When it comes to technology investment, growers want to do more with less and get the most out of the dollars they are investing in their precision agriculture program, says Topcon’s Mike Gomes. “The three strongest trends we see in this respect are on-the-go sensors for nitrogen application, advanced consoles that allow users to accomplish multiple functions in a single pass, and increased interest in gaining access to networked RTK base stations to get highest accuracy at lower costs, along with multiple satellite positioning or GNSS.”
Gomes asserts that growers are now wanting to both optimize and streamline variable-rate application of nitrogen fertilizer by using “on-the-go” sensors. “In fall of 2009, we had a limited introduction of our Crop Spec sensor and adoption. Along with customer results, it has been extremely positive,” he says. “This cab-mounted crop canopy sensor, co-developed with Yara, a world-leading fertilizer manufacturer, scans the crop as the user travels through the field. When paired with our X20 control console, a user can perform variable-rate application in real time for single or multiple products.”
To address interest in console technology, Topcon introduced its System 250 last spring, which allows its AGI-3 receiver for steering control to be used with the Topcon X20 control console. “This allows users to get exceptionally accurate and reliable steering control using GNSS multiple satellite constellation reception along with the multi-product control functionality of our X20 control console,” notes Gomes.
To help end-users more easily take advantage of available RTK networks, Topcon has added the capability to interface with and use cellular-based GSM corrections with the snap-in module of its AGI-3 receivers. “This functionality has been paying dividends to growers in places like Iowa using the CORS network established by the Iowa Department of Transportation,” says Gomes.