The link between farmer and field data

12 Sep 2017

At PotatoEurope 2017 in Emmeloord, CASE IH showed the potato growers
and cultivation supervisors how field data cab be used to optimise his crop. On the PotatoEurope demo fields, CASE IH demonstratedhow this data is supplied and processed by the grower/crop supervisor and how this forms the basis for application in precision agriculture, for instance for variable equipment control.

Emmeloord / The Netherlands, 12.09.2017


At PotatoEurope 2017 (September 13 and 14), Case IH unveiled a number of new developments in the field of precision agriculture technology. In recent months there has been much talk about guidance techniques, equipment control, drones and application maps. While much is possible in theory; but Case IH wanted to show that their solutions can actually be put into practice and used by farmers and contract workers.

Modern agriculture is in phase 4.0, and Case IH is totally involved

Marc Devriese, Business Director Case IH Benelux, explains: "Modern farming is not just about steel and capacity, but must also have answers to some new challenges. Case IH has risen to the challenges of new technologies and offers a comprehensive RTK network and the collection of field data. Regulations are getting tougher all the time, and traceability is becoming increasingly important. In addition, food production must be assured. We as manufacturers want to offer a solution for automation and field data management, among other things. We work closely with our clients in order to continuously improve the processes."

RTK+ network all over Europe, including full coverage in the Benelux

Michaël Mathieu, RTK specialist for EMEA describes the details: "With the RTK+ signal a repeatable accuracy level of 2.5 cm year after year can be achieved, and it can be repeated at any point in time. Then there's xFill Premium, a new function with which operations can continue without interruption for an unlimited period if the RTK correction signal fails and the existing xFill bridging signal stops after the standard 20-minute period, or if its accuracy drops below 4 cm. You need an annual licence for xFill Premium. The existing xFill (bridging for 20 minutes) remains free."

"Case IH is the first manufacturer of agricultural machinery that offers full RTK coverage in the Benelux countries. Right now, there are more than 900 reference stations in Europe available to Case IH users in the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Spain, the Benelux countries, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. At present the RTK+ network is growing at an average rate of one reference station a day, as the coverage within the EMEA region is extended. This translates into maximum operating time and availability for Case IH RTK users on a centrally administered network maintained and monitored by Case IH's own RTK + team and dealers. A new mobile app for RTK + allows clients to check the status of the RTK + network and the location of their equipment when their units receive an RTK + signal via a GSM network."

Field data via AFS mapping

Tjörven Van de Velde, Marketing Manager Benelux, says the factory-fitted guidance system of Case IH tractors makes it possible to extract a wealth of data from the tractor. Besides location, fuel consumption, engine load, wheel slip etc. can be mapped clearly and accurately. This provides the farmer or contract worker with real soil maps that can later help him with optimal and site-specific application of fertiliser, effluents, lime and other inputs in line with the needs of the soil.

Field data with the PrecisionHawk drone

PrecisionHawk's drone is distributed exclusively by the Case IH network in Europe. Among other things, the drone's sensors can determine the GNDVI (stress/activity of a plant) and the ENDVI (quantity/mass of a plant). In this way the farmer gets a site-specific view of the crop's state of development and can adapt the fertiliser or spray dosage applied to ensure its optimal development.

Application maps

Data collection is just the first step;  It then has to be processed. Naturally, the farmer, supervisor and crop advisor play a crucial role here. Case IH cannot replace them, but it can supply the right information for them to manage their crops accurately. Data from the tractor and the drone can be taken from raw data to ready-to-use application maps using the AFS mapping programme. All the client needs to do is to transfer it to the AFS 700 display on a USB stick and then spread, spray or sow, provided the machine behind the tractor is equipped for variable application, of course. 

Practice at PotatoEurope

Jannick Pelle continues: "In order to show that all of this also works on the ground, we applied our new techniques to a potato field at PotatoEurope. We used the RTK + network, of course. In the autumn of 2016 we used a PrecisionHawk drone for the first time to fly over the green manures and collect baseline information. Ploughing was done at the end of November With fuel consumption, engine load and wheel slip being mapped. Using the data from the drone and the tractor, the potatoes were planted by end of March at a variable distance as recommended by the crop supervisors. During the growth season, GNDVI and ENDVI maps, were regularly updated using the drone. Based on this information, variable fertilising was done twice (mid June and early July), while the haulm killers were also variably applied by late August, again on the basis of the available maps and the recommendations of the crop supervisors."

"The first results are already very promising. The plot yield followed up with the drones was 3.5% higher. The quality was significantly better as well, with among other things a 7.2% better yield for tubers between 50 and 70 mm."

AFS Connect telematics - Intelligent networks

And the developments don't stop. The representation of machines in the field via the AFS Connect telematic system has now been improved even further. The Fleet History Map (map of historic machine data) now displays the direction of travel as well and uses colour codes to indicate the type of activity carried out. This makes it easier for the user, the driver and, where applicable, the dealer to observe the activities of the tractor and the tilled surface. Additionally, clients can pass telemetric data of their tractor(s) on to the dealer if they wish, so that the dealer can improve their customer support service. With the latest update, two-way data transfer will be enabled for all supported file formats (such as .cn1 and, ISOXML). ShapeFile application maps can also be sent to the AFS700 monitor via the portal.

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