Evaluation of new technologies using guidance systems is very important and can help producers with choosing the right equipment for their applications. Without using satellite navigation during field operations, there is a tendency for passes to overlap. That results in waste of fuel and pesticides, longer working times and also environmental damage. When utilising satellite guidance for field operations, there is a close connection with controlled traffic farming (CTF) as well. CTF is currently a quite quickly developing farming system based on fixed layout of machinery passes across a field. Tracks precisely set out for a machine’s tyres in the field could be a tool for minimising soil compaction risk which is another threat to the environment. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the accuracy of currently available guidance systems for agricultural machines. Real pass-to-pass errors (omissions and overlaps) in a field were measured. Consequently, comparison between observed guidance systems was made regarding final working accuracy. Further, intensity of machinery passes, percentage of wheeled area and repeated passes in fields were monitored. These measurements were made in fields under real operating conditions using a conventional tillage system with ploughing and also a conservation tillage system, both systems with randomly organized traffic. Finally, the same parameters were monitored in fields where fixed machinery tracks were used for all operations and passes but only under a conservation tillage system. Pass-to-pass accuracy was measured for the evaluation of different guidance systems. Size of missed areas or overlaps was evaluated statistically. Concerning intensity of machinery passes and total field area affected by machinery passes, the following facts were found out. The experiments with randomized traffic showed a significant difference of the parameters mentioned above between a conventional tillage system with ploughing and a conservation tillage system. Wheeled area was 86 and 64%, respectively which proves benefits of conservation tillage. The experiments with a fixed track system showed that the total run-over area by machinery tyres decreased even more (up to 31%) in comparison to randomized traffic in a field (only fields under conservation tillage system were monitored and evaluated). The following statements based on our results can be made. The navigation and therefore possibility for better accuracy of machinery passes in fields together with permanent machinery tracks utilization could help with soil condition improvement and also energy savings which would result from that. The CTF system will help with further development of a system for soil compaction protection which is currently a real necessity.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 5, 2010
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