May will allow us some breathing space before we start into lifting approximately 500t of flower bulbs in June.
One aspect that we are trying to implement more and more on the farm is precision farming. For the second year running, our spring crops have been planted with the aid of RTK steering guidance for laying down our beds.
When looking at guidance and RTK costs, it is hard to initially see the benefit, aside from straight beds top to bottom. However, it is at harvest time when it really starts to show. Having each bed spaced at exactly 75” with the four rows of three lines placed exactly in the bed centre means there is no wheeling dame during the year when spraying or laying straw.
At present, we only have the RTK machine laying down the beds with each machine after holding that line. This works really well but we would like to move more machines onto guidance to really start to grind the benefit out of the technology.
Harvesting with auto-steer would make the process much easier on man and machine.
As we only crop 200 acres of root crops and some cereals, etc., for rotation, we are only just at a size where the technology is justifiable but hopefully as we grow in size and as we change our tractors to auto-trac ready newer models, we will be able to employ guidance across a greater range of activities.
The Trimble system looks the best fit for us as the signal subscription fees are broken into a pay as you go monthly scheme, not a yearly flat rate. Also, the support from Precision Ag Ireland in Cashel, who contract in a machine for RTK work with us and supply Trimble systems, would be a big factor in going that route.