Source: eKapija | Monday, 28.10.2019.| 09:45
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Precision agriculture – Fifteen years of Trimble Ag GNSS navigation in Serbia

Trimble AutoSync for automatic synchronization of field-office-mobile device data
Trimble AutoSync for automatic synchronization of field-office-mobile device data

Precision agriculture – a phrase with many meanings and different definitions. It includes precision planning, measurement, navigation, sowing, plant feeding, protection and other activities. The common denominator is precision positioning – a function without which there is no precision navigation or implementation of any agritechnical measure which depends on the spatial position.

The key to precision positioning are global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), the most famous of which is the American Global Positioning System (GPS), launched in 1978 as a military program.

The first commercial GPS for precision measurement ever was made by Trimble Navigation in 1984. As a pioneer in the development of the technology, Trimble has developed more than 1,000 patents which are the basis for satellite-based precision positioning. The Trimble RTK technology, launched in 1994 is of key importance for precision agriculture. It has become a widely accepted standard for real-time precision positioning, with an accuracy of 2.5 cm (1 inch) and better. A year later, Livona officially presented the Trimble GPS technology in Serbia, whereby the implementation of professional GPS devices in numerous engineering and other fields began.

The first Trimble AgGPS receivers, designed to be implemented in agriculture, were launched only a few years later. Since then, Trimble has been constantly mastering new solutions applicable in agriculture and beyond. We highlight the Trimble VRS technology, which has enabled precision positioning anywhere within the state's territory, covered with a network of permanent stations (the AGROS network in Serbia, established in 2004 by the Republic Geodetic Authority).

In only four decades since the launching of the first GPS satellite, we've come to accuracy measured in centimeters in tractors and the precision guiding of agricultural machines which used to be unimaginable. Today, tractors are often equipped with navigation systems with automatic control, including the guiding and management of towed machines.

Where is Serbia in all this? Livona presented the first Trimble systems for precision navigation in agriculture in 2004.

The commercial expansion of these systems began two years later when Trimble presented the revolutionary navigators of the Trimble EZ-Guide series. Since then, over a thousand tractors and other machines equipped with Trimble precision navigation systems have been working fields in Serbia, whereas the fields of implementation have long since expanded from mere navigation to real-time data exchange, monitoring and management of production in a system of mutually linked agricultural machines, from the field to the office and vice versa.

The implementation of the Trimble GNSS navigator provides the user with a range of data on the activities carried out, including the farmed surface, effective work and machine movement time, yields and numerous other pieces of information. Without any personal input from the user, these data are recorded automatically, enabling a detailed analysis of the works carried out and a better planning of the activities to follow.

Trimble Autopilot for perfect precision guiding of agricultural machines
Trimble Autopilot for perfect precision guiding of agricultural machines

In addition to the data collected by the Trimble GNSS navigator, other data from connected devices are increasingly available. Thanks to the ISOBUS technology, Trimble navigators act as universal terminals for controlling all the connected ISOBUS-compatible machines, including seed drills, spreaders, sprinklers and other machines.

Most popular Trimble Ag products in Serbia

It is quite clear that Serbia is keeping up with the most developed countries. This can be seen from what the farmers in Serbia choose the most frequently – the Trimble Autopilot system – which enables automatic machine guiding and management. As a universal system, it can be installed in the most modern agricultural machines (tractors, combines, self-moving sprinklers), which are fully ready for this technology, as well as in technologically simpler and older machines, where automatic management is achieved through the installation of additional components. The autopilot accuracy is 2.5 cm, making the device applicable in the most demanding farming operations (sowing, inter-row cultivation, ridging in vegetable farming etc.).

The obvious benefits of using the Trimble systems have been recognized by a wide range of users in Serbia, from family farms with properties of 50 ha, to large agricultural companies with tens of thousands of hectares of arable surfaces.

Direct labor savings are achieved through the elimination of overlaps and spans between the passages, along with the reduction of fuel costs and input by as much as 20%. The costs of mechanization are also reduced and its life cycle extended, and operations in the field are carried out more quickly and efficiently, whereas those who control the machines get far less tired.

Equally as important are indirect savings, achieved through easier compliance with optimal agritechnical deadlines, less damage done to the crops due to imprecision, and reduced human error. Precision farming also leads to bigger yields and profits.

In addition to autopilots, present in numerous medium and large farms in Serbia, the implementation of even more advanced Trimble systems is growing. These systems enable a variable application of fertilizer and seeds in parcels, section control of machines, mapping of yields, wireless data transfer and numerous other solutions.

Nearly all products from the rich Trimble portfolio are present on Serbian farms, and there's a pronounced interest in new, even more advanced solutions. Of these, the recently announced Trimble autonomous systems, which will enable driverless tractor and combine operations, are especially interesting.

Livona's experts eagerly follow the development of new technologies, preparing for the future.

About Livona d.o.o.

Livona d.o.o. is a private company dedicated to geospatial technologies, with a special focus on precision agriculture. As the only authorized Trimble distributor in Serbia, since 1995, Livona has been recognized as a pioneer and leader in the implementation of professional GNSS systems in Serbia and the region, setting the standards for the implementation of these technologies. Livona won the prestigious “Trimble Distributor of the Year” title in 2002, 2014 and 2016.

Authors: Ljubisa Adzemovic, Mitar Jovanovic – Livona d.o.o. Belgrade –
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