The application of GNSS sensors and machine control to agriculture, with a prescriptive approach that matches maps of the field nutrients and soil condition, has had a dramatic impact on increased yields and cost savings for farmers. As more extremes in weather occur, this variable technology is helping ensure productivity with fewer inputs. Sensors & Systems (S&S) special correspondent Matteo Luccio spoke with Mike Martinez, Market Manager, Trimble Agriculture, about the company’s technology as well as the evolutionary path and benefits of precision agriculture practices and Trimble’s Connected Farm approach.
S&S: What is Trimble’s history in precision agriculture?
Martinez: We’ve been working in the agriculture market for the last 17 years. Trimble started in the GNSS world within agriculture doing vehicle guidance, with a device that would visually indicate to the user how to drive their vehicle most effectively in the field. That quickly transitioned into doing some specific machine control, where an auto-pilot system would actually take over control of the vehicle and drive the vehicle for the operator.
That’s probably been the main staple in precision agriculture, starting out, and even today it is a core technology still that’s quite important and serves as the foundation to most of our other applications. The main user benefit for the auto-guidance is that farm operators are able to reduce overlaps in their applications so that they are not over-using inputs — seeds, chemicals, and tractor fuel and things like that.