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Michael Stevens is a corn and soybean farmer in South Dakota. He farms 1800 acres with his dad in the southeast corner of the state, about a half hour from Sioux Falls. An early technology adopter or ‘experimenter’ as he calls himself, Stevens began using location and GPS technology on his farm about
“To start with, when I would lose signal my sprayer would shut off and I would get a bunch of static from my dad,” said Stevens. “When you’re using systems like this, every time you lose a signal it takes 30 minutes to an hour to lock in again. And with my old system, at about 6:00 p.m., we’d lose signal and steering would get really inaccurate.”
Fed up, in 2011 Stevens selected the high-accuracy Trimble® CenterPoint™ RTX™ Correction Service. Available worldwide, the GPS- and GLONASS- enabled correction service is delivered via cellular communications using the Trimble DCM-300 modem. The service is currently certified for use in
“The primary reasons I selected Trimble are the accuracy of the correction service and machine start up time,” said Stevens. “The width of my soybean rows is only 22 inches, so 3 feet of accuracy is just not enough,” said Stevens. “On my planter with Trimble, I can get within an inch of where I’m aiming, or darn close.”
This added precision with CenterPoint RTX gives Stevens much higher accuracy when using his White™ planter. He eliminates skips and overlaps in his rows, and by reducing row spacing to 22 inches, Stevens can increase yields and reduce weeds. Plus, Stevens believes the CenterPoint RTX service helps to lessen operator fatigue. While it’s primarily a convenience factor, he’s not as tired at the end of the day and can leave the fields a little quicker.
“You can’t make sure your planter is functioning properly while you’re staring at a marker in the dirt,” said Stevens. “Now I can make sure my fertilizer shoot is working, overlapping areas are covered correctly before the section turns off, and nothing is plugged. You can’t do that looking at a marker all day every day.”
Overplanting and under planting in his “point rows” is also no longer a problem with Trimble. With tighter rows and fewer overlaps, Stevens can optimize these sections where shorter and shorter rows have been planted because of the orientation of his piece of land.
“The correction service from Trimble is really making my other equipment do what it’s supposed to do, making everything tie together more efficiently,” said Stevens. “The biggest feedback I can give to the dealership or to other farmers thinking about getting this is it’s as close to bulletproof as you can get.”