GPS guidance for tractors is not quite a new idea. With the widespread use of GNSS systems worldwide their merits became obvious for agriculture. Today, agricultural GPS guidance systems are an indispensable part of the whole concept of precision farming as they allow a farmer to provide the full cycle of fieldwork accurately and quickly.
What is the basic principle of farm GPS guidance? It uses signals of satellites that are provided via one of the most supported GNSS i.e. GPS in the US or GLONASS in Russia. Accurate positioning of the equipment helps farmers to get full info about the tractor’s activity, create and match routes for each piece of machinery, control idle time and provide precise spraying, spreading, drilling, cultivating or harvesting in automated mode.
Using principles of GPS guidance for agriculture, a farmer can gain considerable results as the work is done faster, without drawbacks and under full control. It is not only here-and-now use of GPS for tractors. As the digital equipment can not only guide a tractor but also save the full info about its positioning, static and absolute accuracy and pass-to-pass accuracy, it helps to provide schedules and forecasts for future seasons.
Well, there is a fly in the ointment as GPS satellites when sending a signal have lots of drawbacks that can distort it. To avoid distortion, a farmer can choose among 3 basic options depending on his equipment, technical base available and costs.
- Using public augmentation systems is for free. If there are bases providing a signal correction like that, it will be quite enough for basic activities i.e. spraying or drilling.
- Augmentation services available via subscription provide better correction of they have up-to-date equipment. Their cost depends on the range of corrections they provide. For low-costed options, the static accuracy will be no more effective than in public services.
- RTK guidance is the most precise today. It requires more investments as it needs to install an RTK station along with a receiver on the tractor to improve the accuracy of the GPS signal. But it is definitely worth it as you get an efficient tool working for multiple years.
Considering the Main Benefits of Farm GPS Guidance on the FieldBee Example
When choosing a tractor guidance system, it is important to consider several features that are essential and useful. Let’s check them out taking as the example FieldBee tractor guidance solution.
- How many options are provided? Is there only AB navigation that is necessary for row guidance or you can guide a tractor with a curvy trajectory? In FieldBee both options are provided that is convenient.
- Is there night mode? Some works should be performed at night and it’s necessary to get a special setting for it.
- Is an interface of GPS tractor guidance app logic and convenient? If it is intuitive, that’s bingo!
- How much info can be recorded by GPS guidance systems for tractors? It should help you in analyzing and providing mapping and forecasts.
All these features matter! Besides them, each farmer looks at the price, so it’s also important to invest money in a really effective GPS system instead of an outdated or useless one.