New contract hire scheme makes precision farming more affordable

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LH Agro UK Ltd has used the LAMMA show to launch a contract hire scheme aimed at making a selection of Topcon precision farming equipment more affordable – an arrangement which the company believes is unique within the UK arable sector.

The capital cost of precision farming technologies such as GPS/RTK guidance systems, autosteer facilities and crop canopy sensors has, until now, prevented many arable businesses from investing in technologies which could make the way they produce crops more efficient and cost effective.

LH Agro has therefore launched a contract hire scheme on three key pieces of technology: the Topcon X25 autosteer system, Topcon CropSpec canopy sensor and Topcon AGI-4 ISOBUS autosteer system.

“A worrying number of UK farms are operating on inaccurately measured tramlines resulting in over-lapping or missed applications of seed, fertilisers and chemicals,” warns LH Agro’s Managing Director, Richard Reed.  “This is largely due to the inherent inaccuracies involved in laying out fields manually, or by relying on older technologies which have now been superseded.

“Even relatively minor discrepancies will result in significant losses of efficiency.  In any event, it makes good business sense to physically measure tramline intervals to ensure the full operating width of drills, sprayers and spreaders is being utilised efficiently.”

LH Agro estimates that many businesses could be incorrectly applying seed, fertiliser and chemicals to more than 2% of their cropped land: “Our figures show that a typical 500 acre (202 hectare) arable farm could be losing as much as £5,700 per year as a result of inaccurate input applications,” Richard continues.  “Similarly, a 1,500 acre (607 hectare) operation could be losing as much as £11,500 in misplaced inputs alone.

“These input losses are just the tip of the iceberg,” Richard adds.  “Additional inefficiencies, such as inhibited crop performance and the additional man hours, diesel usage and wear and tear incurred by over-lapping during the cultivation phase, will further erode profit margins.”

Mr Reed believes that eliminating these losses is easy to achieve by introducing an accurate tractor guidance/autosteer system and advises that businesses which haven’t already invested due to the significant upfront costs associated with precision farming technologies should consider LH Agro’s contract hire option.

“We have launched our unique contract hire scheme on three of our most popular pieces of equipment, effectively making the latest precision farming technologies available to a much broader base of farming businesses,” he explains.

Topcon X25:
LH Agro’s new contract hire scheme is available on the Topcon X25 guidance and autosteer system which includes a fully-featured ISOBUS and RTK enabled control console, receiver, tractor-specific harness kit and optional electric steering wheel for non-autosteer tractors.

The X25 system eliminates the potential for over-lapping or misses (as well as reducing diesel usage, operator fatigue and machinery wear and tear), and is available on a three-year contract hire term which is supported by a three-year warranty and full service support package for as little as £115 per week on a 1+35 monthly basis.

Topcon’s all-in-one AGI-4 system works with most ISOBUS compatible displays to provide affordable, yet extremely accurate RTK-enabled positioning for autosteer-ready tractors.  The AGI-4 incorporates an antenna, receiver and steering controller in one easy to install modular design, enabling operators to exploit the benefits of accurate autosteer technology for as little as £90 per week on a 1+35 monthly basis.

The new contract hire scheme is also available on Topcon’s CropSpec canopy sensor: this low-profile cab-mounted system gives a clear ‘on-the-move’ view of crops to measure nutrient needs, monitor in-field crop variations and treat on-the-go.

The CropSpec system improves nutrient placement and is available on a four-year contract hire term with full warranty and service support for as little as £99 per week on a 1+47 monthly basis.

“The savings and efficiencies afforded by these systems means they all have a short payback period,” Richard continues.  “Our new contract hire schemes not only makes these systems affordable by spreading the cost of investment, but also gives customers access to the very latest, upgraded equipment each time they renew their contract.”

Visitors to LAMMA are invited to LH Agro’s stand (Hall 1, Stand 106) to use the company’s precision farming accuracy calculator: “By inputting a few basic farm details such as cropping area and the number of input applications, we can estimate how much the farm’s bottom line is being impacted by drilling, spreading and spraying inaccuracies,” Richard concludes.

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