Tracking, guidance, spreader control, communication, moisture sensing, weather monitoring, pressure checking; there was a generous raft of farm-friendly technology at the event.
If pocket sized kit is more your thing, CAT Phones had some space age tech on its stand.
Exhibiting its four phone range, all phones are said to be built to last, using military grade components. The range starts with the B35, a conventional looking phone with keypad, but with 4G capabilities. Price for this phone is £99.
The range topping S61 features thermal imaging camera, laser measuring, dual SIM and 4,500mAh battery. It runs the Android Oreo operating system. Particularly relevant for farm use, it is drop proof to 1.8m and is waterproof up to three metres for an hour. The 16 megapixel camera can even be used underwater.
All phones have a two year warranty against screen damage. The S61 retails at £799.
Patchwork’s latest Black Box Marine terminal offers an all-in-one guidance and rate control function for spreaders and sprayers, based on an Android tablet.
Bluetooth connectivity and simple waterproof plug and play product controller make for easy connection to the implement, and the facility to use variable rate data from suppliers such as Soyl can be specified, along with section control, auto shut off and mapping.
Straightforward touchscreen activated profiles make it easy to swap from a spreader to a sprayer, inputting working width and section width.
Application data can be transferred via wifi or USB stick and synchronised into the Cloud using Patchwork’s Blackbox Core PC software.
KRM launched a new tablet control interface, to work in conjunction with its Calibrator Zurf control terminal.
NAVIcom, a Bluetooth unit attaches to the back of the control terminal, relaying information between a downloadable app on the tablet and the terminal.
The tablet can then control the guidance, automatic shutoff, section control and variable rate spreading. The company sees this as an alternative to IsoBus, which it says limits the spreaders capabilities and avoids high unlocking costs. The app contains spreading charts and settings, ad can email job reports for invoicing and record keeping.
Price of the NAVIcom Bluetooth interface is £2,310.
Farm vehicle security is being tackled by first time Lamma exhibitor MetaTrak, which has developed a range of immobilisation, tracking and telematics solutions for tractors, ATV’s, 4x4s and self-propelled equipment.
There are three individual elements to the system – an on-board tracking unit, activation fob and a starter-immobiliser. And all can be linked and monitored by an ios or android compatible App or web-based portal.
The immobiliser arms automatically when the engine is stopped, and needs the fob to be in-range to re-activate – though it can be deadlocked and over-ridden using the App or web portal, should the fob be lost or stolen. Lone worker activation, geo fencing and instant alerts are included, and the app can monitor up to 100 vehicles. Opting for all three elements costs £440 and includes the first year’s subscription.
Sencrop announced the launch of its UK subsidiary and unveiled its connected weather station which records rainfall, temperature and humidity – plus windspeed if an optional anemometer is specified - and feeds data back via low bandwidth wireless technology to an app.
The dashboard shows the location of the sensors plus headline data, and the user can also search historical figures by date and access seven day weather forecasts. Alerts can be set for temperature or humidity thresholds, and the data can be integrated with decision support tools, including Syngenta with which Sencrop has partnered.
The system comes with a two-year warranty, and prices start from £350 for the station and £150/year for the subscription and support.
BDC Systems has introduced a remote moisture monitoring system for wet grain as it passes through the grain dryer, using bespoke sampling units fitted to the wet and dry elevators on a plant.
Samples are then processed through a multi-chamber duct incorporating a Sinar moisture probe, and live readings showing the moisture content of both samples in percentage format are displayed on a screen, along with a graph showing the moisture trend.
The system can be linked to BDC’s grain dryer control system and data viewed remotely via an app. Costs of over drying can be minimised, points out the company, without time consuming visits to the store to take samples, and the system can be retrofitted to many existing grain systems.
The company is also evaluating a new app developed by supplier Skandia Elevator, which provides cloud-based monitoring of all equipment in the grain system, including servicing alerts. Grain Cloud connects to the system’s PLC, and set up costs depend on the complexity of establishing connectivity at the site, plus a monthly subscription.
Trelleborg highlighted a number of new technologies, including TLC plus, a sensor-based app, which compares actual pressure in the tyres to optimum pressures for the tractor weight and application defined by the company’s specialists when tyres are fitted.
Alerts are issued when tyres deviate from the optimum pressure, allowing timely adjustment. Still at the prototype stage, ConnecTire is an ‘intelligent’ tyre which monitors pressure, temperature and slippage using sensors in units on the rim and inside the carcass, transmitting the data to an app via Bluetooth and wireless technology.
In-built GPS capability also identifies the position of the tractor, boosting safety and security and ConnecTire can also integrate with precision farming software to track the number of machine passes over the field allowing management of tractor movements to limit compaction.