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Thread: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

  1. #1
    Michael Greenberro
    Guest

    Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    I went to Cereals to look at precision farming equipment and have come back more confused than before I went. Why can't all these companies standardise the systems because not being able to work with certain control boxes and different signals is just silly.

    I want an off the shelf package that includes auto steer to about 4 inch accuracy but can also take a RTK signal in the future without further expense. It must be able to be moved from machine to machine within an hour. It must also be able to control a sprayer (not sure of make yet) for auto section control and boom height. I also want to to work with variable rate P & K maps as well as a variable nitrogen in the future. On top of that I want it to update my crop recording program (Multicrop) back in the office automatically once jobs are completed in the field.

    All walking around Cereals has done is just make me mad because I got fed up with hearing the words 'not compatible sorry'.

    John Deere sort of tick all the boxes except I dont like how they keep charging you for extra bits but mainly dont like the fact I cant use a non John Deere signal.

  2. #2
    Field Track
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Everything has a price. You can't buy a Fiat and expect a Ferrari without a cost upgrade element? While I can agree with you it seems troublesome to only get an unlock code for say 2000. On the other side of the coin you could say it allows you to buy in cheap and upgrade over time.

    You need to decide what you want. The only two 'fully' integrated systems would be JD and Farmade (seems they link well with JD stuff.) Trimble owns Farmworks and they develop the Connected Farm' solution. I'm guessing the rest are all bolt-on affairs really. They'll correct me if I'm wrong.

    True the JD signal issue is a problem, though I'm not sure if this is becoming better. cp might chip in here.

    Most of the implement manufacturers are getting better at linking devices, however the link is small, as you are generally only talking about a gps link and aa rate controller.

    If this link worries you so much take the GPS away from the branding. Go with a GPS brand that does the most, or can be taken away from the implement. For example getting a combine to link to a GPS for yield monitoring. If the link is pricey and dosn't possibly upgrade with your combine then take the yield monitor off the combine and give the job to the GPS device. Then a combine change doesn't affect you.

    Swapping devices between tractors is a cost element more than anything. If you cable each tractor there's a lot less to swap over, etc.

    We can all sympathise with you but 'perfection' costs money. Your 'wants' are expensive more than simply 'not possible.' The options available cover a wider market, so we can decide where to spend the money, or not as the case maybe.

    JD and Trimble tick your boxes when taken as a whole approach. Forgive me if other GPS/software links exists to the level this person is referring to. Your question needs to be more precise than you want it all but for lightbar prices. Compatibly issues are getting a lot less these days on the implement front, so not sure what issues you are detailing here. GPS, software links might be thin on the ground granted.Though Farmade and Farmworks are getting on well here, as maybe some of the other are, though these two are well marketed that way.

    To take your two points. There's the standard 'signal' and there's the JD one. It is only the correction signal. JD do it differently, so you can't mix them. This is a JD query.

    As to control boxes, then I'm afraid it is the control box manufacturer that is at fault. Control systems have existed for long enough. You'd have to be an idiot to design a new control system when they already exist. Expecting third parties to write new code to do the same thing that has been done to death is just been a plonker. So all your points so far I can't blame the GPS suppliers. All this respects the fact that GPS is newish, so old control boxes I can let off.

  3. #3
    svc
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    John Deere sort of tick all the boxes except I dont like how they keep charging you for extra bits but mainly dont like the fact I cant use a non John Deere signal.

    You can put a non jd rtk signal into the 3000 receiver

    The jd system does work well and move from tractor to tractor easy once all the little bits have been bought

    The integration with jobs for spraying and vary rates as well as record keeping is good I use gatekeeper and is easy to use.

    As for sprayer controls I chose the jd spray to make this easy so I didn't have an other party telling me that their bit worked but the whole system wouldnt

  4. #4
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Greenberro View Post
    I went to Cereals to look at precision farming equipment and have come back more confused than before I went. Why can't all these companies standardise the systems because not being able to work with certain control boxes and different signals is just silly.

    I want an off the shelf package that includes auto steer to about 4 inch accuracy but can also take a RTK signal in the future without further expense. It must be able to be moved from machine to machine within an hour. It must also be able to control a sprayer (not sure of make yet) for auto section control and boom height. I also want to to work with variable rate P & K maps as well as a variable nitrogen in the future. On top of that I want it to update my crop recording program (Multicrop) back in the office automatically once jobs are completed in the field.

    All walking around Cereals has done is just make me mad because I got fed up with hearing the words 'not compatible sorry'.

    John Deere sort of tick all the boxes except I dont like how they keep charging you for extra bits but mainly dont like the fact I cant use a non John Deere signal.

    well your first problem is multi crop compatibility ! it's well passed it's sell by date now and I know of nothing that will work with it to update records etc - first job upgrade to gatekeeper and you have options.

    Buy the mapping module with PF option and you have the ability to do VRA P&K etc that you want

    as for the rest of your requirements just about all the manufactures do all those things so buy on price and service - personally LH Agro and Topcon take some beating

  5. #5
    Andrew Kerr
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Agree with Clive, service and backup is just as important as upgrade potential IMO. Keep it local is my advice.

  6. #6
    fergie35
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    How about we start with the basics? what model and make is each of your tractors and what fert spinner do you have?

    Do you need to put it on a combine also? if so what is the model of this?



    My experience is of Trimble systems, and I would say there two removable systems will do all you want and should talk to most things unless you have an uncommon spreader/sprayer.

  7. #7
    Andrew Kerr
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Michael,

    If you are running Case tractors i would stick with Trimble, they are their original eqpt supplier.

  8. #8
    Rob
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    I can sell you an off the shelf package like you want. However, you need to be realistic. Why should you get RTK accuracy for free??? We are talking about the technology to steer upwards of 30t of machine to 1cm accuracy.....
    Topcon system 350 on rtk will do all you want.
    Pm me if you wish. My only advice to you is..... Listen to the experts as they can help you.
    Rob

  9. #9
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    I can sell you an off the shelf package like you want. However, you need to be realistic. Why should you get RTK accuracy for free??? We are talking about the technology to steer upwards of 30t of machine to 1cm accuracy.....
    Topcon system 350 on rtk will do all you want.
    Pm me if you wish. My only advice to you is..... Listen to the experts as they can help you.
    Rob
    ROB - can an x30 work with any crop recording software yet then ?

  10. #10
    WDP
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Did you manage to find the Agleader stuff next to the sprayer demo ring?

    They can do vari-able rate control and easy to swap between machines. I use mine between a tractor and combine. When in the tractor it does vari rate on an Amazon fertiliser spreader. P&K from Soyl recommendations and N from their OptRx. When it's in the combine , it does yield mapping.
    It also does RTK steering on both.

  11. #11
    lordbonville
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    It does my head in as well.

    I bought an Agleader box to get started with VRA and boom section control on the sprayer, which works very well.
    I then went shopping for a combine with auto steer and mapping. None would work with the Agleader without throwing most of the original equipment to one side. Most brands charged the earth for their version. In the end I bought a John Deere combine which had everything already included.

    This should be fine as combine sorted and spreader/sprayer sorted. Just no auto steer on a drilling tractor, which could come via the Agleader box or Greenstar box in the combine.

    I went to cereals to source a software package for crop recording and dealing with yield maps, VRA etc. I already have Farmplan financial software so a good starting point.
    900 for the basic version, 450 for the BASIC mapping module, another 300 to create variable rate files, another 300 to receive variable rate files and another 150 to talk to Greenstar. And each piece comes with an annual fee.

    I've ground to a halt with the whole precision farming thing.

    To top it off i've had most fields mapped for P and K as I haven't bought any in a few years and nearly nothing actually needs any fert anyway due to the high doses of slurry and FYM. I'm currently also looking at dribble bars and thinking RTK auto steer would be ideal for drilling and setting out tramlines for slurry passes and rolling at half the tramline width to save wheelings.

    But here's the problem. It all costs a fortune, you spend longer programming stuff instead of just getting on with the job and what is the actual payback?
    I still think prices have to come down a lot for all this stuff.

  12. #12
    lordbonville
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    And another thing.

    What is going on with ISOBUS???

    Every brand of equipment still want you to have their box in the cab.

    I thought the whole point was to have just the one box, or use the tractor display. Seems it's not quite working out.

    Is anyone managing fine with isobus? Say managing with one box, multiple applications across many brands?

  13. #13
    Robert Ramsay
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    I understand how frustrating the whole process can be. I have been involved in the industry for 15 years and started off due to my frustration with compatibility issues that I came across before then.

    The problem is that PF covers machine control, agronomy, soil sampling, record keeping and more. It is not easy to pick things from different suppliers and then work out yourself how to make them work together. It is exacerbated by some of the machinery companies using this as a way to tie you in to their products. People often end up going down 1 route simply because they have been "given" a fancy box as a sweetener on their tractor deal.

    My advice would be, before you go too far, to plan out what you might want to do over the next 5 to 10 years, look for a supplier company that can deliver your requirements and that you are sure will be still there in that time. Support is a key issue. The systems are not cheap but are very powerful and can save a lot of money. I would then recomend taking a staged approach building up your system towards your eventual goal.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    it will all work together one day i'm sure

    there is a lot of trying to ties you to a tractor brand going on though and such deals should be avoided IMO - you don't want to have to re buy a lot of PF kit just because you change tractor brands

  15. #15
    philtempleton
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by lordbonville View Post
    I went to cereals to source a software package for crop recording and dealing with yield maps, VRA etc. I already have Farmplan financial software so a good starting point.
    900 for the basic version, 450 for the BASIC mapping module, another 300 to create variable rate files, another 300 to receive variable rate files and another 150 to talk to Greenstar. And each piece comes with an annual fee.
    Speak to Robert about the office software he can sell you The price is an all inclusive flat one, support is optional.

  16. #16
    WoodenHead
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    It's just the same as purchasing a sat-nav a few years ago but on a much larger scale. You need to buy what you need with a reasonable 'shelf life' for what you think you will need for the future.

    Agree with many on here - keep it local for when you need back up

    And if some one told me 10 years ago we'd have virtually millimeter positioning at affordable cost that would take some believing.

    So that tells us what's ahead in the next 5 to 10 years. It's not like buying a tractor, many systems will be worth less (or worthless) in years to come if they can't be upgraded.

  17. #17
    Michael Greenberro
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    At least I am not the only one having a problem with this! Could we set up the Precision Farming Police to make sure all sellers adhere to some simple rules please.

    My exact situation is as follows. The main tractor is a Fendt 820 which is on hire so I dont want to plumb in a proper fully integrated system as I have it for 3 years only. It is not auto steer ready anyway. The system that fits in the fendt must then be able to me moved to a self propelled sprayer which looks like it will be a Kelland machine which has got a basic TeeJet controller at the moment, but again not auto steer ready.
    I can upgrade from Multicrop to Gatekeeper easily enough so do not mind doing that.

    The system needs to auto steer the two machines with a motorised steering wheel that can be moved easily between machines. I want to then generate application plans for the sprayer in the office of multicrop/gatekeeper to put onto a card. I then put that card into the terminal and can pull up the file, do the job and then save it as completed with the exact details such as date, weather, rates used and so on.
    At the same time I want the GPS reciever and terminal in the cab to control the sprayer with auto shut off, boom height control whilst also auto steering. Looking to the future I would like to be able to know I can do variable rate fertiliser as well and could precision soil sampling files be loaded on as well so I could drive back to sampling points using my gps equipment via the crop software.

    John Deere is close to what I need although will their 2630 screen with sprayer pro control a Kelland spray pack? I dont mid doing away with the TeeJet box. Likewise is their another Self propelled sprayer manufacturer who's machines work with JD GPS equipment? I cant afford the SP JD sprayer and have decided I dont want a JD trailed machine. The second issue with JD is the signal because I would like to use an RTK mobile phone signal from Soil Essentials as it offer the best value. I cant afford a full blown RTK network on my 1200 ac so the JD offering is a non starter.


  18. #18
    Rob
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Michael,
    Let me do some sums, as my topcon system 350 aes rtk does about 90% of what you need and probably by jan 2013 will be 100% there.I'll pm you my number as its better to talk than assume answers on here.

    Edit: can't pm you for some reason

  19. #19
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Greenberro View Post
    At least I am not the only one having a problem with this! Could we set up the Precision Farming Police to make sure all sellers adhere to some simple rules please.

    My exact situation is as follows. The main tractor is a Fendt 820 which is on hire so I dont want to plumb in a proper fully integrated system as I have it for 3 years only. It is not auto steer ready anyway. The system that fits in the fendt must then be able to me moved to a self propelled sprayer which looks like it will be a Kelland machine which has got a basic TeeJet controller at the moment, but again not auto steer ready.
    I can upgrade from Multicrop to Gatekeeper easily enough so do not mind doing that.

    The system needs to auto steer the two machines with a motorised steering wheel that can be moved easily between machines. I want to then generate application plans for the sprayer in the office of multicrop/gatekeeper to put onto a card. I then put that card into the terminal and can pull up the file, do the job and then save it as completed with the exact details such as date, weather, rates used and so on.
    At the same time I want the GPS reciever and terminal in the cab to control the sprayer with auto shut off, boom height control whilst also auto steering. Looking to the future I would like to be able to know I can do variable rate fertiliser as well and could precision soil sampling files be loaded on as well so I could drive back to sampling points using my gps equipment via the crop software.

    John Deere is close to what I need although will their 2630 screen with sprayer pro control a Kelland spray pack? I dont mid doing away with the TeeJet box. Likewise is their another Self propelled sprayer manufacturer who's machines work with JD GPS equipment? I cant afford the SP JD sprayer and have decided I dont want a JD trailed machine. The second issue with JD is the signal because I would like to use an RTK mobile phone signal from Soil Essentials as it offer the best value. I cant afford a full blown RTK network on my 1200 ac so the JD offering is a non starter.

    I wouldn't get too hung up about the steering kit needing to work with gatekeeper - something called gatekeeper apps is planned fro realease this month that will allow any device with internet access to update and use plans from gatekeeper - smart phone or in cab iPad / laptop will be all that is required

  20. #20
    155tm
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Have you considered using second hand GPS kit, would reduce the cost considerably and thus shorten the payback time?

    Ben Burgess had a list as long as your arm last time I looked.

    Sprayer controls with the John Deere kit is woeful, I believe it can be done in America, but had heard that JD in europe don't want to support that option. We have a Househam using their screen to turn sections on and off, being fed a GPS signal from a John Deere system, that will also take care of the steering using a John Deere ATU. More complicated than should be necessary.

  21. #21
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by 155tm View Post
    Have you considered using second hand GPS kit, would reduce the cost considerably and thus shorten the payback time?

    Ben Burgess had a list as long as your arm last time I looked.

    Sprayer controls with the John Deere kit is woeful, I believe it can be done in America, but had heard that JD in europe don't want to support that option. We have a Househam using their screen to turn sections on and off, being fed a GPS signal from a John Deere system, that will also take care of the steering using a John Deere ATU. More complicated than should be necessary.
    you don't need to think about a solution all coming from the same manufacture

    I think it's best split into categories

    Office software
    GPS receiver
    correction signal supply
    In cab processor and control box

    for example we have Farmade software, and use both JD and Topcon GPS receivers with HP2 and SF2 correction signals being fed to Topcon control boxes being used in claas, JD, Fendt and bateman made machines !

    so you can mix and match and don't have to buy everything from one supplier

  22. #22
    Michael Greenberro
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Michael,
    Let me do some sums, as my topcon system 350 aes rtk does about 90% of what you need and probably by jan 2013 will be 100% there.I'll pm you my number as its better to talk than assume answers on here.

    Edit: can't pm you for some reason
    Rob, I was not aware I had to activate private messaging until I was prompted. It should work now. I'll pm you my email as well.

    Thank you.

  23. #23
    Michael Greenberro
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive View Post
    for example we have Farmade software, and use both JD and Topcon GPS receivers with HP2 and SF2 correction signals being fed to Topcon control boxes being used in claas, JD, Fendt and bateman made machines !
    That looks like a bit of mess to me. I just want a complete system thats installed by one company so when it goes wrong because I am sure it will, then I just go back to one company and not have to talk to loads of them.

    Does Gatekeeper talk to other GPS packages as well as JD to give me the fully inegrated system I am looking for?

    Have you got Gatekeeper on the Topcon boxes so you are completeing jobs in the cab or do you still do this in the office?

  24. #24
    Cowabunga
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    This stuff is all relatively new and mostly a work in progress. The complexity and the time spent setting it up, all coming at a cost, makes it a system that demands a certain scale of enterprise. Even on a huge scale, a full pf system needs the patience of a saint to set up to satisfy every demand.
    It is not something that is done to that extent in west Wales, but there is a lot of interest in it.

    In my opinion it will be another decade before an integrated system becomes simple and cheap enough to be used more universally and on smaller scale enterprises. But it will come.

  25. #25
    Wormdigger
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Gatekeeper will communicate with all the GPS manufacturers , it will allow export of jobs onto the Deere system more readily than the others, we run As leader, New Holland Intellisteer, and Greenstar with our gate keeper.
    You will need the precision farming and mapping modules on gatekeeper.

  26. #26
    jonnieboy
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Wormdigger View Post
    Gatekeeper will communicate with all the GPS manufacturers , it will allow export of jobs onto the Deere system more readily than the others, we run As leader, New Holland Intellisteer, and Greenstar with our gate keeper.
    You will need the precision farming and mapping modules on gatekeeper.
    But not all the systems will report back to gatekeeper what they have actually applied which might be not the same as the VR map

    thats the problem we keep coming up against
    And everyone keeps saying oh yeah its in the pipeline


  27. #27
    Robert Ramsay
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by jonnieboy View Post
    But not all the systems will report back to gatekeeper what they have actually applied which might be not the same as the VR map

    thats the problem we keep coming up against
    And everyone keeps saying oh yeah its in the pipeline

    I am pretty sure that FarmWorks mobile will do that for you.

    Robert

  28. #28
    philtempleton
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Ramsay View Post
    I am pretty sure that FarmWorks mobile will do that for you.

    Robert
    It can indeed.

  29. #29
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Greenberro View Post
    That looks like a bit of mess to me. I just want a complete system thats installed by one company so when it goes wrong because I am sure it will, then I just go back to one company and not have to talk to loads of them.

    Does Gatekeeper talk to other GPS packages as well as JD to give me the fully inegrated system I am looking for?

    Have you got Gatekeeper on the Topcon boxes so you are completeing jobs in the cab or do you still do this in the office?
    it's not as complex as it sounds at all - gatekeeper works with most 3rd party cab boxes very easily

    all done in the office right now although being windows we could put gatekeeper on the x20's if we wanted - would create sync issues though

    Gatekeeper apps will solve all this in 2 weeks time !! smartphone, ipad or laptop will be all that's needed to bring workplans to and from machines - I just bought a couple of ipads and otterboxes for them this weekend ready to go !!

  30. #30
    Michael Greenberro
    Guest

    Re: Precision Farming - What a nightmare

    We decided that the Trimble FMX with ezy steer is the best solution for us at the moment. It looks to be the most future proof setup as well. Teejet never bothered to come back to us. Topcon was close but to expensive in the end and John Deere is just not flexible enough to use it with other makes of equipment such as their sprayer control.

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