Post by Karel Charvat

Operation of agricultural machinery significantly influences the economic profitability of crop management. First of all, the fuel consumption, machines and operators workload, control of performed treatments and the environmental effects such as reducing the risk of deterioration of soil physical properties.

From technical point of view the monitoring system involves tracking of the vehicles position using GPS combined with acquisition of information from on-board terminal (CAN-BUS) and their online or offline transfer to GIS environment.

Verification of the monitoring system will be done at medium-sized farm, where it will serve for an evaluation of tractors work during basic operation such as soil tillage, fertilization, sowing and application of pesticides. Similar monitoring will be tested at the enterprise which is offering services for farmers (e.g. MJM Litovel) for assessing the quality of work for customers.

  • Evaluation of the economic efficiency of machinery operations within the fields
  • Precise records of crop management treatments
  • Management of machinery operations – increasing the efficiency of planning of crop management
  • Control of requirement for field operations:
    • control of pass-to-pass errors and overlaps, coverage of maintained area and recommended work speed
    • Control of applied input material in comparison to prescribed rates
    • Compliance of agro-environmental limits (Nitrate Directive, GAEC, protection of water resources, etc.)

Based on the level of information processing and their interaction with other farm data, three use cases:

Tracking the machinery fleet which allows localization of farm vehicles in real time. This information provide an overview of current operations of machines and is crucial for the planning of field work and an evaluation machines usage in time. Monitoring of machine location using GPS and GSM/GPRS allows calculating working time, downtime and base information from CAN-BUS. The base alarm function could be implemented into the system to alert when machine is leaving of defined area or in case of rapid decrease of the fuel level.

Evaluation of economic efficiency of the crop management treatments within the fields. A prerequisite is the identification of fields and tractor equipment for the accurate estimation of field job costs based on the fuel consumption and used and working time. An analysis of tractor passes with information about machine parameters allows evaluating compliance of working widths and operation speed, which are an indicator of the quality of field work. Simultaneously records of performed operations will be used in agronomic registration.

Evaluation of machinery passes on the soil environment. This includes detailed analysis of the tractor trajectories within the fields considering the site specific conditions. The aim is to estimate the negative effect of machine tracks on the soil environment (especially soil compaction) and compliance of agro-environmental limits (nitrates directive, GAEC, protection of water resources, etc.). An optional extension of this evaluation represents a connection of machinery tracking with the records of applied materials (fertilizers, pesticides) from the board computer to check the accuracy of the application of agrochemicals.

Main features of monitoring system:

  • Versatility and easy portability to different machines
  • Tracking using GPS and online data transfer via GPRS
  • Connection to CAN-BUS/ISO-BUS
  • Tool for identification of the tractor equipment
  • Tool for Identification of drivers
  • Visualization of data in a GIS environment with the implementation of the background data
  • Aggregation of records by crops, field job, field, machine, driver and time window (day, week, month, vegetation season, year)