RTK for Everybody

Colorblind RTK Options from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Keith Byerly

by Keith Byerly

As we are in the midst of putting our crop in this year, there are a few things that some of us take for granted. One of those is straight rows, which most any system can deliver. But the other is consistent guess rows. Nothing is more frustrating than coming back from a parts run or getting back in the field after a rain and having a tiny or giant guess row. Through the years we have to look to corrections like OmniStar, SF2, and even RTK base stations to fix this problem, and they have been successful to varying degrees. Today, however, we have a solution that is much more friendly and affordable.

RTK can come to your tractor or combine in one of two ways. The first is via Radio. Perhaps you have put up a base yourself, or you pay to be on an implement dealer’s network. It works pretty well, but some fields are out of range and then what. Some of you have a mobile base on a truck. The range problem is solved, but you give up accuracy unless you let it survey in for several hours before you start or you have a fixed location in each. So several years ago, the idea of Corrections over Cellular came to market. We could deliver RTK via a modem to your cab. This meant better range and fewer limitations. It also meant you could go far enough away that your level of correction was less than RTK quality.

Correction Over Cell came with some drawbacks though. Instead of just an RTK subscription, you had to pay a network subscription and a cellular subscription. But times have changed, and we have more options now than ever. CVA Coop offers two different RTK network options. In Nebraska, we offer MyWay RTK and DigiFarm; while in Iowa and South Dakota we have DigiFarm, as well as in parts of Kansas.

So why two systems. MyWay has advantages for our growers that have a GPS system in their cab that already has a Modem, like Ag Leader. And with the new generation of modems, you can connect them to your business or Family plan, and it uses about 1 GB per month when you are actively farming. We have the option to connect it to other modems as well for AGCO and Case applications.

RTK-WEB

But when it comes to the OEM systems, DigiFarm gives us some great options. They offer a system called the Beacon v3.0 that allows us to connect RTK data to any receiver, including John Deere. And it allows us to connect via an Apple or Android device for internet. That means no separate data fees for the year. Add to that it’s about half the cost of Corrections like Trimble’s CenterPoint RTX; it is a great, colorblind option for all your fleet with or no hardware to move.

Correction over Cell is ideal for planting, spraying, harvesting, etc. We have had good luck with Strip Till as well. But like most things in life, it’s not for everything. It is not the product for Tiling and Land Leveling where vertical accuracy is imperative. Now for my take-home of the day. You are not tied into one option when it comes to getting RTK. You have choices, and frankly, choices that cost less than you might be paying for lesser accuracy. CVA has you covered with many different options for GPS corrections and accuracy besides these. Talk to one of our Service Techs after the rush of planting is over, and we will come up with a solution that is right for you.