DS Publicity Group

January 27, 2005 18:06 ET

Precision Farming Hot Topic at 2005 Toronto Farm Show

Canadian International Farm Equipment Show Coming February 8th - 11th, 2005 Attention: Agriculture Editor, Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ON--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 27, 2005) - Precision Farming is the latest advancements in technology, namely Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS), being put to use in aiding the agricultural community. It enables farmers to use electronic guidance to direct movement of computerized farm machinery as well as collect and analyze data. The data is then applied by farmers for improved resource use, protection of the environment and optimization of farm productivity. Farmers and agriculture-related companies from across North America are preparing to see the latest in Precision Farming and other agricultural advancements at the Canadian International Farm Equipment Show from February 8th-11th, 2005 at the International Centre (6900 Airport Road).

Precision Farming involves several components - Yield Monitors, Variable Rate Technology, Guidance Systems, Field Scouting and Data Analyses/Mapping. Yield Monitoring provides a crop yield by time or distance and also tracks other data such as distance and bushels per load, number of loads and fields. This data can then provide a yield of each field. Instantaneous yield monitors are currently available from several manufacturers for all recent models of combines. The Variable Rate Technology works with computerized machinery for fertilizing or weed spraying. This technology can be used with granular, liquid and gaseous fertilizer materials, due to a range of available variable rate controllers. The rates can be manually controlled by the driver or automatically controlled by an on-board computer with an electronic prescription map. Variable rate technology also has available controllers to electronically turn booms on and off, and alter the amount and blend of herbicide applied. Using the weed mapping option, a farmer can chart weeds while combining, seeding, spraying or field scouting. This data is entered on a keypad or buttons hooked up to a GPS receiver and data-logger, so that all new information can be mapped out on a computer and compared to yield maps, fertilizer maps and spray maps.

The Guidance System can also be used to generate very accurate topographic maps of any field. This is useful when interpreting yield maps and weed maps as well as planning for grassed waterways and field divisions. Field boundaries, roads, yards, tree stands and wetlands can all be accurately mapped to aid in farm planning. The GPS can be coupled to a salinity meter sled, which is towed behind an ATV or pickup, across fields affected by salinity. Salinity mapping is valuable in interpreting yield maps and weed maps as well as tracking the change in salinity over time.

Field Scouting is an important and necessary part of Precision Farming. With the use of a portable system, a farmer can identify and record the location of problems or events that will affect production, including soil differences, insect infestations, fertility deficiencies and weed problems. Remote sensing, satellite and infrared images can also be employed, while scouting. With the large amount of data that field scouting, electronic sensors and electronic controllers collect, Data Analysis requires a good computer. Farmers wanting to keep track of the yearly data to study trends in fertility, yields, salinity and numerous other parameters need a large database with the capability to archive and retrieve data for future analyses.

With the growing popularity of Precision Farming, more innovations are coming around quickly. Two exhibitors, of the many involved with Precision Farming at the Canadian International Farm Equipment Show, have created auto-steer options for their guidance systems that make work a little easier on the farm.

Terradox Corporation, best known for its field proven, award-winning SiteWinder™ Agricultural GPS Guidance System, is showcasing its newly launched SureTrak™ Auto-Steer Option. With the SureTrak option connected to the vehicle's hydraulic steering, SiteWinder automatically steers the vehicle along straight or curved paths for precise hands-off field operations. This option makes SiteWinder more versatile and more appealing to an even broader market. Farmers and commercial applicators of fertilizer and agricultural chemicals use SiteWinder to improve precision and productivity for a variety of field operations including seeding and crop spraying.

The OnTrac is Cultiva's new Auto-Steering Add-On to its already very popular Cultiva ATC. Just line up the vehicle close to the swath to be tracked and OnTrac will engage automatically. When entering a headland, OnTrac automatically disengages, with no buttons to press and no struggling with the steering wheel. At any time, the operator can grab the steering wheel and steer to avoid an obstacle or to override the OnTrac system. The main computer inside the Cultiva ATC converts and saves DGPS signal inputs in a high precision trajectory representation. This information as well as current position, heading and speed of the vehicle is used by the ATC to compute steering instructions at a rate of 5 times per second.

The Canadian International Farm Equipment Show is managed by dmg world media, an international publishing and exhibition company that produces more than 300 market-leading trade exhibitions, consumer shows and fairs each year as well as publishing more than 65 related magazines, newspapers, directories and market reports. For exhibitor information, contact Jane Hickman or Judy Johnston at 1434 Chemong Road, Unit 3, R.R. #1, Peterborough, ON, Canada, K9J 6X2. Telephone 1-888-689-3721. Fax (705) 741-2539.

The Canadian International Farm Equipment Show is sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the Ontario Retail Farm Equipment Dealers' Association (ORFEDA), and supported by the Ontario Wholesale Farm Equipment Association (OWFEA) and Ontario Farmer Publications. Show hours: Tuesday, February 8th 9:00 am - 4:30 pm; Wednesday, February 9th 9:00 am - 4:30 pm; Thursday, February 10th 9:00 am - 4:30 pm; Friday, February 11th 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Location: International Centre, 6900 Airport Road. For more information, visit www.torontofarmshow.com.

/For further information: Media Passes available through DS Publicity Group./ IN: AGRICULTURE

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