19 January 2021
Let’s start by asking a simple question. What are variable rate agricultural machines? When referring to agricultural equipment, the variable rate is a production factor supply method based on prescription maps reading. Once the maps are set and loaded onto the control system’s memory of the equipment, which is often transmitted by ISObus systems on the tractor via USB pen drive or remote wireless connection, they simply make georeferenced information available to the control software. The software running on the machine basically compares the GPS coordinates where the equipment is located, thanks to the GPS antenna, with the coordinates uploaded via the prescription maps that associate information regarding the specific application.
Variable rate agricultural operations
This approach can be used, for example, for variable dose distribution of a determined factor to be distributed such as seeds fertiliser, and water, but it can also be used for different work on the field, to implement the herbicide and plant protection control. Generally speaking, it is precisely the use of sensors that makes it possible to perform the operations on the field since being familiar with the operating parameters is what makes it possible to control the actuators.
These systems, if also applied in managing farming wastewater, can, for example, mitigate their impact on the environment as in the distribution of wastewater with direct injection systems. In this regard,cross checking the position data detected in real time with the data uploaded by the prescription map based on the nitrogen to be distributed and the data of the NIR sensor on board the machine that measures the nitrogen content in the wastewater enable you to control the rotation speed of the pump and, with the help of the automatic guide, to implement site-specific distribution.
Variable rate agricultural equipment: Five valid considerations
Based on what has just been said and the agricultural needs to be fulfilled with the equipment, five considerations are being proposed from among the many that can be made in using machines for variable rate precision farming:
Although agriculture is not like the industry, fast, efficient and precise systems are increasingly sought after, innovating while respecting tradition. What do you think?
Written by Dr. Agr. Mattia Trevini PhD – Agroingegno