A NEW UK-based company is making great strides with its award-winning onTrak GPS steering guide which aims to keep tractor drivers on the right track for ultra-low cost precision farming.
Considered a market leading entry level GPS system, it is 100% UK produced by Agricision and costs £675 plus VAT to equip your tractor for straight line and combat work, with the added benefit the system is easily moved from one tractor to another.
With fertilizer prices reaching £1,000 a tonne and red diesel at over £1.50 a litre, the efficient use of inputs is potentially more important than ever. For spreading fertilizer on grassland, farmers without GPS often try to judge a spreading width of 12m, 18 or even 24m with the naked eye, which can lead to over or under spreading, a underlined Agricision MD, Adam Keene. The same with the sprayers when they are not working in the tramlines.
Being app-based, this system has the benefits of using the smartphones and tablets you already own, reducing costs and all firmware updates inside the onTrak receiver/lightbar and controller. The app itself is delivered automatically and remotely, Keene said. For more advanced users, cloud connectivity can be leveraged to track operations from farm to office and for record keeping.
The GPS receiver is mounted on the hood above the steering axle, which is the most responsive point and since the nose of the tractor will veer off course much sooner than above the cab, the bar luminous signals to the driver that he is deviating from his trajectory – he can also be followed on a tablet or telephone.
Mr. Keene added: “Most of our customers are grassland or mixed-grassland farmers. The system is primarily used for fertilizer application, spraying, hay and silage mowing, overseeding and cultivation work.
It is easy to install. Once you have the free downloadable app, the onTrak device is mounted to the tractor hood using built-in magnets (or adhesive magnetic discs for fiberglass hoods). Pairing with the app happens automatically.
Users can then set implement width using the simple user interface, program an AB line (like all other GPS systems, the AB line is programmed against the long edge of a field to which the operator want to stay parallel – then follow the guidance light bar as you work through the field and use the on-screen display to help you navigate to the next line at the headland.
Features include field boundary mapping and area measurement, coverage logging and area measurement, and speed display. It’s also possible to overlay work on satellite imagery and have section control visible (although this is currently for Android only).