For years those of us who cover the ag machinery market have been writing about precision agriculture. And mostly what we focus on is what's new, and how to apply it to your farm. Don't worry we won't stop doing that.
However, at the Farm Progress Show Trimble - a long-time supplier to this market - had a media breakfast where the firm talked about its products, and discussed real-time kinematics - or RTK - correction for the market. Trimble was the first user of RTK back in 1992, and is a leader in working with dealers to get these higher level systems into the market.
The sea change I noticed at that conference wasn't the discussion of new products. It was the discussion that RTK isn't always RTK and Trimble's contention that some precision firms are playing fast and loose with the term.
For editors, RTK has always been defined (at least in our minds) as sub-inch accuracy that's repeatable year after year with no drift. Trimble contends that some competitors aren't delivering a reliable, sub-inch correction signal at a level that they say could be classed as RTK.
For farmers making an investment in the equipment, you want to be sure you get a system that meets all your needs. Field days and demonstrations do help. Talking to existing users is important too. Sharing ideas, comments and information where necessary is good too.
I'm not endorsing anyone's system, or a specific company's claims about their product. To me the change is that this industry is maturing after more than 15 years in the market and the competition is focusing on more than the "new-tech" side of the ledger. Doesn't make it easier for buyers since everyone claims to be the best. Networking will probably be your best tool to help you make decisions on these purchases going forward.
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