Technology is constantly evolving. For tech lovers with money to spare this is fantastic. For farmers that prefer the traditional methods and want to stick with the machines they’ve been driving for years, it’s not so good. Luckily there are some solutions that please the tech lovers without having to replace a single machine!
The Problem with Legacy Machines
Unless you’re brand new to farming and just beginning to build you’re fleet, you more than likely have several legacy farming machines at work on your fields.
By legacy machine we mean farming equipment like tractors and other vehicles that you use time and time again. The machines that are a perfect fit for your farming needs. The ones you don’t want to replace.
These machines allow you to sow, plough and till to absolute perfection. They’re part of the reason you can achieve that fantastic high yield year after year. The only problem is they’re not getting any younger.
As agricultural tech and precision agriculture keep pushing us forward, your legacy machines get more and more out of date.
Should you upgrade your legacy machines?
One simple solution is to finally bite the bullet, say goodbye to your legacy machines and with a positive, open mind look to buy new machines for your fleet. This has some very attractive benefits:
- New machines are less likely to break down. They are brand new, after all.
- Some come with the latest tech pre-installed. This can save you money and more importantly, connect you with new data you can use to improve your farm.
- Greater precision in farming techniques. Better tilling, precision seed planting and spraying help reduce material costs and improve accuracy.
- Support from manufacturers should anything go wrong. In case things do break down, you’ll still have the manufacturers warranty. Some manufacturers may even offer 24/7 support for customers with their latest models. This is certainly something worth considering when buying new machinery, especially if you’re not mechanically minded enough to make repairs yourself.
There are, however, some disadvantages that you need to weigh up before replacing your legacy machines:
- Firstly, the cost. New tech prices are only going up, so before you even look at buying new machines you need to calculate your budget. Is replacing your machines affordable and how much estimated profit will you make from improving your current fleet?
- You need to master using them. Understanding new tech can take some time, especially if you’ve jumped from one manufacturer to another. Factor this into your deliberations – do you have the time to learn how to use your machine?
- There’s undoubtedly going to be a better model. For some manufacturers, machine releases are just like iPhones. There’s going to be a better one released in just a few months.
Does John Deere have the solution?
John Deere is an American company that manufactures new farming and forestry equipment. They’re very successful, respected and trusted by farmers everywhere. They’re well aware of the dilemma you face when it comes to upgrading or replacing your legacy machines, so they’ve come up with a unique solution.
This is a really cool piece of tech. The JDLink is like a key fob that you can attach to your machines or carry around with you while using your legacy machines. Once you’ve finished ploughing the fields on your best, most loved machine you can simply attach the JDLink which will send data collected from your machine to your smartphone.
This has some great applications.
Firstly, you can monitor how employees are working. See how efficient they really are no matter which machine they are driving.
Secondly, by sending the data to your smartphone you can made decisions on the spot. No more trekking back to your computer to analyse the data. If you missed a section of the field you can go back straight away.
By using the JDLink you can also track where your machines are, just in case they get stolen. There are plenty more uses for this fob, get in touch with John Deere to work out how great it could be on your farm.
By compiling data from all your farming machines, regardless of age or manufacturer, you’ll be able to make leaps and bounds with precision agriculture without replacing anything on your farm.
Mobile Data Transfer
One last piece of tech from John Deere that you will find very useful (especially if you’re investing in the JDLink) is there mobile data transfer technology.
There mobile data transfer can be used with the JDLink to gather and store data from all vehicles in your fleet. You don’t need USBs and cables stretching for miles to upload your data; everything is done remotely and stored securely on a cloud service.
From tillage to harvest you can record and store your movements. Data is collected about your efficiency, millage, fuel consumption and accuracy, all feeding back to the cloud. With all this data you can get a real sense of how your farm is operating and make some important changes.
Both of these innovative solutions from John Deere are considerably cheaper than replacing your fleet with new models, but you still need to consider if they are really worth it. Just how long can you keep going with the same machines year after year?
When your new John Deere JDLink tells you that your legacy machine is terribly inefficient and needs replacing, you’ll need to buy new machinery anyway.
The Future for Precision Agriculture
The future is looking bright. With market leading manufacturers like John Deere putting in the effort to make their tech work with all machines, even their competitors, agriculture can take big steps forward.
Let us know how tech is helping you to bring your legacy machines into the future! Share your precision agriculture ideas and experience below in the comments and check back soon for more great articles.