Raising the precision guidance bar

31 Jul, 2009 02:00 AM
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Discussing the features of the Trimble FM-1000 display and implement monitoring control at a recent trial day were CNH WA representative Sarah Mosconi (centre), Boekeman Machinery precision guidance specialist Peter Crippen (left), and Trayning farmer Trevor Fowler.
Discussing the features of the Trimble FM-1000 display and implement monitoring control at a recent trial day were CNH WA representative Sarah Mosconi (centre), Boekeman Machinery precision guidance specialist Peter Crippen (left), and Trayning farmer Trevor Fowler.

UNDOUBTEDLY the buzz words in agriculture at the moment are precision guidance.

This new-age technology will, depending on the source, provide cost-saving benefits anywhere between two per cent to 20pc.

And anything that reduces input costs obviously gets a lot of attention.

Initially there was satisfaction in achieving a pass-by-pass accuracy of 10cm (4in) or less but now with the emergence of RTK (Real Time Kinematic) GPS systems, farmers can achieve plus or minus 2cm.

The reasons are fairly obvious for seeding because the inter-row can be sown on in standing stubble or in the row to pick up residual nutrients and moisture.

But what hasn't been spoken about much in conversations on the subject is the status of the seeding bar.

RTK will ensure the tractor is doing exactly what it's told to do but with the seeding bar it's a different story.

Generally on inclines or undulating country, there is a measure of drift with the bars which can be as much as 20cm or more off line.

Anybody sowing on the inter-row to avoid stubble could find their bars drifting into stubble and causing a blockage.

It also might drift back into last year's row where there is a possibility of disease problems.

Alternatively if you are sowing in a row to pick up moisture and residual nutrients, bar drift may cause less than optimum germinations and some stubble handling problems.

An expensive solution is to equip the bar with large coulters which require additional frames to hold the coulters and additional hydraulics to steer the coulters as they compensate for side drag.

This has never been seen as the answer and very few farmers have gone down this pathway, resigned to living with the problem of bar drift.

But Trimble CNH Asia Pacific account manager Justin Van Viersen said a low-cost solution would soon be available.

With the help of Boekeman Machinery, he has been trialling an implement monitoring system to show where the implement is in relation to the tractor to within 2cm RTK accuracy.

Trials are being done using Boekeman Machinery's RTK base station network to show farmers the implement monitoring system operating through the new Trimble FM-1000 display.

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