Precision farming has revolutionised agriculture in recent years. But with so much technology and technical advice available, navigating this digital revolution can be a daunting task.
Showcasing the most cutting-edge developments, the Cereals Event will have everything from precision slurry systems to digital agronomy software on display. “Precision technology is gaining more and more traction within the arable sector, given its proven link with increasing efficiency,” explains Jon Day, event director. “Love it or hate it, there’s no denying it’s the direction in which the industry is going, and so it’s only right the event highlights the spectrum of solutions on offer.”
HE-VA is just one of many exhibitors showcasing new precision kit at this year’s event (13-14 June). Promising precision drilling and seed placement, the 3m Evolution rape seeder is the latest addition to the firm’s fleet.
A front disc works ahead of each leg, slicing through the soil surface to ensure minimal soil disturbance. This prevents blackgrass seed being brought to the surface, explains James Woolway, managing director at HE-VA distributor OPICO. “The double-disc coulter enables seed placement to be controlled precisely and consistently to a required depth, providing ideal conditions for germination,” he says. The rear wheel then closes and re-consolidates, ensuring good seed to soil contact.
“Slug pellets can be accurately applied in the same pass as the rape seed is drilled, using the twin multi-seeder operated by a single control box, preventing slug damage in the early stages of growth.”
When it comes to crop nutrition, slurry spreading is one of the latest to join the precision farming bandwagon. Joskin will be demonstrating its latest system, the Pendislide Pro spreading boom with ertalon plastic skids – which increase application precision by following the ground profile and creating a groove in the soil to apply nutrients without dirtying plants. “The 25cm row spacing regulates the spreading pattern without increasing the quantities needed,” explains Gordon Hardy, export manager at Joskin. “The skids are positioned at a 45° angle to the ground which compensates for any uneven ground.”
Of course, the brains behind precision kit are the digital software systems. John Deere’s latest offering – FarmSight – is designed to increase productivity and reduce cost, especially when paired with other precision farming systems like automatic steering and section control for sprayers and spreaders.
“The effective utilisation of real-time data and the provision of a wireless connection between the farm office and machinery operators lead to more efficient performance, higher outputs and lower operating costs,” explains marketing manager Chris Wiltshire.
With the JDLink telematics system, remote display access, wireless data transfer (WDT) and mobile data transfer are available to connect all makes of machine and ISOBUS implements to the customer’s Operations Centre in the MyJohnDeere.com portal. “WDT allows two-way exchange of set-up files, prescription maps and documentation data between the office and the machine in the field,” he adds. “It automates data transfer and reduces the risk of losing information.”
Increased efficiencies don’t just happen in the field. While data collecting and crop recording can be extremely helpful, it’s also important to save on office hours. Landmark Systems believes it has the solution with its crop recording system, Geofolia. “We were being asked by farmers to provide software to cover crop assurance, stock records, costings and mapping all in one place – avoiding the need for multiple spreadsheets – and with a cloud and mobile app,” explains Keith Morris, sales manager at Landmark.
New Geofolia features being launched at this year’s Cereals Event include invoice import from KEYPrime accounts, agronomist’s import, and extended reporting to include traceability and costing.
While there are undoubtedly many solutions out there to help boost efficiencies, precision farming is about utilising them together effectively, adds Mr Day. “It’s not just a case of selecting one precision tool, but more thinking about the bigger picture, and how the full spectrum of precision technology can be used together to boost efficiencies – and subsequently profitability. The Cereals Event will arm growers with all the information they need to make these crucial decisions.”