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Digital pursuits in the world of agricultural technology

The list of tools to collect, manage and transfer farm data is growing. Here’s a look at some of the recent additions.

Lehmann

If your focus is on gathering more data rather than managing it, drone technology may be for you, and a new contender has recently stepped up with a high-tech offering. France’s Lehmann Aviation made a move to break into the North American data-gathering market this spring with the launch of what it calls “an efficient and affordable” aerial system for precision agriculture. Its LA300 drone (see photo at top of page) comes with a MicaSense RedEdge multi-spectral camera.

Suggested retail price for the full flight package is US$8,990.

The LA300AG drone is compatible with the latest version of Lehmann OperationCenter software for flight preparation and mission control, which is designed to work with Windows8.1 tablets and PCs. The company claims OperationCenter is very user friendly.

To get multi-spectral images of crops, the user just has to set waypoints on the touch-screen map of the area, and OperationCenter will automatically calculate all mission parameters. After the trajectory is sent to the LA300AG via Wi-Fi and the drone is launched by hand, it automatically accomplishes the flight and lands fully autonomously at the chosen site.

The LA300AG can fly for up to 45 minutes at a range of up to 25 km (15.5 miles) and can cope with crosswinds of up to 35 km/h. Together with the RedEdge camera the LA300AG weighs 950 g (two pounds) and has a 92-centimetre wingspan.

Trimble

Early this year Trimble announced the launch of its Android-based TMX-2050 display, along with a suite of mobile apps, all of which are intended to allow producers to increase their on-farm connectivity through the brand’s Connected Farm telematics offering.

“The TMX-2050 display provides growers with an environment they are already familiar with since it uses the same Android-based platform used by many mobile devices today,” said Erik Ehn, Smart Machines business area director of Trimble’s agriculture division, in a company press release. “Growers are able to customize the display screen with applications that are most important to their workflow.”

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The display includes Trimble’s Connected Farm Scout, Fleet, Productivity, Operator, and Irrigate applications. Also available on the display is the Connected Farm dashboard, which provides access in one central location to key information such as rainfall totals, weather forecasts, commodity tracking, planting coverage, aerial imaging, irrigation monitoring and control. Although some Connected Farm applications may require additional purchases of hardware, data plans or service subscriptions, growers will also have access to third-party mobile applications.

John Deere

If you run older John Deere equipment that isn’t JDLink-compatible or if you have a mixed fleet, transferring files wirelessly to and from all your machines is now easier. In June, Deere introduced its Mobile Data Transfer device, which can be plugged into the USB port of an in-cab monitor to create a Wi-Fi signal that allows you to use your smartphone to transfer agronomic files wirelessly.

“It eliminates the manual transfer of data,” said Jeff Nolting of John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group in a release. “Your phone sends the data to the Operations Centre to give farm managers and trusted advisers immediate access.”

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Deere has also introduced the MyJobs app for smartphones. It allows farm managers to plan jobs through the brand’s cloud-based Operations Centre and to send the details of them to each employee’s smartphone in real time.

New Holland

This spring New Holland added some major upgrades to its PLM Connect telematics system that are also intended to make on-farm data transfer easier. Producers using blue equipment will now be able to wirelessly transfer a variety of real-time data between their machines and the farm office via the brand’s cloud-based PLM Connect portal.

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The upgraded PLM Connect features now allow machines to be monitored from the farm office, and settings or operating instructions can be sent to an operator in real time. It also further increases the degree of interaction that is possible between machines at work in the field and a manager in the farm office, so wireless transfer of data, such as yield maps, fuel usage and job status, between the machine and the cloud-based PLM Connect portal are now possible. The information can then be accessed on a PC or tablet.

(Source – http://www.country-guide.ca/2015/10/28/digital-pursuits-in-the-world-of-agricultural-technology/47505/)

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