Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

New tech allows better efficiency and cuts costs

Nolan on GPS

Advanced: Technology, especially GPS, plays a huge role in every field operation.
Advanced: Technology, especially GPS, plays a huge role in every field operation. "But young lads pick all this stuff up very fast," says Kevin
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Social media isn't the only technological tool that Nolan is harnessing to maximise returns. Global positioning satellite (GPS) receivers are now standard kit on all his machinery.

"Anyone who thinks that this kit is too expensive hasn't done the figures. There's no other way to farm," Nolan emphatically states.

"It gives us efficiencies in a whole load of different ways. For example, we will never end up taking a couple of half widths of the combine header when we're finishing out blocks in the field.

"Or when you're unloading or on the phone, you still have 25ft of the header full of crop. I reckon that it increases our harvesting productivity by 8-10pc. On a 6.3m ringroller, you could be talking an improvement of up to 15pc."

A new sprayer and fertiliser spreader also make the most of GPS, coming as they do with automatic shut-offs every time the machine travels over ground already covered.

Nolan estimates that this will save him up to 7pc on reduced spray inputs.

"You're also more relaxed at work, so you can keep going a bit longer and still arrive home feeling fresh enough.

"We move the kit around from machine to machine but it only takes about 10 minutes to do it. And the young fellas are able to get the hang of it in no time.

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"We've switched to Russian satellites because we found the US ones struggled a bit with high trees and often took up to 20 minutes to locate you.

"Originally we were getting an accuracy of about +/-10cm but that's down to +/-2cm now, even without the requirement for a base station in the field.

"Most of it will be fed through the phone from now on.

"What was costing €14,000 five years ago is now closer to €10,000, and no annual licence fee."

Indo Farming