The advantage of the new Reichhardt approach is that the extreme accuracy refers to the following implement, too, no matter how wide it is or how steep the side slope being worked across.
“We are testing our systems with modern high output implements, where problems with accuracy in automatic steering systems can occur,” says company marketing manager Andrea Reichhardt.
The time kinematic (RTK) Ultra Guidance claims to be the first to overcome these difficulties by introducing independent GPS guidance for both tractor and implement.
It uses a receiver with three antennae on the field boundary. One is for the GPS receiver on the tractor, one for the tractor steering control and the last for the implement controller. The system also measures any lateral inclination in the working width and this is brought into the calculations that keep the implement exactly on track.
“We guarantee with this approach that implement side-slope drift will become a thing of the past,” adds Ms Reichhardt.
At about £24,000, this top-end solution to GPS tractor and implement control will find its home with only the biggest operators.
But the higher accuracy offered by the separate tractor and implement control can also be had with the company’s much cheaper (basic outlay about £14,000) Ultra Guidance PSR system.
Even very wide implements can be controlled precisely by the Reichardt “Ultra Guidance” steering system to an accuracy of 2cm . Any incline is taken into the calculations to ensure that implement side drift is corrected.
This provides linear GPS steering along with ultrasonic, mechanical and camera-led tracking devices. Ms Reichhardt says the multi-sensory approach is aimed at farms with a fairly varied rotation.
“Each system works with up to eight tractors, with the sensors able to be switched from machine to machine. For instance, straight GPS steering on its own can be used with the combine or drill and ultrasonic sensors for accurate guidance of tractor and implement in row crops. The camera system for precision in very small vegetable rows and the mechanical guidance in taller row crops such as maize or sunflowers.”
The modular conception of this package allows more than one of the sensory systems to be used at the same time with working speeds of up to 20kph (12mph).
Reichhardt offers two methods of linking its guidance systems to the tractor steering: Either a removable electrically-powered “steering assistant” moving the wheel in the cab or a system that controls the tractor through the steering hydraulics.