2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1, Page #31[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Sensor-Controlled Compaction Ripping
“The technology behind the Top Soil Mapper has been proven in Europe,” says Rick Pryor, Geoprospectors. “Compaction zones can appear at different depths in the field. It can start at 8 in. or 16. We find the top of the layer. If it is at 6 in. and the layer is 6 in. thick, you only have to rip 13 in. deep.”
Initially introduced to the North American market as the Field Scan, it was limited to data gathering. This past year, the Austrian parent company Geoprospectors added the real-time tillage control.
The contact-free sensing technology uses 4 magnetic induction coils to penetrate the soil to different depths. Each coil produces its own data stream. An algorithm uses the data streams to create a 3D profile of the soil, revealing horizontal and vertical variability. Internal sensors gather temperature and pitch/roll/height above ground to ensure accurate data gathering.
When operated about a foot above the ground surface, the Topsoil Mapper measures the soil to a depth of about 44 in. In addition to compaction and fertility zones, the sensor also detects percent of water content in the soil.
Data gathered by the sensor travels to the automatic tillage control (ATC) kit. The kit can be installed on any cultivator or subsoiler with continuous hydraulic depth control. It can be used in either automatic or manual (operator controlled) mode.
“ATC was developed and patented by Geoprospector,” says Pryor. “A PWM (pulse width modulation) valve releases a precise amount of hydraulic fluid to adjust the tillage unit depth.”
Pryor notes that the changes in tillage depth in automatic mode can be so subtle as to not be noticed by the operator.
He adds that real time ripping only works with narrow implements and is a full-field effort. However, mapping swathes in the field ahead of tillage or other activities appears to gather sufficient data.
“Our customers and I have tried different width swaths, running the sensor every 25, 30 and 40 ft., and we could find no difference,” says Pryor. “A 40-ft. swath appears to be perfect. The variability of the plow pan is not that extreme that you need full-field data.”
The Topsoil Mapper comes with a 3-pt. mount, but can also be installed on a variety of equipment such as side-by-sides, tractors and implements.
Site-specific data can be exported to a laptop computer for collection, immediate analysis and mapping output and control with the Topsoil Visualizer and Topsoil Data Analyzer software. Raw data can be displayed as maps within seconds for on-site action.
Data can also automatically load to the cloud for later use or sharing as the data owner desires.
While the Topsoil Mapper with ATC will appeal to some farmers, it will often be available as a mapping service from retailers and crop consultants. Prepared maps can then be used at the farm with an ATC-equipped tractor and implement.
“The Topsoil Mapper is priced at about $25,000 with a software subscription price of about $2,000 a year,” says Pryor. “A crop consultant customer tells us his system paid for itself in one year.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Geoprospectors Inc., 1776 S Jackson Street, Suite 602, Denver, Colo. 80210 (ph 855 627-7371; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.geoprospectors.com).
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