8 September 1995

Case to go it alone in development of site-specific tackle

AN in-house design team at the Case combine factory in the USA is developing a yield mapping system for Axial-Flow combines, writes Peter Hill.

Next years models will incorporate all the necessary modifications to accept the system hardware, which includes crop weighing and moisture recording equipment and an in-cab control box and data collector.

According to Case chief engineer (current product), Dan Olmstead, precision or site-specific farming is an important development the company intends to be involved in. But unlike firms which have adopted bought-in technology, notably the RDS system, Case has decided to go it alone.

That is partly because in the United States and some other markets, the company sells a range of field equipment as well as tractors and combines. It therefore has scope to develop not just yield mapping but control systems for such operations as fertiliser application and crop seeding.

Case applications specialist Tim Bender believes site-specific farming will become an important part of arable crop production. "Research in the USA is developing sensors for all sorts of factors influencing crop production so that variations can be mapped, investigated and perhaps corrected," says Mr Bender.

"Examples include soil clay content, organic matter (using light reflectance), soil nitrate content (using a rolling disc sensor) and weed type using sensors for the identification of leaf patterns."

Dealers and farmers in the US have been shown a prototype yield mapping system which will be available to them in limited numbers for next years harvest.

Mass weighing system

On-combine equipment includes a load-cell type continuous mass weighing system located in the top of the clean grain elevator for yield recording, and an electrical conductivity moisture meter.

A receiver for satellite positioning signals, a processor using Case-developed software which combines both yield and position data to generate computer yield maps, and solid-state "smart cards" for data transfer, complete the system. &#42