With applicators demanding new options and capabilities from in-cab computing systems, manufacturers are taking notice and trotting out enhanced solutions for everyone from the novice beginner to the seasoned precision ag enthusiast.
According to Leica Geosystem's Harlan Little, NAFTA agriculture business manager, ease-of-use remains an immense focus going forward. "Easy installation and ease-of-use are the biggest things that retailers and growers both say they need," he says. "And Leica Geosystems continues to offer exactly that - easy-to-install systems like the mojo3D that can be placed in a steer-ready machine in a matter of minutes. The mojo3D achieves this by offering a setup wizard that walks the user through the needed measurements to configure the vehicle.
"Leica is also making sure that our equipment is able to connect to nearly any machine out there, and we have just announced the release of the Steer Direct ES Electric Steering system that aids in adding automated steering to older units or one that does not have the hydraulic valve needed," Little adds. "In addition, Leica has also released connection to the John Deere "R' series tractors via the CAN connection. This allows a grower to simply plug in the mojo3D, put the antennas on the roof and go."
Meanwhile, Ag Leader is focusing its resources on water management efficiencies at a worthy time: One year after one of the most devastating droughts in U.S. history.
"Ag Leader has entered the water management market with the release of Intellislope, a new functionality available through the Ag Leader Integra display which provides tile plow control for installing field drainage tile," says Ag Leader Product Manager Aaron Friedlen. "Intellislope makes it simple to properly install drainage tile, leading to increased flexibility and higher yields."
Offering three main in-cab computing platforms (Cruizer II, Envizio Pro II and Viper Pro), Raven Industries continues to tweak its systems to allow increased connectivity.
"Emphasis on interfacing and integration to all of the various Raven application control, planter, harvest, steering and Slingshot systems to allow the user to have one field computer platform that will meet their current and future farming needs is a big focus for us," says Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor. "In addition, we continue to invest on interface enhancements to Raven's Slingshot system for automatic job file transfer, including remote support to help growers and applicators efficiently move data and provide support options without requiring costly trips to the field."
Raven has also tweaked its Viper Pro and Envizio Pro II displays for enhanced control. "We've witnessed an increased demand for the ability to apply multiple products at the same time - helping to reduce the required number of trips through the field," says Molitor. "In response, Raven has increased the control options on both the Viper Pro and Envizio Pro II systems, including direct injection options."
Like Raven, Trimble currently offers three displays: The FmX integrated display, the CFX-750 display and the EZ-Guide 250 system.
"The FmX display is ideal for farmers who require high accuracy levels and enhanced functionality, the CFX-750 is ideal for broad acre and row crop farming applications with almost any crop type, field shape, or soil type, and the EZ-Guide 250 provides basic guidance functionalities," says Mike Martinez, market manager, Trimble Agriculture Division.
With three displays currently on the market, Trimble is turning its attention to ensuring ease-of-use for its users, according to Martinez. "Trimble understands that ease-of-use is critical - especially as our precision farming functionality continues to grow.