Managing weather windows amid climate change
August 5, 2020
If there is one thing that will keep a farmer up at night, it’s the weather. And despite continually advancing meteorological technologies, weather has grown more unpredictable and localised, leading to shrinking windows of opportunity to apply inputs and get the combine rolling.
Optimising these opportunities is where precision technologies can pay in dividends as they allow farmers to make marginal gains and get the most out of their inputs and crops that would not be possible otherwise.
So what options are there?
The obvious place to start or make improvements is the steering system. This will help growers get the most from their tractors and could save up to 10% on input costs through improved accuracy.
If guidance lines are in the right place, it can speed up spray and fertiliser applications, helping producers to catch those periods of good weather.
Though every application is different, improved accuracy could save on time – but naturally factors like boom width and other elements have a massive impact on this.
Using section and rate control on a drill, sprayer or spreader can really enhance the way the machine operates and can increase outputs from the tank and make application accuracy a lot higher, optimising the flow rate and avoiding double coverage.
It’s another tool to maximise use of weather windows, as the time savings add up.
Accurately calculating and executing the end-of-row turns means precise alignment, no under or overshooting and minimised skips and overlaps when lining up for the next row.
NextSwath, Trimble’s end-of-row turn technology, helps operators save time and increase productivity by directing the tractor to approach the next line with a precise turn.
Additionally, it can make tighter turns with pull-tyre implements, meaning farmers can make better use of the space which is needed for this, allowing them to maximise the headland and make further marginal gains.
Keeping track of vehicles, liquid levels and localised weather are all major advantages of a fully incorporated telematics system across an agricultural fleet.
Using telematics effectively means machines can keep running and are where the farm manager wants them to be at the right time. Controlled management can be a really useful way to save time and direct a fleet to make optimal use of the weather opportunities.
Telematics can report information as well as help producers bank up information to analyse and base future decisions on.
Collecting data from any farm machine can give deeper insights to operations – what works and what doesn’t – and will be key to the future of farming and informed decision making.
Isobus weather systems provide instant access to localised conditions – especially useful for sprayer operators – and can plot all aspects of weather, from temperature to wind and humidity, allowing for a field-by-field comparison.
Data analytics can help improve accuracy across the board as producers can overlay it with farm maps, pinpointing troublesome spots that need particular attention – adding another level of accuracy and subsequently time and input savings.
Being prepared really is key to best managing changeable and unpredictable weather. Precision technology, in its various forms, all adds to this preparedness. It’s about maximising the output of every machine so producers know they have done everything they possibly can in the windows of opportunity that they have.