Cereal 2018: App offers low-cost way into precision farming

Growers will be able to vary their arable crop inputs using just an iPad thanks to a new low-cost app.

Users of Hutchinsons’ Omnia precision agronomy tool will be able to transfer variable-rate field data with just a click of a button from the office straight to a tractor in the field, removing the need to use memory sticks.

This means fields will be able to be drilled, fertilised and sprayed taking into account Omnia’s field performance and cost-of-production mapping tools.

See also: How a Hampshire farmer is managing contrasting soils

By connecting straight into the machine’s controller, the app allows growers to use the existing variable-rate capabilities of their fertiliser spreaders, drills and sprayers without the need to unlock or update the controller, which can be an expensive option.

Hutchinsons Omnia

Simplicity

While the app is primarily aimed at small- to medium-scale growers who have not yet invested in auto-steer technology, instead making use of the iPad’s own built-in GPS system, the ease at which data can be transferred to the field is expected to appeal to all growers.

Precision technology manager Oliver Wood said the driving factors for Hutchinsons in developing the app were to create an affordable and simple way of accessing variable-rate technology.

“The data transfer element of the process has always been a challenging area for farmers, so we have done anything we can to make it easier,” he said.

While the app is compatible with a wide range of machinery via its connect box, it can only be used with Hutchinson’s Omnia technology, and will cost an additional £300 per year.