RTK-Driven Field Boundaries

June 14, 2012
The demand for more precise positioning technology systems, like MyWay RTK, continues to increase with each growing season. RTK in agriculture became popular for guidance in machine control applications and field operations where sub-inch, repeatable location information brought new levels of value to adopters of that technology. So while auto-steer and controlled-traffic operations have continued to increase in popularity in recent years, so too has the search for new ways to augment those technologies, to enhance even more, the profitability of these technology systems to users.

With each succeeding season it is becoming more and more obvious that a major element in our precision farming systems is not cutting the mustard anymore. Since the early 1990’s early adopters of precision farming technologies at that time were quick to geo-reference their field boundaries as a beginning step to adoption of other technologies. For too many, these same boundaries are in use today and their effectiveness at facilitating the use of other technologies is a significant shortcoming. A field boundary that is “old enough to vote” probably needs some refreshing. Consider the two images below: one is a “bad” boundary and the other is a “good” boundary.
These two examples show how production data collected in the field “fits” within the field boundary assigned to each area. While the image on the right shows an excellent fit for the data collected, the image on the left is a typical example of the need to update field boundaries to match the technologies operating in these fields. If you were the operator of the tractor attempting to use sophisticated planting technologies in the field on the left, imagine your frustration and difficulty in dealing with that bad boundary!

Farmers, are your field boundaries like the “good” one or the “bad” one? And if you are an agronomy service provider, have you taken steps necessary to offer this important service to your customers? With your equipment and MyWay RTK guiding you as you collect these field boundaries, fixing these problems is an important way to improve your return on technology investment.