Precision agriculture ‘on the cheap’ with a lightbar

Farmers interested in precision agriculture can try it out “on the cheap” with a device which won a technological award certificate of merit at the recent LAMMA machinery show in England.

Agricision’s onTrak lightbar guidance system is attached to the bonnet of a tractor, and alerts the driver if he is going off course in whatever task he is carrying out.

Used in conjunction with a free downloadable app on an iPhone or iPad, it make satellite guidance more affordable, at a price of £675.

It connects wirelessly using Bluetooth, and can be easily swapped between vehicles.

The operator inputs the tractor and implement width, and sets a line of travel.

A green signal on the lightbar shows he is on course, going off course brings a red light on either side.

Accuracy is to the industry standard 20-30cm.

Guidance records can be stored against a field name for future use. Guidance can be paused, to refill a sprayer or spreader, for example, before resuming when returning to the stop point.

A receiver in the lightbar is powered by a rechargeable battery with 24 hours operating capacity.

Adam Keene, Director of Agricision, who has worked as an agricultural contractor, said onTrak is ideal for farmers who don’t need sophisticated auto-steer GPS systems, but can benefit from the increased accuracy offered by guidance.

Mr Keene won a 2016 award from MassChallenge, which awards over $2m per year in equity-free cash prizes to help high-impact startups.

The onTrak app only requires an Internet connection to install periodic updates. It can also be used for field size calculation and recording of worked area.

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