The AutoProbe was recently named one of the top 10 new products which will be exhibited at the 2008 World Ag Expo, Feb. 12 – 14, in Tulare, Calif.
Jeff Burton, CEO of AgRobotics, LLC, www.agrobotics.com, headquartered in Little Rock, AR, says the AutoProbe does sample collection in one-third the time needed for manual or semi-automatic sampling and also performs the tasks by following a precision path that cannot be duplicated by hand work.
The device is built around a single-rubber-track-driven mechanism actuating an on-the-go probe that penetrates the soil to a depth of six inches and withdraws a soil core as it retracts.
Synchronized with each rotation of the track, the probe is thrust through a special link in the track with the ability to pull cores in 16′ increments. That’ s about every 1.5 seconds when towed across a field at a speed of 8 miles per hour by a GPS-steered Utility Vehicle (UV). The AutoProbe collects the cores and conveys them pneumatically to the UV cab for automatic packaging into soil lab sample boxes. A single sample consists of 19 to 20 cores. Throughout the process, the operator remains in the UV’s driver’s seat, free from having to steer and able to devote attention to applying automatically-printed labels to sample containers.
The complete equipment package, scheduled for introduction in early 2008, consists of the AutoProbe, The GPS-equipped UV, a ruggedized computer with a software program which monitors and communicates with the AutoProbe, and a specially-designed trailer to transport both from one field to the next.
Burton says the initial target market for the AutoProbe are soil sampling services, ag retailers and agronomy consultants serving high-value crops, though he anticipates it will also be of high interest to cooperatives and larger grower operations who handle their own soil sampling.