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High-tech tools and more on display at Commodity Classic

Agriculture.com Staff 02/28/2008 @ 2:47pm

Check out some of the latest precision tools and other new products introduced at this week's 2008 Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee.

Just five years ago the cost of adding a guidance system to a tractor or self-propelled sprayer would have set you back five figures. But you can now equip a vehicle with a lightbar system for less than $1,500, farmers attending the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee, discovered today. And an additional $400 buys you accuracy to within six to eight inches with Trimble's AgGPS EZ-Guide 250.

Offering a 4.3 inch color display that provides real-time, where-applied mapping and the capability for advanced guidance patterns "this entry-level system FreeForm guidance pattern allows operators to work in different patterns and shapes that best fit the layout and contours of a specific field," adds Erik Arvesen of Trimble's Agricultural Division.

Other EZ-Guide 250 features include:

  • Guidance graphics
  • OnPath Advanced Filter technology that provides consistent accuracy in areas where some satellites may be obstructed.
  • Built-in GPS receiver that is integrated with the EZ-Guide 250's system display making it easy to move between farm vehicles.

The base price of the EZ-Guide 250 is $1,495, which includes a low-profile antenna. An optional AG15 antenna, which increases the EZ-Guide 250's pass-to-pass accuracy of six to eight inches, lists for $399.

Still considered Buck Rogers technology of the future for the rest of agriculture, remote control operation is a full reality for center pivot sprinkler irrigators.

Driven to be more efficient by higher fuel (pumping) costs, restricted water availability and lack of qualified labor, a number of center pivot manufacturers are offering control systems that work with cellular phone service which allows full operating control of their machines and even control over related equipment like chemigation pumps.

Irrigators attending the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee, got a first-hand look at one such system being offered by Lindsay Corporation. Remote telemetry units in use with Lindsay's FieldNET system link each center pivot to a secure Internet server using either radio or cellular communication. With this technology farmers receive system alarms as cell-phone text messages, automated phone calls or e-mail alerts.

A map-view feature of FieldNET superimposes pivot symbols on a satellite images of growers' fields. Clicking on a center pivot symbol shows the current status of the machine in an instant. The systems also offers:

  • Full control of all pivot functions
  • Pivot location in the field in real time
  • Water usage reports.

"The labor savings from using FieldNET alone justifies the cost of the technology," adds Reese Andrews of Lindsay. "And the advance will be crucial in areas where water application rates are restricted."

A new software program from AutoFarm promises "to streamline their work and reduce many tedious tasks," explains Justin Larouche of AutoFarm.

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