Don't give up on ag technology because you lose GPS signal on occasion

Don't give up on ag technology because you lose GPS signal on occasion

Corn Illustrated: Don't give up on ag technology because of one hiccup.

A half-dozen farmers who farm within a reasonably close geographical area all had RTK service. Most experts say if you want to power auto-steer and plant, you need RTK accuracy. A few people claim they still get by doing it with WAAS, but in most areas WAAS isn't that accurate. It's not designed to be that accurate all the time.

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Each of these individuals was having an issue now or again with losing signal from their RTK provider. One sat for 45 minutes last spring while planting until the signal came back.

Maintain signal: If you're going to plant with auto-steer, you need to maintain signal. Just because you've always done it one way doesn't mean there might not be a better way if you start having issues.

So are they all driving manually again this spring without GPS? No, instead they searched for a cost-effective solution. Pooling resources, they invested in their own RTK tower and mounted it on a centrally located grain leg where all of them can get signal. They split the cost between them. Since doing so they report that losing signal while in the field is no longer an issue.

The theme at the National Farm Machinery Show 2015 was Web-based services for storing and retrieving information. Instead of having all your data in a software program on your computer, send it to the cloud through a service. Retrieve it when you want it. It's a solution to the 'what if the computer dies' questions.

These are just two examples of how farmers who value technology are fine-tuning it to improve efficacy and reliability. They're getting lots of help from ag business who want to serve their needs. One of those needs going forward is how to store and maintain the integrity of all data collected on the farm.

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If you lose signal this spring, don't assume you're doomed in your area to never have a reliable signal. Instead look for a solution. You might be surprised at what you find.

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