The return on investment of GPS automated steering systems is almost never argued anymore. GPS technology has been proven to reduce overlap, resulting in fuel savings and productivity gains that farms of all sizes can appreciate. However, in my experience, the leading reason that farms today invest in a steering system is operator comfort. Many providers in the agricultural industry offer solutions that fit this niche and most all of them perform well. Producers face a decision when purchasing steering for their farms.
If each option is so similar, how do I choose?
I am not writing today to give you technical reasons why Ag Leader SteerCommand is a great product that can steer your tractor well. It is that, but instead, I’d like to illustrate how Ag Leader has innovated in an established space such as steering.
The InCommand display sets Ag Leader apart from its competition through its ability to actively share information between all vehicles. This feature increases the odds of success in production environments where several operations are traveling through the field and needing to use the same guidance line. Let’s take a look at a farm in the Southeast where peanuts and cotton are being rotated.
Peanuts and cotton may be planted on beds/ridges, strips, or flat. Regardless, each vehicle in the operation will need to travel down these rows to plant, spray, and harvest without damaging the crop. With InCommand, the correct guidance line is always on the vehicle you need to use, without needing manually transfer anything by via USB drive. Since the peanuts grow underground, they must be dug for harvesting. If the digger tractor errs in this operation, the farmer's investment underground is destroyed. Reliance on the correct guidance line and an accurate GPS signal is critical to preserving yield. Research shows that for every 0.8 inches in deviation from the intended path, 166 lbs/acre yield loss can be expected.
As an example, say $0.20/lb selling price multiplied at 166 lbs/acre equals a roughly $33 per acre loss.
In addition to the operational efficiencies gained at harvest through easy sharing of guidance lines, each InCommand in the farm has access to any tillage, planting, application, and harvest information collected during the crop year. Would you like to see variety planted while spraying? What about taking a look at planted seed rate while harvesting? No problem with InCommand.