With demand for precision farming products and services increasing rapidly, official Trimble reseller, AS Communications arranged an open day
With demand for precision farming products and services increasing rapidly, official Trimble reseller, AS Communications (UK) Ltd arranged an open day to explain and demonstrate the latest innovations. David Williams attended.
Trimble is recognised as one of the main specialist manufacturer of precision farming technology equipment and recently launched some totally new products along with extended capabilities for some of its current products at the German Agritechnica show, in November. The AS Communications event; ‘Precision Farming – The Next Turn’, was held at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, and was designed to allow farmers and farm managers, as well as machinery dealers, to find out about the latest technology and the benefits and cost savings available through its use.
Besides its Trimble product range, AS Communications also represents Dickey-john Farmstead and Farm Works software products and the company works closely with signal providers including RTK Farming, which is based close to Duxford, and which took the opportunity to tell attendees about the services it offers as well as its future plans for increased coverage.
“Over 90 growers from across the UK attended the free precision farming technology event,” explained AS Communications managing director Will Mumford. “The latest products were showcased and there was a presentation from a Lincolnshire farm manger explaining how his farm has seen increased efficiency and reduced costs through the implementation of precision farming technology to improve existing farm operations. Feedback from attendees was extremely positive and providing a dedicated event at this excellent location meant everyone got a lot out of the day.”
The main products featured were the new Trimble CFX-750 Lite display, the Trimble TMX-2050 display, Trimble NextSwath and the Trimble UX5 unmanned aerial system.
The CFX-750 Lite was displayed for the first time at Agritechnica and the Duxford event, just a few weeks after, was the first opportunity for many farmers in the UK to see the cost-effective display. The Lite version joins the CFX-750 display but is available at a lower cost, for those who don’t need all the functions of the standard model, but it can be upgraded later, to include application control and full auto-guidance.
Also on show was the new TMX-2050 display which incorporates a large 30.8cm high-definition colour touchscreen and integrated camera. The user interface is similar to that of a tablet or smartphone allowing users to quickly become used to its intuitive features. Users can access FmX Plus or Precision-IQ applications, FmX Plus using the familiar workflow and set-up features of existing Trimble displays whereas Precision IQ uses a new graphics-rich and intuitive workflow.
The Connected Farm dashboard on the TMX-2050 provides a central location to view information such as weather forecasts and rainfall, commodity prices and fleet management information, the data stored in the cloud, negating the need for USB sticks to store and transfer information.
The new TMX-2050 display will be available later this year, and its focus is the Precision-IQ application which will be available as standard and includes custom applications for guidance with standardised protocols including Isobus.
A new innovation is a range of third-party apps for the Android-based display with Trimble opening up its system to allow software developers to produce apps compatible with the screen. This means that app programs, tailored to suit local requirements, can be made available and used, which is particularly relevant where there is localised legislation to comply with. All apps must be approved by Trimble before they can be added to Trimble’s App Central app store. So far, those apps available include diagnostic tools to identify and address implement error codes, fertiliser calibration charts and work order and document-based software applications for agriculture.
“The availability of apps for the Trimble displays extends their use far beyond field guidance and automatic steering,” explained Will. “Allowing the integration of apps from implement manufactures means extra information and control features can be added and having set-up manuals and diagnostic information on the screen, will save a lot of time and increase efficiency for users.”
NextSwath is a new feature available from Trimble that increases the efficiency of operations through automatic steering during headland turns.
This was demonstrated at the event on a Fendt tractor equipped with the new system and created a lot of interest from potential users who could see its timesaving benefits when used for arable tasks. “When the operator carries out the headland turn, there is a tendency to turn slightly late every time, to avoid any possibility that the turn could be carried out slightly too early, resulting in land not treated or cultivated,” said Will. “With NextSwath, the system calculates the optimum turn point to ensure the tractor turns as soon as possible but without any land being missed. In trials using 4 tractors, all with identical drills, the comparative turning time with and without the system was 18 and 22 seconds, representing an average time saving of 6 seconds for each turn which doesn’t sound a lot . However, when the number of turns on each field are taken into account the savings become significant, and there is less operator fatigue too.”
Also demonstrated at the airfield was the UX5 remote aircraft equipped to carry out precise aerial surveys of agricultural land using its on-board high-resolution camera. AS Communications is offering the UX5 at a cost of approximately 34,000 depending on specification, as part of a full package including software and operator training. The only extra cost is Civil Aviation Authority training and assessment which is a legal requirement for those using unmanned aircraft commercially.
Finally, there was the announcement of the new Soil Scout product, recently taken on by AS Communications. Soil Scout is a permanently buried wireless solution that transmits moisture, temperature and salinity readings in near real-time from up to 4m below the surface for up to 20 years to enable the user to make decisions regarding their irrigation needs.
Supporting AS Communications at the event were specialists from Trimble’s European headquarters who had flown in specially, and were available to answer questions and provide advice to users.