John Deere has revealed a number of planned developments for its GPS systems that should improve availability of high level accuracy.
The machinery maker says sales of its precision farming systems are up despite the overall downturn in tractor and implement sales.
The firm’s Agricultural Management Solutions (AMS) range offers growers and machine operators a choice of systems primarily based around GPS technology.
In the guidance department, Deere now offers an auto-steering set-up to fit any make or model of machine as well as a cheaper parallel tracking system.
For harvest, AMS-equipped combines and foragers can record yield and moisture readings. As well as providing valuable information for those farmers interested in varying inputs relative to crop yields, this has a wider usefulness.
Alongside GPS-based records of spreader and sprayer operations, this information can be stored for crop assurance and food traceability purposes. John Deere works with computer software specialist Farmade to provide an office-PC programme for farmers in the UK.
The company claims that this recording/monitoring system can halve the amount of time farm managers spend on crop records.
But all this comes at a cost (see table) which must be justified. Those growers that need high level accuracy must in invest in a Real Time Kinetic (RTK) system, which includes an £11,980 on-farm base station correction signal.
John Deere plans to build up a network of base stations which will let subscribers log on to locally corrected signals without having to pay for their own base station.
Another development which is already fitted to the firm’s self-propelled sprayers in the USA will soon be available to European sprayer users.
A GPS-controlled spray shut-off system senses when each boom section reaches the headland and closes the respective valves to eliminate any overlaps on angled headlands.
John Deere auto-steering systems
£9,000 – £10,000
£12,000 (plus £600 a year subscription)
Real Time Kinetic (RTK)
+/- 2cm (+/- 0.5in)