Enhanced data collection and management to help farmers make better-informed decisions – and dealers provide enhanced support – is driving advances in farm equipment developments. With new AFS Connect technology, Case IH is at the forefront.
After a quarter-century of progress in precision farming, from yield mapping to auto-steering to variable-rate input applications, farmers have gained new insights into what their land is capable of and how its full potential can be achieved. But while historical information is hugely valuable in helping make long-term planning decisions, being able to monitor and manage in real time using telematics and telemetry, and make instant decisions from this, is set to move farming forward into a new age of agriculture that harnesses the power of data. And this will not only help farmers, but also help their dealers provide enhanced service. With AFS Connect, introduced on 2020 Case IH Magnum tractors, this is exactly what Case IH is bringing to its customers.
INSTANT TWO-WAY RESPONSE
Users of precision farming technology have long been able to manually connect machines and office computers using USB storage devices to upload plans and download recorded information such as yield data. But historical data can only do so much. The next era of precision farming, with decision-making based on real-time machine operating data, is underway, with huge potential to not just enhance farm management, but dealer support too.
Wireless technology – or telemetry – makes this possible, with owners and managers able not just to plan field operations beforehand and analyse them afterwards, as with traditional data management, but monitor and adjust activities right at the point they are occurring. With this ability, management responses can be immediate and not just retrospective, and dealer support to the customer can be instantaneous.
Pre-activity planning and post-operation analysis have long been possibly by connecting machines with farm computers and smart devices through the use of USB storage devices. A-B lines for auto-steering guidance, or prescription maps for variable seed or fertiliser rates, are key examples. While easily passed from office to tractor, though, they are equally easily forgotten, damaged or loaded with the wrong data. The size of modern arable farm enterprises means returning to base to correct such a problem can waste considerable time.
Wireless technology overcomes this, with seamless two-way data transfer. Not only can machines send data, but farmers and managers can remotely provide operators with any field and task information updates should management decisions change – requiring a redrawn field boundary or a change to a prescription map, for instance. And if equipped with the correct equipment, these can be delivered to, and accessed by, not just one machine but all in a farm’s fleet. These are just some of the capabilities of Case IH AFS Connect.
Once work in the field is underway, the power this technology provides to managers and owners to view live machine status, including location and work completed, helps ensure machines are in the right place and working in the right way. It can even enable the status of critical items such as fuel level to be monitored so supplies can be delivered as needed.
With data such as machine hours, temperatures, engine speeds and services due continuously recorded and updated, owners and managers are better able to ensure machines are operated and maintained precisely. And with mobile phone text-based remote alert systems able to notify them if the tractor operates outside a pre-set value, such as a certain engine rpm or operating temperature, it’s possible to instantly address operator errors or machine issues.
Wireless data transfer and cloud storage, two key elements of AFS Connect, mean that wherever owners and managers may be, they can, at any time, check the status of their machine, the work it is doing and the level of completion of an activity. By bringing together data from multiple machines, activities and fields, comparisons can be made to identify potential areas of general or specific improvement.
HELPING DEALERS TO HELP CUSTOMERS
But this technology doesn’t just directly help farmers boost operation efficiency – it also helps Case IH dealers provide even greater levels of support. When granted permission by the owner, the dealer can remotely monitor a wirelessly-connected machine, to analyse performance and operating data, provide remote help and advice on operation and settings, and even identify parts and service tools required before attending should a service call-out be necessary. In this way, wireless connectivity takes Case IH service and support to new levels.
And wireless technology also allows other third parties, such as farm agronomists, to remotely access, analyse and advise on data if given permission by the owner. That provides, for example, the potential to help identify reasons for poorly-performing field areas, or recommend changes to prescription maps. The result is decisions based on sound business data that’s as up-to-date as possible.
In this issue of Farm Forum, you can learn more about how Case IH is driving the future of wireless machine management. Read on to discover the capabilities of our first product with AFS Connect technology, the new Magnum range.