In a down farm economy, upgrades are often overlooked, as the mentality is to cut costs and keep doing what you have been doing – after all, it works, right? Sometimes it is easy to overlook some very affordable upgrades that can save you money in the long run. Here is a run-down of 10 ways you can upgrade technology in your operation for less than $5000 each, and how the investment in technology will pay you dividends.
1. Trade your display for the most current model
This might seem like an unnecessary expense, but the latest model display (from Ag Leader, at least) offers many new features, allowing you to better understand how your planter is performing with individual row mapping, allows for better data management through cloud syncing, and a host of other features, not to mention, faster processor, more memory, and a better quality touch screen. Also, if you have a display that is one generation old, there is still a viable used market, so selling or trading your old display can offset some of the upgrade cost. Keeping with a current display keeps your options open to adapt to the latest technology, like electric drives or active hydraulic down force systems also.
2. Add auto steer to your operation
That’s right, if you already have a display and GPS, it is possible to add auto steer for less than $5000. Of course each situation is different, and it depends on what you want to accomplish, but the assisted steering systems like Ag Leader’s Ontrac 3 can usually be added to most vehicles and ran through your current display. The benefits of auto steer are numerous, including reduced overlap, which leads to less fuel consumption and fewer tach hours on your machine, for starters.
3. Upgrade to RTK
If you are running a subscription based signal such as TerraStar and covered by a statewide RTK network , an upgrade to RTK could actually save you money. Not only do you get a higher accuracy signal and faster convergence times, many of the state-ran networks like the Iowa Real Time Network don’t have any subscription fees, so your only annual cost is getting an internet connection in the cab with a cell modem.