Technology guidance offered for 2011
Sid Parks is GROWMARK’s manager of precision farming.
Posted on: 1/14/2011 8:23:00 AM
In this new year, many of you will be evaluating products or technology for your farming operations.
There will be numerous opportunities to attend grower meetings, trade shows, or have direct interactions with vendors, each of them holding the “promise” of improved efficiency, and bigger yields.
One topic I offer for your consideration: “Do you have the ability to keep track of where you are as you navigate your fields this spring?”
Certainly one of the top technologies of past few years for precision ag activities is RTK (Real Time Kinematic) GPS differential correction.
Adoption has been steady, but many producers still don’t take full advantage of this tool. Accuracy varies with product type and brand, but auto-steering and auto boom/clutch control on sprayers and planters all can benefit from RTK accuracy.
In the early days of RTK, most systems utilized a radio receiver to pick up a local transmission from a receiver mounted on a tripod or tower. These FM systems are line-of-sight, meaning topography influences distance from the broadcast tower.
Elevation and frequency of repeating signals every few miles all contribute to accuracy and ease of operation. Most tower systems weren’t networked together, allowing for path shift and signal degradation as distances increased.
More recent technologies offer advantages by utilizing a wireless modem in the roving vehicle rather than a radio to access differential correction. The correction signal is transmitted via the Internet and broadcast via cell phone towers, meaning if you have cell phone service, you probably can use this superior system.
Additional advantages include the potential to transmit such files as recommendations or applications, because you can have two-way access to the Internet.
A relatively new service available to producers in Illinois is MyWay RTK. Most FS companies are authorized dealers of this service.
One big advantage of this system is the design allows compatibility with equipment that uses industry-standard, open architecture GPS protocols.
This is especially beneficial to producers using equipment from multiple manufacturers, or those who work with service providers with different brands of technology from their own.
There are four basics you will need to participate: 1)An implement that is “RTK ready” 2)A cellular modem 3)A data plan from your local cell phone service provider, and 4)User credentials from MyWay RTK.
Contact your local FS crop specialist or precision coordinator for help with these or other production questions.
Sid Parks is GROWMARK’s manager of precision farming. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.