Trimble autosteer and the Ottawa Farm Show

trimble autosteerI recently attended the Ottawa Farm Show and I stopped at a few booths. One of those stops was at the Trimble booth.

I had quite in-depth conversation about the various parts of how to use the Trimble system.

Here’s what I learned:

The autosteer system becomes profitable for farmers who have 300 acres or more. Anything less than 300 acres and savings becomes less visible.

The main thing you can do the Trimble system is avoid overlap. If you have too much overlap with your planting or fertilizing, you can save a bit of money by using a Trimble system.

Ease of use

I was amazed to see how easy it was to use. I had never used the Trimble system before, but I found it very easy to pick up only after a few minutes.

While it was not as intuitive as a smart phone, it would be relatively easy to pick up for a person who loves technology.

Favourite feature

My favorite features was the fact that if you overlap something that you’ve already sprayed or planted it will shut off your planter or your sprayer .

That was one of the coolest features that I noticed.

What about older tractors?

They also have a system called EZ Steer that can be fitted onto an older tractor. Basically, it attaches to the steering column and turns the steering with a small motor.

This system is easy to set up and transfer to another tractor. I talked to the guys and they said it only takes about 30 minutes.

Here is a quick video showing your what it looks like.

Click here if you can’t see the video.

Cost

The system I found cost around $4000, and that does not include any kind of monitoring all.

Needless to say, it is very expensive. You have to make sure you have enough land to buy an auto steer system to make sure you get your return on investment.

Do you need auto steer?

Depending on how big your farm is, you may find an auto steer system very effective.

As I mentioned, 300 acres is the breaking point. If you have less than 300 acres, you may not find the system as helpful.

However, if you have more than 300 acres, you will definitely save money using this type of system.

Think about how much money in fuel you can save by not overlapping when you’re cultivating, planting or spraying.

One thing that I found out that I thought was very interesting was the fact that markers on your planter are costly.

Each marker can cost upwards of $6000. If you don’t buy markers on your planter, you can put that money into GPS.

Uses?

There are a few unique uses for Trimble’s steering solution.

Here are a few of the uses:

  • Mark where rocks and fence posts are.
  • Mark where a bale of hay is left.
  • Use the system to navigate to bales of hay.
  • Auto shut of when overlap occurs.

These are a few of the options that I found interesting.

Auto steer options

Trimble offers a few different systems. They have the EZ Steer system, easy pilot system, and their autopilot automated system. I think any one would be a good addition for a farm. Of course it depend on how many acres you have.

How much does a Trimble System cost?

To get fully set up you could be looking at around $10-$15,000 or more depending on what you chose to do.

Also, you can get the Trimble people to set up the system on your tractor as well, which would be an additional cost.

Final thoughts

In the end, the many benefits of using a Trimble system are well worth it if the cost is justified.

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