Precision farming technology receives upgrade

Ivy Christianson

An Ames agricultural company has released new technological improvements to their precision farming systems.

Ag Leader Technology Inc. recently announced they will integrate the SmartPath “Drive and Guide” Guidance Pattern and new INTEGRA map displays into their current line-up of precision farming technologies.

Precision farming is a technological technique that has taken off since Ag Leader’s start in 1992. It allows farmers to use computer-driven systems — such as GPS, satellites or aerial images — to maximize crop output by producing images that show soil moisture and fertilizer amount estimates and input needs as designated by the farmer.

Jessica Reis, marketing communications specialist for Ag Leader Technology Inc., said precision farming is growing and encompassing more and more technology. Not only that, but it’s a continually changing and growing industry because there are a variety of options for automating crop production.

SmartPath “Drive and Guide” Guidance Pattern was designed so farmers may customize field patterns for planting seeds. To do this, a farmer simply drives the first path, and, when it comes time to turn the tractor around, the computer system will automatically follow the design of the path the farmer just created. The farmer may design a number of paths, so if the field is oddly shaped, it is able to adjust for easy driving.

“Guidance and steering is a very convenient technology,” Reis said. “It eases operator fatigue by not having to concentrate so much on steering and driving of a vehicle. They can concentrate on what the vehicle is doing or what the implement they’re pulling with the vehicle is doing.”

“Once people use a guidance and steering product, they realize how much work it is to try to steer straight, and they might not have been doing as good a job as they thought they were.”

Reis also said using the guidance and steering technology cuts fuel costs by controlling traffic patterns and reducing overlap.

Another recent renovation introduced the ability to load variety maps on to the Ag Leader’s INTEGRA computer display system. Their advanced software helps achieve this process by facilitating map integration from many collection devices.

The feature allows growers to see the variety maps on the INTEGRA display while harvesting, which means they can view yield results in real time.