In order to meet the growing demands of farming in the future, agricultural enterprises are relying more and more on precision farming. These solutions include the Variotronic operating interface, which includes the applications VarioGuide, VarioDoc Pro, SectionControl, VariotronicTI automatic and ISOBUS. Heiner Müller, farmer in Rommerskirchen, and Joachim Pfannstiel-Wolf, Managing Director of the Leyen-Nesselrode GbR and the Land Expert Dienstleistungen OHG, have good experience in practice with the cutting-edge technologies from Fendt.
Sometimes everything comes at once. Because the crisp factory needs fresh potatoes right now. And after a long period of waiting, the weather is finally right for planting the potatoes for the next harvest. During this time, all the working procedures must work smoothly, all hand movements must sit right and the modern agricultural machinery must be ready for operation. Heiner Müller took over his parents’ 250-year-old farm in Rommerkirchen, Rhineland, in 2005. “I’m a farmer with heart and soul. I was born with it,” he laughs. His farm is especially busy today. The potatoes for the production of crisps not only have to be a certain size and quality. They must also be washed and the stones and green potatoes must be sorted out.
The young farmer employs a permanent staff of four as well as one trainee and three seasonal workers. Some of the workers are still outside on the field 5 km away planting industry potatoes. Besides these, sugar beets, oilseed rape, winter wheat and maize are also in the crop rotation of the farm. This all has to be managed properly. Time is the scarcest factor.
Two machine combinations of Fendt tractors and planters make their rounds precisely on the good soil. They leave perfectly straight dams behind them. A track for the pesticide sprayer is produced in spacings of exactly 36 metres. The data for this was entered in the Fendt terminal beforehand. “We use the VarioGuide automated steering system with RTK accuracy, for example, to plant potatoes accurately and straight. That greatly reduces the tractor operator’s workload. The tractor automatically drives in the right track, so that the operator can direct his full attention to the implement. “For this reason, we can optimise the use of our machine and even work at night during peak times,” says Heiner Müller explaining his use of the automated steering system, with which he no longer needs to turn at the edge of the field. Instead of having to turn at the headlands, the machine combination drives an arc and creates the next bed with the exact pre-calculated spacing. Of his four Fendt tractors, the 718, 720 and 824 are equipped with VarioGuide and two of them are also equipped with SectionControl. “Through the use of SectionControl, I save between six and seven percent on pesticides, fertilisers and seeds,” he comments. The automatic SectionControl saves working time. At the headland it takes over switching the sections on and off as soon as there is any unwanted overlapping. That minimises overlapping at the headlands when sowing sugar beets with the precision seeder or when planting potatoes. In the past, the extra plants had to be removed by hand.
When the ground is frozen in the winter, Heiner Müller drives over the field and records the field boundaries and waylines via GPS (GlobalPositioning System) and the RTK correction signal. Then, when the field work begins in the spring, hesimply transfers these to other terminals via USB stick. Pesticides and fertilisers can now be applied with the highest possible precision.The ISOBUS implement control integrated in the Variotronic operating interface on the Fendt terminal informs every ISOBUS-capable potato planter exactly where the rows are located. The ISOBUS interface is not only the decisive connection to the implement for the Fendt Variotronic. “We can also place up to ten functions from theimplement onto the multifunction joystick. To do this, we simply go to the ISOBUS settings in the terminal. This allows even easier operation of the machine,” says Michael Zumfeld, AGCO ATS Product Engineer, pointing at the Fendt terminal. He provides consultation and support for AGCO dealers and distributors, but also users, in all questions concerning the Fuse Technologies and FendtVariotronic strategies. Today he has made a pitstop at Heiner Müller’s.
Planting carrot seeds with VarioGuide RTK and VarioDoc Proat the Leyen-Nesselrode GbR near Grevenbroich.
“Not only our customers’ staff are brought up to date on the latest state of the technology. Our sales consultants for GPS technology also attend training twice a year. In the meantime, we do online or video training together with Fendt,” explains Frank von Ameln, Managing Director of the RWZ-Agrartechnik-Zentrum Rommerskirchen and Chairman of the RTK Association Rhineland. An accuracy of up to 2.5 cm is possible with the RTK correction signal. The correction data are sent via radio relay system or mobile network. “Everything works very well with Fendt and the proprietary Fendt terminal. The ISOBUScapable implements can be connected with the Fendt terminal via the ISOBUS socket,” says von Ameln. According to his information, the RWZ Technikgruppe Rommerskirchen sells about 130 Fendt tractors per year. Nine out of ten Fendt tractors sold in the 500, 700, 800 and 900 series are ready for GPS. Of these, more than 50 percent are equipped with a full version RTK VarioGuide. In this region, the RTK accuracy is primarily used for cultivating vegetables, potatoes, sugar beets and maize.
Work is easier with the VarioGuide automated steering system: Sascha Boeken can concentrate fully on the implement, the Fendt tractor still remains on track.
Martin Bellen keeps checking the measurements. The drill machine is set to maintain a distance of 4 cm between three seed rows on one dam
Martin Bellen weighs and measures in the field. Some 3.1 million carrot seeds must be sowed per hectare.
From the field directly to the PC: Farm manager Joachim Pfannstiel-Wolf receives the completed job from Sascha Boeken, operator of the Fendt tractor equipped with VarioDoc Pro.
Only 10 km away from Heiner Müller’s farm, Joachim Pfannstiel-Wolf in Grevenbroich has dedicated himself to vegetable growing. He is the managing director of two companies, the agricultural enterprise Leyen-Nesselrode GbR and the service provider Land Expert Dienstleistungen OHG. It is the end of May. Today the last areas are to be sowed with carrots. That is why the field looks like an open-air laboratory right now: Martin Bellen is handling measuring cups, scale, tables, tape measure, pencils and slips of paper. Because exactly 3.1 million seeds are required per hectare. The two seed drills need to be adjusted precisely. Each machine plants seeds on four dams that lie 75 cm apart. Operator Martin Bellen climbs down from his Fendt 720 Vario, measures, weighs the seeds, writes down the amount per row and adjusts the sowing disc on the seed drill. Until the position of the seeds is just right. Because seeds are expensive. Around 1,200 euros/hectare. The GbR has 70 hectares of carrots under contract for a super market chain. The carrots are only allowed to be 2.8 cm at the most. They are therefore planted into the ground relatively late.
The machine combinations each pull four dams with carrot seeds precisely with VarioGuide RTK.
The VarioGuide RTK guidance system and the professional documentation system VarioDoc Pro from Fendt bring welcome relief from concentrated measuring work. The three operators, Martin Bellen, Sascha Boeken and Manuel Maaßen are visibly having fun using them. It is not only his enthusiasm for agricultural machinery that allows them to handle the electronic assistants so easily. It is the regular training on the farm or at the RWZ Rommerskirchen that brings the young men up to the latest state of technology. Because all four of the company’s Fendt tractors, two 930, one 936 and one 720 Vario are equipped with this technology. “We use VarioGuide with headland management and VarioDoc Pro for all our cultures. We are very satisfied with it and can save both costs and working time,” explains Joachim Pfannstiel-Wolf. It really pays off, because in the region he cultivates a total of 1,200 hectares in eight locations with three employees and one trainee. Major cultures are winter wheat, oilseed rape, barley, sugar beets and vegetables. He uses VarioGuide and the RTK network in all locations with the help of the RTK base stations distributed throughout the Rhineland. That saves costs.
“With VarioGuide RTK, driving is more relaxed. The automated steering system is a real help when you have to keep the implement in view at all times. The nearest RTK station is eight kilometres away in Rommerskirchen. I receive a signal every second, if I am driving in the right track” explains Sascha Boeken, who uses a grubber before drilling the carrots on the dry field, to expose moister soil. When a job is completed, he sends the results from the Fendt terminal in the tractor directly to the computer in the boss’s office via VarioDoc Pro and a mobile radio map. Then he receives confirmation on the terminal. If the data for the machine changes, this information is sent from the office computer to the Fendt terminal. That makes documentation much easier. Gone are the days when handwritten scraps of paper ended up in the office after finishing the field work.
Variotronic: Joachim Pfannstiel-Wolf uses VarioGuide and VarioDoc to seed carrots
See in the video how the farm manager manages 1,200 ha on eight locations.
The RTK-Verbund Rheinland eG, headquartered in 41844 Wegberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, was founded in 2011. Founding member and the Chairman is Frank von Ameln. The network comprises five agricultural machinery dealers, two farmers and currently provides support for more than 100 customers, who receive the RTK correction signal through 15 base stations with eight repeaters. Transmission is via radio relay or mobile network with an RTK accuracy of 2.5 cm. (www.rtk-verbund-rheinland.de)