Precision agriculture at the Midlands Machinery Show

As we enter the fourth agricultural revolution, precision agriculture is a hot topic, but what does it mean for your farm? Whether new to the technology or at the cutting-edge of developments, visitors to the Midlands Machinery Show on 20-21 November can discuss with experts – both in seminars and in the field – how it can translate into on-farm benefits.

Visitors to the show will be able to view a range of precision technologies from GPS mapping at RKT Farming, to section-controlled sprayers at Househam Sprayers and remote-controlled machines at Bomford Turner.

In the seminar theatre, John Deere will be focussing on connectivity. “Through JDLink we connect machines to the farm office, allowing customers to track their fleet and monitor machine health, as well as transferring agronomic information straight from the field,” says Jack Howard, precision agriculture specialist at John Deere.

For example, landowners with a large or rented fleet can see how machines are performing, helping them to keep on top of service and maintenance.

“When the customer buys a machine they have the option for the dealer to monitor if there are problems ahead to prevent downtime – for contractors it’s helping to prevent lost income,” says Mr Howard. “We also have an algorithm which can pick up issues before they develop into a problem, by recognising certain sequences of events.”

For the agronomy side the software enables agricultural service providers like crop advisers and specialist consultants to view the machines and the fields. “The latest apps make it very easy to keep track of machinery, get advice on seed and fertiliser rates or spray requirements and monitor machine productivity by working together with, and being connected to, the dealer, farm adviser and other suppliers.”

For contractors and farm managers John Deere offers an app which employees use to view and carry out tasks in real time. “Services can be accessed in two ways, either from the office computer or on-the-go using dedicated apps for tablets and smartphones.”

With data protection and security high on everyone’s agenda, it is important to realise that data can be made anonymous, with personalised restrictions over who can access it.

Particularly relevant for visitors who have had their small productivity grants approved or are interested in guidance and control systems – Patchwork Technology will be showcasing three GPS systems. “The GPS systems can do everything from basic guidance to switching off a nozzle on the sprayer from your phone,” says Sue Davies, director at Patchwork Technology.

“You can use the system with a potato planter and turn the seeder off when it reaches a certain distance from the hedge; it’s the same technology for section control on a sprayer,” she adds.

The main benefit is saving money. “Everything we do is about saving money, you can save 15% on inputs just by using a simple GPS system.”

Smart farming is another way to improve efficiencies, something Fendt will be bringing along to the show in the form of their FendtONE system which offers integrated connectivity between the office and the machines, merging them into a new operation unit.

The range of precision technology on offer now is incredible, says Elizabeth Halsall at the Midlands Machinery Show. “From the seminars to the stands, visitors will be able to gather information on what technologies they can bring back to their own farm, regardless of whether they’re looking for entry-level systems or the next big step in precision agriculture.”

Entry to the show is free of charge, however, visitors will be required to register their attendance. For fast track entry, pre-registration is available at: https://midlandsmachineryshow.ticketsrv.co.uk/tickets/

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