Machines talking to machines in the paddock

Raven to launch inter-machine connectivity

On Farm
Raven, sales manager, Jason Wirenga was on-site at the Goldacres Expo.

Raven, sales manager, Jason Wirenga was on-site at the Goldacres Expo.


Raven to launch inter-machine connectivity


PRECISION agriculture company, Raven Industries, will soon launch machine to machine connectivity. 

For farmers fuelling up in paddock and wanting to run two spray rigs in tandem, the technology could increase efficiency and safety. 

Raven, sales manager, Jason Wirenga said over the last five years the company had focused on increasing connectivity through modem type services which allowed farmers to data share from the tractor. 

“What we are doing next is taking some of that technology and proprietary software to allow machine to machine functions in raven controlled machinery,” he said.

“So what a farmer is doing in one half of the paddock can be shared with someone at the other end.

“Two operators can be working the same paddock at the same time off the same map.

Mr Wirenga said the technology was not far away. 

“We are doing some controlled releases in the United States to ensure it works and is safe,” he said.

“Then we will start releasing it globally.”

While in a perfect world the 4G mobile network would be available across the farm, Mr Wirenga said enabling technologies such as modems or Cel-Fi systems could still work. 

“The cellular technology isn’t always the best, but with modem you are looking at data only,” he said, 

“You are not transmitting voice so the bandwidth is much smaller.

“So places where you don’t have cell coverage on your phone, you can still get the data through “

Mr Wirenga said the technology relied on both controllers being Raven, as it would not work with Isobus.

Big data

While Raven Industries recently divested their holdings of SST Software to Proagrica, the company is still very much invested in big data.

“We have worked with Goldacres for about 25 years now providing application control platforms,” he said.

“We started with a simple console that allowed farmers to increase and decrease rate over the field.

“Over the years we have developed to a GPS format, upgraded computers, we are still doing product control but at a far greater level then we did back then.”

Mr Wirenga said one of the biggest changes to precision agriculture in the last five years has been the widespread adoption of GPS systems. 

“This has allowed the data management side to make a big leap,” he said.

“Farmers can now take that data and look at what they did, how they did it and then get the yield data.

“By taking all three pieces of information they can now make business decisions.”

Mr Wirenga said this ultimately resulted in more business orientated farmers. 

“Farmers are now a lot more educated in what they do,” he said.

“Being able to use information management, think like a business and not from a guess, is one of the biggest changes.”

Farmer attitude

Mr Wirenga said he believed the increase in application of farm data was due to changes in farmer attitude toward data.

“The first thing that changed was the farmers themselves,” he said.

“They used to be much more protective of the data.

“Now there is a general acceptance of digital monitoring across the population has influenced adoption by farmers.

“When technology first came out it was scary, now everything is that way,

“They are comfortable with their phone, with digital television, they are watching me everywhere else, so why not the tractor cab.”

Mr Wirenga said farmers were now less resistant to change.

“It used to be, my grandfather did this, my dad did this, so that’s what I am going to do,” he said.

“There is always a better way to do things.”

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The story Machines talking to machines in the paddock first appeared on Farm Online.


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