Bruce Fulk farms 3,500 acres of dry land corn and raises 300 head of cattle and 400-500 yearlings in the small farming community of Wallace, Nebraska. Fulk began using the satellite-delivered Trimble® CenterPoint™ RTX™ correction service in March of 2012, and expects to save about seven to eight percent per year in seed and fuel costs. He runs the service on two Trimble FmX® integrated displays in his tractors, and plans to switch one of the FmX integrated displays to his combine when harvesting season arrives.
Fulk uses the CenterPoint RTX service "just about everywhere the tractor or combine moves"—for strip tilling ahead of the planter, planting, cultivating, and harvesting. He credits the CenterPoint RTX service with saving him time, money, and energy through improved accuracy and efficiency.
"With CenterPoint RTX, I don’t have any overlaps or skips. My row shutoffs on my planter shut the seed off at the end of the row where it should be, and the stress and strain on the operator is so much less," said Fulk. "I climb in the tractor, hit the button, and shoot 'er through the field. I can put in more hours and not be as tired and stressed when I get out of the tractor."
And the savings from the CenterPoint RTX service are significant for Fulk. “Row shutoffs alone on the planter—not counting fertilizer shutoff—will probably save me about four to five percent per year in seed savings," says Fulk. "And when you add the fuel savings from eliminating overlaps and skips, you can add another three percent in savings." And, since no monthly data plan or additional hardware is required, it translates into additional savings.
Increased Efficiency and Accuracy
Fulk's strip tilling efforts require the high level of accuracy and repeatability of the CenterPoint RTX service. "In the spring when I strip till ahead of the planter, CenterPoint RTX lets me line up the planter on the strip till marks and place the seed exactly where it needs to be," said Fulk. "It’s very accurate and efficient—right on the row. I need it to be dead center because that's where I’ve laid the fertilizer band, and CenterPoint RTX puts it right there."
The CenterPoint RTX service provides 1.5 inch (3.8 centimeter)** repeatability, but Fulk believes the accuracy to be even better. "I've found the accuracy to be better than advertised. It's almost dead on all the time. Perfect. And it's the same thing picking corn. It keeps the combine on the row, calibrating. It’s beneficial in a lot of ways," says Fulk.