Grassroots product to cut farm costs
A Belfast company has launched a new GPS-based app which can save farmers up to 15pc on fertiliser costs
Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30
With farm finances tight and the cost of fertiliser a big burden on cashflow, Belfast company Sixty-5 Technologies Ltd has launched a new simple to use app-based GPS guidance system to help farmers save money.
Grass-Guide is a system that guides farmers while spreading fertiliser or applying pesticides to help eliminate overlaps and missed areas, thereby making the process more efficient.
The company claims savings of up to 15pc on fertiliser costs could be achieved using GPS as testing has found that the further an operator drives from a fixed reference point, such as a hedge, the higher the pass-to-pass inaccuracy and increased wastage occurs.
Sixty-5's software development team is based in Belfast and the company is led by John Arrell, who has over 15 years experience in precision farming. Mr Arrell was increasingly frustrated that entry-level products on the market were aimed towards the arable and tillage sectors and grass-based farmers were expected to adopt technology not designed primarily for their use. With this in mind he decided to build a team of dedicated people and develop their own system.
"We think Grass-Guide's number one feature is its ease of use," said Mr Arrell. "Once the tractor operator enters the implement width, there is only one button to press to get going. After that the software takes care of everything else."
The system displays a coverage map, guidelines and predicted direction for the operator to follow, eliminating the need for either A-B lines or a light-bar.
The system is built on an android platform and is supplied with a seven inch Samsung tablet. The guidance software itself is an app, which means it is seamlessly updated to ensure the user always has the latest version installed. Grass-Guide uses the latest NovAtel GPS/Glonass Agstar satellite receiver which is globally regarded as the most reliable single band receiver.
The receiver is easily mounted via magnets and is supplied complete with a mounting plate should the tractor have a non-metal cab. The tablet connection to the receiver is via bluetooth and a GPS output is also available to connect to modern implements.