GPS, Auto-Steer Not Coming Fast — It's Already Here!

There's a quick payoff for investing in today's GPS technology that even includes a savings on not needing row markers on new no-till planters.

Since higher commodity prices have been tempered by increasing costs of fertilizer, fuel, seeds and machinery, Steve Koles says finding new ways to improve farm-operating efficiency is a necessity. In fact, the president of Hemisphere GPS in Calgary, Alberta, says a full payback for an investment in either GPS or auto-steering can often be earned in just 1 year.

Ken McCauley of White Cloud, Kan., agrees, stating that he saved enough seed by installing a Hemisphere lightbar on his no-till planter to pay for the $15,000 system in a single year.

Koles says the quick payoff for growers is typically due to the reduction in driver fatigue, which allows farmers to work more hours.

"Higher-accuracy farming requires tractor guidance through fields; automatic steering of vehicles and implements; variable-rate spraying, seeding and fertilizing; auto-boom control on sprayers; and more intensive crop analysis to get higher yields," he says.

Trim Input Costs by 3%

Data from Hemisphere GPS indicates that investing in their Outback Guidance system can trim annual input costs by 3%.

- With input costs of $215 per acre with corn, a 3% error on 1,000 acres amounts to $6,450 in lost income.

- With input costs of $115 per acre with no-tilled soybeans, a 3% savings on 1,000 acres amounts to $3,450.

- With input costs of $150 per acre with wheat, a 3% error…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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