed in RMA’s Crop Insurance Handbook and/or Loss adjustment Manual. The new reporting system will help farmers more quickly, easily and accurately meet USDA requirements related to acreage, planting and harvest. Geo-referenced data may be collected from the tractor or combine cab with a compatible precision farming display such as the Trimble® FmX® integrated display or CFX-750™ touch screen.
Trimble announced that its high-accuracy CenterPoint™ RTX™ correction service is now available for farmers in Australia. The GPS- and GLONASS-enabled correction service is delivered via cellular communications.
Trimble CenterPoint RTX can deliver better than 4 centimeter (1.5 inch) accuracies in real time without the use of traditional reference station RTK infrastructure. The initial coverage area for CenterPoint RTX offers a direct, satellite-delivered correction service over a broad, central swath of North America. The new coverage area offers cellular-delivered corrections throughout Australia, where reliable cellular connections are available.
The global expansion of Trimble’s RTX technology further extends the broad portfolio of correction services offered by Trimble, which already includes OmniSTAR VBS, HP, XP and G2, Trimble VRS Now™ TEC, network-based Trimble CenterPoint VRS, as well as the CenterPoint RTX service.
The Trimble CenterPoint RTX correction service pairs the RTX positioning innovations with convenient, widely available cellular communications delivery. Agriculture customers subscribing to this CenterPoint RTX service will need the Trimble DCM-300 modem and a cellular data plan. The service is compatible with both the Trimble CFX-750™ and FmX® displays.
Trimble introduced yield monitoring and row guidance capabilities providing farmers with an integrated solution to meet their harvesting needs. These new capabilities help farmers record and analyze crop yield and moisture performance in the field, as well as accurately steer combines along rows.
Trimble Yield Monitoring allows growers to accurately view and map yield and moisture data as they harvest, providing instant information about the performance of their crop. In addition, Trimble Yield Monitoring enables growers to track the amount of grain loaded onto the trucks in the field and wirelessly transfer the information back to the office to reconcile yield records using Farm Works® software.
RG-100 Row Guidance
Trimble RG-100 row guidance utilizes sensors on the combine head to signal the Autopilot™ steering system when to adjust to changes in the corn rows. It also centers the combine head on straight, curved, or hillside rows. The system operates in conditions that are traditionally difficult for the combine operator, such as down corn, long passes, and other poor visibility conditions, allowing the combine to harvest more corn without manual input from the farmer.
Trimble Yield Monitoring and RG-100 row guidance are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2011.
AgLeader’s Russ Morman (left) says being at the conference was good for two reasons. “Number one, it’s certainly helped to educate us as to where the peanut industry is going and number two, it’s helped to show the growers in the area that AgLeader is definitely a big power in the precision ag industry and we’re here to help them.”
Robbie Tabb of Ag Technologies, pictured here on the far right, says they love coming to the conference and talking to peanut farmers about how they can help them be more efficient. “The southern peanut grower can stand to increase yield by 300-400 pounds per acre simply by having GPS,” he told me. “That’s why we’ve grown so much in the southeast is because of our peanut growers. They’ve really seen an increase in profitability just by having the guidance on the tractor.”
CenterPoint RTX is a GPS and GLONASS enabled correction service that covers approximately a 1.8 billion acre swath of central North America, extending fromCanada into northern Mexico.
The CenterPoint RTX correction service can deliver a fully-converged position in less than one minute at startup within the five central U.S. “corn belt” states from Nebraskato Illinois, so farmers can begin work immediately. For the area outside of the five U.S. states, the CenterPoint RTX correction service provides the same 4 centimeter (1.5 inch) repeatable accuracy, but farmers will experience additional convergence time to reach full accuracy. By using Trimble’s FastRestart technology, this convergence time can be reduced and full accuracy can be achieved in less than 3 minutes.
The corrections are satellite-delivered directly to the GNSS receiver, so there are no additional hardware costs such as radios, antennas or cellular data plans.
Trimble announced that it has acquired privately-held MyTopo based in Billings, Mont. MyTopo is a leading provider of print and digital maps for outdoor enthusiasts. The acquisition expands Trimble’s ability to offer unique map content and new outdoor-centric products while simultaneously enhancing its popular mobile apps—Trimble Outdoors, AllSport GPS, Geocache Navigator, Cabela’s Recon Hunt, and Backpacker GPS Trails.
MyTopo offers several products to outdoor consumers using its topographic, satellite and aerial photograph map imagery. Products include print-on-demand custom waterproof maps, Internet-based map layers, digital map tiles for mobile devices and Terrain Navigator, a suite of mapping software products.
Trimble Outdoors’ customers can access the new maps at www.trimbleoutdoors.com. The digital maps are available on more than 300 smartphones and mobile handsets that run Trimble Outdoors mobile apps.
Trimble announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets related to the OmniSTAR™ Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal corrections business from Fugro N.V. The acquisition is expected to significantly expand Trimble’s worldwide ability to provide corrections services for land based agriculture, construction, mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) and survey applications. Trimble and Fugro also entered into a multi-year service agreement which includes Fugro’s ongoing operation of its correction network and satellite service broadcast systems that power the OmniSTAR service. Fugro’s offshore marine business is unaffected. Closing of the transaction, anticipated in the first quarter, is subject to certain closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
OmniSTAR provides space-based GNSS correction services that can improve the accuracy of a GNSS receiver for precise positioning applications. Currently, there are four levels of OmniSTAR service: “VBS” offering sub-meter positioning, “XP” delivering better than 20 centimeter accuracy and “HP” delivering greater than 10 centimeter accuracy. In addition, the new OmniSTAR “G2” service combines GPS plus GLONASS based corrections to provide decimeter level positioning.
Trimble offers a new Field-IQ system that controls and monitors seed and fertilizer delivery capabilities to enhance variable-rate functionality.
The Field-IQ system pairs seamlessly with the guidance capabilities of the Trimble FmX integrated display or CFX 750 touch screen display, which both run Trimble’s unique overlap detection technology. Farmers using the Field-IQ crop input control system for seed placement have reported average savings of 5-10 percent from reduced seed input costs and less waste.
Trimble’s Field-IQ system is compatible with a wide variety of crop and application equipment, providing monitoring for planters, air seeders for small grains, or granular strip till systems. Seed monitoring on row crop planting systems allows operators to obtain information related to how their seeding system is performing. This includes factors such as singulation, skips and multiples, and quality of spacing for an entire planter average or detail by individual row. For fertilizer, variable rate application capabilities can be driven by a prescription map or real-time with Trimble GreenSeeker sensors.
The Field-IQ system is easy to install on application equipment from a broad range of manufacturers, allowing farmers and custom applicators to use and enhance the performance capabilities of their existing equipment without having to start from scratch.
“The new Field-IQ enhancements optimize planter operation by delivering more accurate seed placement, giving the operators more confidence in their planting applications,” said Erik Arvesen, vice president and general manager of Trimble’s Agriculture Division. “With the addition of rate and application control for up to six different materials, the system now manages functions that span the entire growing season.”
The new seeding and multi-rate capabilities for the Field-IQ system are expected to be available in March 2011. Contact a local Trimble dealer at www.trimble.com/locator for more information.
Farmers and retailers can track the location of their vehicles with Trimble’s Connected Farm solution, thanks to new Farm Works Dispatch software and its new DCM-300 modem.
The additional functionality provided by a Dispatch service plan offers farm managers a visual tool for organizing fleet movement to save fuel costs and increase equipment efficiency. Through email alerts and on-screen maps, a farm manager can easily track the location of their equipment including sprayers, spreaders, tender trucks and harvesters.
By integrating Trimble GPS and information management solutions, managers can also be notified if vehicles are stolen or moved into unauthorized non-farm areas. The system is compatible with Connected Farm Sync wireless data management software and Trimble VRS Now Ag cellular Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS correction services.
The Dispatch software works with Trimble’s Sync wireless data management and goes beyond simple vehicle tracking by also allowing the transfer of A-B lines, yield and application maps, work orders and other maps between vehicles and back to the farm office. This creates efficiency during busy production times such as tillage, fertilizing, planting, spraying and harvest.
“Dispatch software was designed to give farm managers an all-in-one solution for tracking the movement and productivity of their machinery fleet,” said Erik Arvesen, vice president and general manager for Trimble’s Agriculture Division. “With more information at their fingertips, it will be easier for managers to see where additional efficiency can be gained. These capabilities can mean more efficient production, less wear and tear on equipment, or more efficient use of inputs such as fuel, fertilizer and chemicals.”
The Trimble Farm Works Dispatch asset tracking software is expected to be available in March 2011. Contact a local Trimble dealer at www.trimble.com/locator for more information.
An new multi-use DCM-300 modem from Trimble provides access to its VRS RTK signal plus handle wireless data transfer between field and farm or retailer office.
The new modem can be used to access Trimble VRS Now Ag RTK correction service and to enable Connected Farm wireless field data transfer. The DCM-300 modem is also compatible with the new Farm Works Dispatch asset tracking software, an expansion of the Connected Farm solution. Dispatch software uses wireless communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) to manage vehicle movement and productivity.
The DCM-300 modem is available in two models for use on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular networks, such as AT&T, or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) cellular networks, such as Verizon. The modem is available with a single data plan subscription, which will be provided by Trimble, offering farmers a cost-saving solution to consolidate data plans under one subscription.
The DCM-300 offers efficient access to both Connected Farm and VRS Now RTK sub-inch accurate correction service. Job orders, coverage maps and A-B lines may be transferred wirelessly to multiple vehicles in different locations for follow-up operations, or within the same field for accurate overlap protection. Farmers can save time without the need to hand-deliver electronic data cards or jump drives from the farm office.
“The DCM-300 is an expansion of Trimble’s goal to continue to develop solutions that simplify a variety of farming applications taking place, often simultaneously,” said Erik Arvesen, vice president and general manager for Trimble’s Agriculture Division. “The new modem enhances the data transfer and guidance capabilities of the Trimble FmX integrated display as well as the CFX-750 touch screen display, putting the Connected Farm within reach of anyone who has a reliable wireless data carrier signal.”