Path to Precision
It’s all about control: putting it all together to produce tangible benefits
29 Nov 2021
The first three pillars of precision farming (sensors, GNSS and FMIS) have given you all you need to make your informed decisions, to implement change, and to improve your efficiencies.
You now have the holistic view, broken down one piece at a time, of the performance of your operation. You have knowledge that’s answering questions before you’ve even thought about asking them! Now, it’s time to make changes and actualise your potential.
Now is the time for control.
There are many control technologies used in precision farming today. You may have heard of some of them already, such as auto steering or variable rate control, and some you may not have heard of, such as tillage depth control or field level control. Whatever the technology, the objective is the same: to make a change. After all, why measure and gather all this data if you’re not going to change anything?
So how do control technologies work?
Let’s take a look at auto steering, for example. Auto (or automatic) steering, also known as AccuGuide for Case IH, leverages a combination of sensors, GNSS and control technologies to guide your machine on the right path. Accuracy can get down to within two centimetres—think about that in the context of your largest field, over your entire property. Even the best operator with 20/20 vision and 100 percent concentration isn’t capable of this type of accuracy!
So, if your machine control can be accurate to sub-2cm precision, that means everything else involved is also accurate to sub-2cm right? Right! When considering the manual alternative, auto steering considerably reduces in-field overlaps and skips (or misses). Reducing overlaps translates to saving on the commodities used at the same time: seed, fertiliser, fuel, labour and time! Reducing skips, or missed sections, means you’re taking full advantage of all your land, and not losing crop potential in any small areas that are left untilled, unplanted, unfertilised, unsprayed or unharvested.
Auto steering adds marginal improvements which, over time and area, add up to a considerably improved bottom-line.
If you think that sounds impressive, there's still more!
We previously discussed that FMIS [link] provides the output to enable change. Well this is where variable rate control comes in. You've already reduced input costs through steering your machine more accurately. In addition, the FMIS will output a 'prescription' map, a personalised treatment field-by-field, hectare-by-hectare to further control and reduce those same inputs.
We captured the variability of your fields using GNSS
, now GNSS also allows you to treat that variability, site specifically!
- If you had better soil structure in one field area than the other... what changes would you make?
- If one area of your crop was yielding better than the other… what changes would you make?
That's the point. Variable rate control allows you to make the required changes easily and automatically, based on actual data measurements.
Throw in the ability for your equipment to accurately control each section automatically and your efficiency goes through the roof!
So, these are the tangible benefits of the control pillar of precision farming, there are many more including intangible benefits which we'll go into more detail on later posts.
If your head is spinning with 'what's' and 'how's', then that's ok! It's totally expected. Change is uncomfortable, it's the unknown, that's why we're here.
Entering into precision farming is no doubt daunting. However, Case IH has got your back. We are passionate about precision farming because we know the value it brings. In later posts we'll break down actions you can take to start or continue your Path to Precision.