There’s no doubt that inputs have a big impact on farm profits. While you can’t always control crop prices, you can decrease variable input costs with the help of precision ag technology. But how much can you really save?
Return on investment (ROI) is important — you always want to be sure your investment is worth it. To find out how much you can save on your farm, Trimble Agriculture has created two ROI calculators to show you just how much using our innovative precision ag technology can pay off!
RTX Input Savings Calculator
In your current setup, you’re likely overlapping between passes when you’re tilling, planting, spraying, and harvesting. Depending on your land, machinery, and operator, this overlap could be anywhere between a few inches to a few feet — and each overlapping inch means higher input and labor costs.
By utilizing CenterPoint RTX correction technology, you’ll correct your position’s accuracy to 1”, which means you can substantially decrease your overlap between passes — and a smaller overlap means lower labor and input costs.
Let’s say you have a 6,000-acre corn farm. You use a 30-foot planter with a one-foot overlap to plant seed that costs $60/acre. By utilizing the RTX calculator, you find that you can save $10,918.50! But that only accounts for planting — let’s look at herbicides and pesticides.
You use a 60-foot boom sprayer with a 1.5’ overlap to apply products at the cost of $56/acre. By utilizing RTX, you’ll save $7,816!
When you combine the costs of planting and spraying, you’ll find you save just shy of 20K. Plus, we didn’t account for the costs of fertilizing, harvesting, or spraying multiple times.
WeedSeeker 2 ROI Calculator
No matter what type of crops you’re growing, herbicides are a major input cost. If you are dealing with herbicide-resistant weeds, your costs are even higher.
You’re probably already taking steps to reduce your herbicide costs, such as properly calibrating your sprayer and utilizing the proper adjuvants. Even so, you’re still overapplying herbicides! Not only does this overapplication of herbicides lead to unnecessary costs, but it can also harm the environment and damage your crops.
Our WeedSeeker 2 spot spray system allows you to decrease your herbicide applications by only applying the product where weeds are present. This leads to a decrease in the amount of herbicide you need since you’re not spraying weed-free sections.
To determine how much the WeedSeeker 2 can help you save, you’ll need to know information about the herbicide, your equipment, and your fields.
Let’s say you have a 2000 acre field with 30% weed pressure. You’re using a sprayer that has a 60’ boom and 1,000-gallon tank. The herbicide costs $5.25/oz, and you’re applying 5oz of product per acre and 18 gallons of mixture per acre.
Using a conventional spray system will cost you $52,500. But when you implement Weedseeker 2, you can cut costs to $15,750! Plus, you’ll need 11 tank fills rather than 36.
Learn How Much You Can Save
Are you excited to see how much you can save? Then head on over to our calculators to try them for yourself. Feel free to change up your input information to account for various products you use and that new piece of equipment you’re considering.
Automation is a hot topic these days, as companies worldwide aim to streamline various systems related to manufacturing and production. The agriculture industry has begun to introduce this technology, with established autonomous solutions such as autosteering and self-propelled machines prevalent throughout the market.
Trimble Inc. is excited to announce a collaborative partnership with HORSCH, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of modern agricultural technology, that will focus on autonomy in agriculture.
The partnership will be centered on developing solutions, including autonomous machines and workflows, which speaks to many exciting developments to come.
Trimble Agriculture and HORSCH
This collaboration of global ag leaders will surpass autonomously controlling machines and extend to full workflow automation from the office to the field. Trimble is no stranger to autonomous solutions, pioneering the industry with expertise in autosteering and guidance systems, path planning, and in-field process automation with HORSCH’s equipment fleet.
HORSCH focuses on the issues facing farmers and strives to anticipate farmers’ future needs. They are constantly developing new ideas to continue to meet the future and anticipated demands of the agriculture industry.
“We consider automation in agriculture to be one of our next key technologies, and our goal is to ultimately deliver a platform of various applications to help farmers meet the challenges of the future,” said Theo Leeb, managing director for HORSCH.
Forward Thinking Partnership
Trimble and HORSCH will strive to build a future for autonomous machines and workflows in the agricultural industry. They previously collaborated on implementing control technologies with much success and are extending this initiative to include full-machine control solutions.
The companies are currently implementing a high level of automation and driver support with steering systems, which allows a driver to perform additional in-cab tasks during active field work.
This technology partnership will enable the companies to deliver unique, innovative solutions — with farmers at the forefront.
“We are building new customer-focused solutions as part of our existing connected farm ecosystem to deliver a unique and compelling solution for our customers—simplifying the complex, logistical and operational challenges of modern agriculture,” said Finlay Wood, business area director for Trimble Autonomous Solutions.
“Combining the forward-thinking nature of HORSCH with Trimble’s cutting-edge autonomous technology creates an opportunity for the companies to develop innovative applications for the OEM and Trimble’s agriculture network.”
Building Blocks for the Future
The first phase of the collaboration will improve machine performance and reduce operating errors in sprayers. Aiming to improve the challenges that sprayer operators face, including planning, machine control, and logistics, automation can significantly reduce the driver’s workload. This technology will establish a basis for operating fully autonomous machines in the future.
“The unique opportunity with this collaboration is not that we are presenting a future utopia but that we are moving step-by-step towards autonomy in a pragmatic, consistent manner,” said Leeb.
Farmers know their fields – they catch the curve of every hill, anticipate where water collects after a heavy rain, and remember just the right spot to catch sunsets at the end of a long day.
Precision agriculture takes that unwritten familiarity and knowledge – the kind only acquired through hard work and daily commitment – to the next level with accurate data and modern technological application.
Farm with Trimble Precision
Having a Trimble display in your cab gives you industry-leading performance with the ability to accurately monitor and map field information in real time, providing the right bridge for technological advances to improve your existing operations.
Our range of Guidance and Steering precision ag solutions provides the right solution for maximizing your output, whether you’re a small farm or a large operation.
Stay on Track with Automated Steering
Field work is hard work, and our automated and assisted steering systems take off the burden. Automated steering helps eliminate bad passes, skips and overlaps by using mapped data for automatic terrain compensation. You can work more efficiently without working harder, as the technology does this heavy lifting for you. All the data you need is at your fingertips as you work, easily accessible through the in-cab displays.
Choosing The Best Display for Your Needs
Every farm is different. They use different equipment, vary in size, grow different crops, and cover various types of terrain. Here’s a handy guide to the Trimble Agriculture in-cab displays to help decide which choice is best for you.
The Trimble TMX-2050™ display system offers a comprehensive package with full internet connectivity that helps you take control of your entire operation. The 12.1-inch, high-definition touch screen offers sharp visuals, an Android-based operating system, and your choice of two display applications. This system is powerful for advanced users or to manage overall operations at their fingertips, yet simple enough for a hired hand to operate during field work.
It’s a rugged, durable choice for a variety of conditions, and accuracy is assured, from the sub-meter to the sub-inch level based on the correction service you select. With a built-in GPS receiver and a video camera input, communicating data is easy. You’ll enjoy the full suite precision ag solutions, including assisted and automated steering, implement control and row guidance, among others. It’s also portable, so you can swap it between vehicles when needed.
With a slightly smaller screen (10.1 inches), the Trimble GFX-750™ offers many of the same features available with a little less real estate needed inside the cab thanks to the roof-mounted guidance controller and screen size. In addition to its built-in internet connectivity, this unit also offers Bluetooth and WiFi communication options.
This mid-range option also offers assisted and automated steering precision ag options and the NAV-900 Guidance Controller. Like the TMX-2050™, the GFX-750™ offers the same hardware durability for use in all field conditions as well as the easy-to-use software platform, so the emphasis is on getting the work done, not trying to navigate an overly complex computer system. This unit is also portable and suitable for use in a variety of vehicles.
If you’re looking to introduce precision agriculture to your operation, Trimble’s GFX-350™ is a great, economical way to see firsthand how this technology can improve your overall ROI. You’ll enjoy the functionality and simplified installation process, too, which gets you ready and out in the field fast.
This unit is also economical for tight cab situations – with a 7-inch touch screen, it’s mountable in the smallest areas. The GFX-350™ is compatible with NAV-500 and NAV-900 guidance controllers. Operators can control up to two channels and 24 sections with this unit, and it’s Bluetooth and WiFi-compatible. With the same durability that all Trimble displays offer, this unit is hardworking and can be with you in the field for every season and across all equipment brands.
Discover the Possibilities
Using a Trimble in-cab display doesn’t just offer the opportunity to maximize your operation’s profitability. It gives you the ability to work smarter and faster, increasing your downtime to catch those sunsets a little more often, but from outside of the cab.
Learn more about Trimble’s top in-cab display options for your farm! It’s easy to find and connect with your local Trimble Authorized Dealer using our Reseller Locator.
As planting season quickly approaches, it’s prime time for farmers to take action on ways to be more efficient, increase yields and make the planting process as easy as possible. With this in mind, many turn to precision farming tools, equipment and services.
Starting the Season
Planting is one of the most critical steps in the production cycle, signifying the start of the growing season. Each crop has its own growing cycle, so we realize the accuracy and timing for each type of plant is of the utmost importance to farmers. During the planting process, precision farming helps ensure crop placement of the seed while managing the rate of seed or plants being planted. It also creates a record of what was done and in which locations to make the planting process as efficient as possible. Precision farming helps ensure this is all done with the highest accuracy and creates a quicker, more efficient process to do so, helping farmers run lines longer during the day and night. This alleviates the fatigue factors that can lead to errors by semi-automating many of the processes.
Precise Planting + Common Misconceptions
With all the benefits precision farming offers, there are still many myths that exist and dissuade farmers from using this technology to grow their farm businesses.
Some of the biggest deterrents for farmers include falsehoods around cost, time/set up and the ease of use with precision farming equipment or services. Below are a few of the top myths we’ve heard from farmers across the globe, along with the truths on how easy, efficient and less expensive precision ag can be!
Get the Facts: Busting the Myths about Planting Season
1. MYTH : Implement steering is too expensive. I don’t want to invest in something where I don’t see immediate results.
TRUTH: Implement steering pays for itself quickly, especially for specialty crops like carrots and potatoes, because you can ensure the implement stays in position on the bed. This creates a significant advantage for growers by ensuring proper placement, minimizing crop damage and maximizing yields in a short amount of time.
2. MYTH: I’m a very experienced driver, so I don’t need autosteering. It couldn’t possibly help me enough to be worth the expense.
TRUTH: No matter how skilled you are, technology is always more accurate when you remove the fatigue factor and rely on repeatable expertise. Trimble’s selection of assisted and automated steering systems steers your vehicle on-line with the precision you require. Autosteering minimizes any skip or overlap pass-to-pass and allows you to continue to work at night. Days in the cab get long and fatigue is an important consideration. Trimble technology can help reduce fatigue, enabling the tractor to do the driving while you focus your time and energy on other field activities.
3. MYTH: It’s such a hassle to switch GNSS correction technology. I’d rather just keep what I’m doing and alleviate any time or cost needed to change things up. TRUTH: For farmers with an RTK system, you already have all the necessary hardware licenses required to use CenterPoint RTX Fast. Making the change is as easy as subscribing. Once you’ve subscribed there is no setup or ongoing maintenance needs – it just works!
4. MYTH: I’m just getting started in farming OR I have older farming tools. Precision farming equipment is too expensive for me.
TRUTH: Trimble has a variety of solutions that are affordable and can help you increase yields, save time, maximize productivity and increase profits. The GFX-350 display is a great place to start. It is compatible with a variety of steering solutions and expandable if you want to add technology options in the future.
5. MYTH: A/B guidance lines can’t easily be moved from display to display. It will take too long to make changes.
TRUTH: You can use AutoSync to automatically synchronize data across all your Precision-IQ displays with an internet connection or use a USB stick to move guidance lines from one display to the other, creating a very efficient farm.
6. MYTH: ISOBUS control systems are too complicated and unnecessary for my implement.
TRUTH: You can easily retrofit any of your equipment – planters, seeders, sprayers, tractors – to be ISO compatible. This plug and play solution moves the display logic from proprietary display to the implement, allowing all of your ISOBUS compatible equipment to work together. It also expands your overall productivity and use of your tractors and implements so one machine is not tied to one implement.
Start Planting with Precision
As you can see, the benefits of precision farming services outweigh any potential cost, time or efficiency concerns that exist. Contact your local reseller today to see how you can increase yields on your farm through Trimble’s precision ag solutions!
Celebrating the Legacy of Trimble Women in Agriculture
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re talking with some of the women at Trimble that have been instrumental in the agriculture and farming industry. Below, we chat with Trimble Ag team members and dealers to get a glimpse into the past, present and future of ag, including:
Carol Snyder – Ag Training Manager, Trimble Agriculture
DeImna Heiken – Triangle Ag-Services
Elaine Daly – Field Applications Engineer, Trimble Agriculture
Lisa Wetherbee – General Manager, Trimble Advanced Positioning
Taylor Close – Agriculture Software Product Manager, Trimble Connected Farm
Tell us a little bit about your background. What got you started in agriculture and how did you end up at Trimble?
Carol: I grew up on a farm in Western Colorado. Not many people get to have that tie to the land anymore as they’re generations away from the farm. There is something about that tie to nature and working with the land that resonates with me. I went to college for Ag Business and got my master’s degree for teaching while working with a precision farming company. I’ve now been training at Trimble for nearly nine years – it’s the perfect fit to combine my passion for ag and desire to teach.
DeImna: I grew up on a small farm and worked for a seed company during high school. While the other high school girls were working at fast food restaurants, I was cross-pollinating peas and documenting plant stages. I was the first girl they ever hired to work in the field! After a year as a music major in college, I realized I liked being outside and changed my major. Now, my husband works with me at Triangle Ag, and our son is poised to take over the company – making it a true family farming business!
Elaine: I was born into an agriculture family. My family has been farmers and ranchers for many generations, so the love of the industry was instilled in me by both the 4-H and FFA youth programs. Through an internship at a local Co-op, I became interested in the soil and crop sciences field that led me to the precision agriculture industry. I’ve now been at Trimble for 10 years and love working in the field with farmers to help them utilize precision farming tools to increase productivity and efficiencies.
Lisa:I come from a long line of farmers – people who pioneered, homesteaded, tended the land and worked remarkably hard. I was the first generation in my family to grow up off the farm, so having the opportunity to design and develop some of the early manual GPS guidance systems for agriculture was both technologically exciting and also made me feel a part of that history. Though I came to Trimble 27 years ago for aerospace, I’ve spent a good amount of time in the ag division and now oversee the correction services team who help farmers stay on their lines year-after-year.
Taylor: I grew up in a farming community in Colorado. Out of high school, I knew I wanted to be in Ag. While attending the University of Wyoming for agronomy and soil sciences, I interned and was eventually hired on full-time at a Co-op in Northeastern Colorado that became a beta test site for Trimble precision ag. Two years ago, I came to Trimble for the Connected Farm division. In this position, I get to develop customer segmentation and value propositions to figure out what we need to build and how we add value. I couldn’t think of a cooler place to be!
What excites you about the intersection of the agriculture industry and Trimble, and why do you do what you do?
DeImna: I’ve been a Trimble ag reseller since the early days of Trimble Ag – around 2000. I had worked with other brands of precision ag technology, but Trimble was a whole new player on the scene. I’ve heard so many amazing success stories – from growers thanking me for an autosteer system that allows them to work longer hours without fatigue; wives telling me their husbands aren’t as crabby and sore; some have avoided shoulder surgery because they aren’t don’t have to turn and check behind them as they steer – all because of the products Trimble creates that have improved farmers lives significantly. These benefits aren’t just marketing lines, they really make a big difference in people’s lives!
Taylor: No surprise, but the technology. There are a lot of regulations coming down across the world that will make farming even harder soon, but the technology we now provide can help make things easier for farmers. Whether they like it or not, farmers are going to need the technology more than ever to run a profitable and successful business.
What has been the most exciting part of your career in ag?
Lisa: When I joined Trimble, there wasn’t an agriculture division. It was such a thrill to be part of Trimble’s earliest work in agriculture – figuring out how we could make a difference, working long hours taking feedback from users and testing various algorithms to make them work with different kinds of fields and ways of working a field. We were such a small group “in the trenches” back then – even as an engineer, you got to experience so many aspects of the business. Everything was a first for us, which was both intense and exciting. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in the past 25 years. The things we’re working on today were just science fiction back then. Over the years, I’ve worked in several businesses across Trimble. There’s something special about our ag customers, so it’s gratifying to be a part of making their work easier and helping them reach their goals.
Elaine: The most exciting part of my career has been to be involved in cutting-edge technology. When I started in the industry in 1996, GPS technology in agriculture seemed like an illusion to me – how could someone be able to pinpoint your position from a satellite thousands of miles away!? Accuracy at that time was roughly 100 meters due to the military use of Selective Availability, so farmers couldn’t see the value. When I installed and demonstrated the first lightbar guidance systems in the late ‘90s, I was hooked because I could see how this technology could keep the equipment online while replacing traditional foam and mechanical marker methods. This technology quickly became assisted and automated steering systems that we know today with repeatable accuracy.
Any obstacles you’ve had to overcome and/or advice for females looking to get into the industry?
Carol: While the Ag industry has been predominantly male-dominated, I’ve never felt like I wasn’t accepted or treated the same just because I was a female. Everyone in the industry is open-minded, and they’re willing to accept someone for their skill set rather than their sex – much more so than other male-dominated industries. Agriculture is so broad – it’s not just feeding the livestock or planting crops. There are so many different facets of ag, and plenty of opportunities for women to have a role. My advice is to just go for it and don’t let anything hold you back.
Elaine: Agriculture has been a predominantly male industry and acceptance of women is not always easily given by farmers because we were not seen as knowledgeable or experienced sources. My late father instilled in me at a young age that I could do anything I wanted to, as well as any man, if I had the knowledge and skills needed to perform the tasks. He treated me the same as my brothers and expected nothing less from me. When I began my career, farmers wanted their questions answered and problems solved quickly and efficiently. I learned how to communicate and demonstrate my knowledge and passion for agriculture technology to gain their trust and acceptance. My advice to anyone is to be passionate and possess the most knowledge and skill about your area of expertise.
Taylor: I didn’t even think about the fact that I was a woman and it might be harder. I went after my goals with the approach that I would’ve if I were a male – diving right in, finding the job I wanted and going for it. The biggest advice I can give is to get your foot in the door. I also learned quickly to take advantage of other females you meet in the industry. Connect, and maintain, connections with as many other women in the industry as you can.
The agricultural tradition is all about hard work paired with innovation—from the plow to the tractor to today’s precision agriculture systems. Precision agriculture takes this quest for improvement to the next level by putting farmers in control of each square inch of your field.
Precision agriculture uses technology and data to fine-tune your planting and growing to different parts of your field, through steering, guidance, rate control, software and more. Think of it as cutting with a scalpel rather than swinging an axe: you enjoy greater precision and control.
1. Guidance and Steering
For every operation you apply to your land–tilling, planting, spraying, harvesting–precision is key. But manually operating machines leaves room for missed or overlapping rows, especially when weather conditions are bad or when you’re operating at night. Even small deviations from a neat grid can add up over time–leading to losses in resources, crop yield, and, ultimately, profit.
Precision steering and guidance systems are designed to address this. Trimble’s automated and assisted steering systems use the latest tech to provide clear, detailed corrections on the smallest level. By monitoring the screen display, you can make sure your rows are perfect on every single pass. Trimble’s systems use terrain correction to stay precise on varied conditions–they can ensure accuracy of up to 2.5 cm.
2. Fine-Tune your Inputs
There are many factors that affect the health of each square foot of your fields. Changes in soil type, pH levels, topography, disease or pest infestations, moisture and more make it ineffective to treat your entire fields with the same inputs. The more precisely you can match inputs with specific field needs, the better your yield and profit will be.
Whether it’s planting and seeding, water management, or harvest time, Trimble products use data collection to give you real-time insights and instantly improve your work. Use automated flow and application control systems, like Field-IQ to eliminate over-application, cut down on waste, and vastly improve profit.
3. More Accurate Maps and Imagery
Yield maps shouldn’t just look good; they should clearly and simply provide the data you need to improve your operations. With better maps and imagery, you can accomplish better yield monitoring–mapping and comparing your different seed varieties over the years, and improving seed selection based on what you learn.
Trimble’s mapping and farm imagery solutions are practical. We focus on accuracy and data insights, empowering you to make better decisions. In addition to yield monitoring, our systems allow you to track moisture to determine if grain should be stored or dried, record the amount of crop harvested and loaded onto trucks, and identify the highest-performing parts of your field.
4. Precision Software
The collection of farming data has grown increasingly precise over the years. But data on its own isn’t very helpful; instead, you need concise analysis that you can act on. It’s also important to have a centralized place for data collection–rather than different software for your inputs and yield monitoring, your work orders, your finances and so on.
The Farmer Core software works with your existing precision ag systems to collect data and create simplified, clean displays that help your decision-making. Trimble Connected Farm works to help you plan, execute, track, and record your operations and is accessible on mobile, desktop, and machine displays.
5. Stay Sustainable
Improving your farm’s sustainability is one of the most important ways you can protect your operations for decades and generations to come. Staying sustainable includes using fewer resources, wasting less product, and maximizing the overall efficiency of your farm.
Trimble’s Field-IQ system helps you to achieve this efficiency by enabling greater precision in the field. By eliminating over-application and wasted resources, precision ag helps your soil and the environment stay healthy.
Investments in precision agriculture now will put you ahead of a rising curve while ensuring your farm’s profitability over a long-term, sustainable outlook. Contact your local Trimble dealer to learn more today.
Precision ag helps you manage your farm more efficiently in a number of ways. Whether it’s guidance and steering, yield monitoring, or maps and visualization, there are many farming solutions that fall under the precision ag umbrella.
Ease of Access
One aspect of precision ag that’s often vital to the success of your farm– but less discussed – is the ability to access remote support.
In a traditional customer service model, you might access remote support by calling them on the phone or emailing them from a desktop computer. At Trimble, we know that farmers aren’t always operating at home or in their offices. Instead, they’re often out and about – monitoring the fields, overseeing planting and harvest, and operating miles away from their wifi router.
Get Help No Matter Where You Are
Resellers and farmers alike will benefit from the ability to access remote support from anywhere.
In the past, support technicians often had to drive out to farms, making site visits to inspect equipment or view physical challenges firsthand. Farmers often had to relegate their mapping and visualization precision ag technologies to desktop computers or devices that were limited to certain areas.
This setup negatively affected efficiency – it could potentially take hours out of the day to access and work with tech support. The arrangement was simply less convenient, too: from restrictions in support access to the frustration of having to put dependent operations on hold, farmers were being held back by limited tech support.
Quick and Efficient Support When You Need It
Remote support addresses these problems by making it possible to access technical support more quickly and from more places. With precision ag solutions like Trimble TeamViewer and Precision-IQ™ (PIQ) version 6.60 technology, resellers and farmers can efficiently access on-demand remote support from their own fields.
TeamViewer is a leading software provider that enables remote control and device sharing for a range of industries. Trimble TeamViewer makes farmers’ lives easier by facilitating immediate, real-time access to experienced service technicians.
Whether you’re having trouble with your internet connection or your equipment, you can reach an expert with the click of a button, getting dedicated help until the problem is solved. Simply click on TeamViewer app on your Trimble display or mobile device, and you’ll be able to access focused, expert support from anywhere at any time.
Connectivity is Key
TeamViewer also helps increase the interconnectivity of precision ag solutions: users can connect to Trimble devices from any place on the farm. This eliminates the need for multiple monitors, trips back to a tech home base, or the use of multiple complex tech systems at once.
Remote support becomes even more powerful when it is paired with centralized precision ag technologies, like the updated version of PIQ.
With this tool, users can access clearly designed, highly useful dashboards that provide farmers’ key functionalities.
Farmers can collect and instantly analyze data from their applications and processes. The interface is also upgraded, and shaped by farmers’ feedback, to provide touch-screen switch control, a simpler process for field selection criteria and more.
Solve Problems Faster
With TeamViewer and Precision IQ, remote support experts are empowered to solve problems faster: they can not only view a user’s screen – helping to give them specific, tailored instructions to solve a given tech problem – but also click buttons, streamlining the process of fixing a confusing tech glitch.
If you’ve ever tried to describe your screen to a customer support technician (a challenging task!) then you likely know how time-consuming and stressful it can be to hash out the details of technical support without your representative seeing the same thing at the same time.
Together, these solutions give farmers and users more control and precision: they eliminate the need to wait for visits from tech support or juggle multiple devices, dashboards, and data analysis apps.
Trimble is Here For You
TeamViewer helps to provide instant access to useful support directly from expert Trimble resellers, smoothing out errors and problems that arise during the course of a farming season. To put it simply, remote support makes life easier – and it improves farmer’s profit by cutting down on time spent accessing support while streamlining their ability to view, change, and manage data.
To learn more about Trimble TeamViewer and Precision-IQ, contact your local Trimble reseller today!
As we say goodbye to 2020, it’s time to take a look at the top 10 agriculture trends to look out for in 2021. While individual trends are diverse, most point to two main themes: new technology and solutions for a changing climate. Watch for the following in 2021 as farmers strive to increase profits while preserving their land.
1.Increased Use of Aerial Imaging
More farmers will turn to aerial imaging to better manage their crops in 2021.Satellite imaging anddrone technology allow farmers to see crop variations and issues that are hard to spot from the ground. When this data is coupled withprecision ag technology, farmers will be able to manage their crops more accurately, allowing for increased profits.
2.A Focus on Water Management
According toNOAA, costly extreme weather events such as heavy rainfalls and droughts, are increasing. In the United States alone, there were 16 weather events that resulted in at least $1 billion in damages. These events not only damage homes, but also farmland and crops. To help mitigate the risks of these events, farmers will utilizewater management tools and technology to better handle these extreme events.
Due to concerns about climate change and weather volatility, more consumers are pushing organizations and individuals to adopt regenerative agriculture practices. This broad term refers to practices that increase soil carbon sequestration, such as reduced tillage and the use of cover crops. While professionals debate whether regenerative agriculture will be a solution for climate change mitigation,scientists agree these practices increase soil health and fertility.
4.Precise Nitrogen Applications
Increasing concerns about agriculture’s role in the release of the greenhouse gasnitrous oxide will lead to more precise applications of nitrogen fertilizers. Technologies such as theGreenSeeker® crop sensing system and theField-IQ™ input control system will help growers meet plant nitrogen needs without overapplying fertilizer, which leads to decreased costs and increased profits. Onestudyshowed that using the GreenSeeker® with barley reduced N applications by 50% while maintaining yield.
5.Digital Information Sharing
In many cases, COVID-19 made it essential for farmers and industry members to transition from in-person chats to digital meetings. Even after the pandemic diminishes, it’s likely that much of this communication willremain digital. When farmers can share data, sign paperwork, and receive advice digitally, it saves them time and money. This allows for increased communication with equipment providers, crop advisors, and other professionals.
6. Localized Weather Data
Gone are the days when checking the weather meant looking at a zip code’s forecast.In-field sensors allow for instantaneous and accurate readings of wind, rainfall, and temperature. When combined withdata management software, this accurate weather data will help inform spraying, irrigating, and harvest windows.
7. Accurate Yield Predictions
New technologies will allow farmers to quickly and accurately predict yields before crops are harvested. With accurate yields, farmers will be able to find buyers for all of their harvest, eliminating food waste and increasing profits. Furthermore,yield monitoring technology will help inform the following year’s variety selection and yield.
8. Investments in Indoor Farming
Startup companies continue to receive support for the indoor production of produce such as lettuce and tomatoes. Hundreds ofvertical farming startups aim to utilize sensors and protective culture to produce vegetables in small spaces close to urban areas. Investors will also continue backing rural operations such asAppHarvest in Kentucky, USA.
9. Field Mapping
According toBusinessWire, the global digital agriculture market is expected to record a CAGR of 9.9% between 2020-2021, and field mapping will see the largest growth. It’s no surprise, since field mapping allows for more accurate planting, spraying, and harvesting.
Even if you have information about yields, input costs, soil type, and weather conditions, integrating this data is key to putting it to use.Data management software will allow farmers to leverage this data to inform their decision making. Plus, this data can be used in real-time to make adjustments such as altering planting depth based on available moisture.
Stay on Top of Trends
Since many of these top 10 trends point to an increase in the adoption of precision agriculture technology,connect with your local reseller to learn more about integrating these technologies into your farm.
While the weather outside might be frightful, it makes no difference for jolly old St. Nick. Snow or sleet, rain or shine, in the wild jungles or the wild urban canyons, he has a magic trick up his sleeve to ensure every present is delivered to its rightful recipient in every corner of the globe.
Luckily, his trick is available to every farmer who needs precise positioning to get their job done! No matter what you farm, how you farm or where you’re located, Santa’s magic is delivered by Trimble CenterPoint RTX.
Why, do you ask, would Santa Claus need any kind of assistance in delivering presents to all the good boys and girls around the world? We’ll tell you why!
For starters, Trimble CenterPoint RTX is the largest, high-performance Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in the world. No other GNSS correction service provides the same combined level of accuracy, convergence speed, flexibility and geographic coverage.
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Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizer — many inputs are applied through the sprayer.
But spraying these chemicals and fertilizer the conventional way can end up costing farmers a lot of money, whether it’s wasted resources, ineffective pest control, or even damage to the crop. The more often you make a pass without precision ag technologies on the sprayer, the more likely you’re making costly errors.
We spoke with Scott Shearer, Professor and Chair of the Agricultural Engineering Department at The Ohio State University, and Joe Luck, Associate Professor and Precision Agriculture Engineer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, about why farmers should adopt precision ag for their spraying practices and the benefits you’ll reap in doing so.
You want to reduce your chemical and fertilizer bills.
One of the most common issues Shearer and Luck see with conventional spraying is overapplication.
This happens when the sprayer goes over an area it has already sprayed, resulting in overlaps, or it sprays parts of the field that don’t need application.
Growers can use automatic section control to solve this problem, which works by turning off sections of the boom or even individual nozzles when it reaches a boundary or a part of the field already sprayed.
For a lot of farmers, it can provide a great return on investment (ROI) quickly.
Ohio State research has shown that farmers can see excess application rates of 12-17%, so Shearer suggests taking 10-15% of your chemical bill and seeing if the savings from that would be greater than the investment in section control. For most farmers he’s worked with, the payback period has been as little as 1 year to 18 months. “That was a pretty common number we see all the time,” Shearer says.
Luck has also seen growers achieve significant savings from investing in section control. For one farmer in Kentucky he worked with, the $3,000 investment produced $5,000 in savings the first year.
To reduce input costs even further, you can explore using variable-rate (VRT) or sensor-based technologies.
Fields don’t have uniform yield potential or even soil types, so for nitrogen application, Shearer says it makes sense to adopt VRT to adjust the rate across the field. Luck adds that since pre-emergence herbicides can require different rates based on soil type, you could variable-rate your herbicide application in fields with variable soils.
Trimble’s WeedSeeker2 and GreenSeeker take these savings a step further. Using optical sensors to identify weeds or nitrogen variability in the crop, respectively, they help ensure applications are as precise as possible.
You don’t have perfectly square-shaped fields.
Most growers can expect to see a good ROI from automatic section control because they have irregularly shaped fields.
“If you have perfectly square fields, your savings are not going to be that great,” Luck says.
“It could be 2-3%. That’s some of the minimum savings we saw [from spraying data collected from growers in Kentucky].”
But as the field boundaries and obstacles get more complex — such as point rows, angled headlands, or grass waterways that cut through the field — the savings can go up substantially, he says. In the data out of Kentucky, some fields saw savings as high as 30%.
Automatic section control isn’t the only sprayer technology beneficial for odd-shaped fields. Luck says most farmers don’t realize how much they turn in their fields, and when they turn, the sprayer isn’t applying a consistent rate across the boom.
Why does this happen? Because the inside of the boom isn’t traveling the same distance as the outside, Shearer explains.
“It’s the same elapsed time to cover that inside arc as the outside arc,” he says. “The spray boom on the outside has to go at a much higher velocity to make that turn.”
With booms only getting wider, Shearer adds the inside of the turn may have 3-4 times the target application rate, while the outside may be as low as 25-30%.
The precision ag solution to this issue is turn compensation technologies, which use pulse width modulation in the nozzles to adjust the application rate during turns.
You’ve experienced crop damage from your spraying.
Another reason sprayer overapplication is so costly is that it can have serious consequences to your yield.
Soybean injury from herbicide and wheat lodged from excess nitrogen are two common yield-reducing effects Shearer has seen with overapplication.
But it’s not just cash crops. Shearer has seen growers accidentally spray out their grass waterways, which means they either need to reseed them — an additional expense — or risk soil erosion.
While automatic section control can prevent overapplication and spraying outside of the fields, application speed may contribute to these problems. Shearer says that anytime you decelerate in the field, pressure increases in the system, resulting in a higher spray rate. It’s another instance where pulse width modulation nozzles could pay off because they’ll keep the rate consistent.
But if crop damage occurs because of application drift, you should consider boom height control, which automatically raises and lowers the boom based on the crop’s height.
“The higher the boom unnecessarily gets from the target, that’s just more drift potential,” says Luck.
Shearer adds that boom height control makes a lot of sense for farmers with elevation differences, especially as the width in equipment increases.
You’re not getting effective pest control.
Sometimes the problems you see from spraying are the result of underapplication.
If you’re experiencing inadequate weed, insect or disease control, it could be a sign that your sprayer boom is too low, resulting in insufficient application coverage.
“With a flat-fan nozzle, we depend on a 50% overlap,” Shearer says. “If that spraying boom is too close to the crop, you could be getting ineffective control because you’re getting striping in that crop. In other words, we didn’t have the ability for those nozzles to make that flat-fan pattern overlap before they hit the top of the crop canopy.”
But it might be due to your application speed. Acceleration causes the pressure to drop, Shearer says, so if you see insufficient pest control in areas where you typically speed up, then pulse width modulation nozzles would likely be a good investment.
You already have the components to be more precise with your spraying.
If you have some level of precision ag, chances are there’s an opportunity to make some of these technologies a reality for minimal investment.
Shearer worked with about half a dozen farmers in Ohio on adopting section control, and most farmers were only missing a component or two — an investment of around $500.
“In many cases, it was getting the farmers to export boundaries from their farm management information systems and upload them to the controller,” he says.
The payoff for investing in those extra components was well worth it.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it. Farmers on all scales are going to benefit from it,” says Shearer.
“If I walk onto a farm and I don’t see [automatic section control], that’s one of the first things in terms of technological investments I begin talking to the farmer about, because I know they’re going to be better off with that technology than without.”
If you’re interested in adopting some of these technologies or wondering how you can take your precision ag implementation a step further, we can help. Contact your local Trimble Ag Reseller today.