Farm To Tablet: The Case For GPS Tracking In Agriculture

Agriculture is on the verge of a major transformation – and this new era has telematics and GPS tracking technology front and centre. As we continue to bring you real-life examples of how our clients use Fleet Complete products in creative or unexpected ways, let’s look at how our GPS tracking solutions help optimise farming operations today.A vineyard during harvest with a crate full of grapes in the foreground.

With a growing population and a consumer culture steeped in instant gratification, agriculture has seen a big need for optimisation through newer technologies to keep pace with an ever-rising, year-round demand. Particularly when having to compete with larger forces at play: the unpredictability of nature, scarcity of land and resources, and economic volatility.

While mechanisation of labour-intensive tasks was a huge leap for the agricultural sector, farmers today require more advanced tracking technologies and software to help deal with environmental factors, time sensitivity, sustainability, and other variables that can make or break a produce-based business.

In this blog, we’ll provide real-life client examples of how telematics solutions help wineries, farms, and even cattle herding.

Figures showing that total production of primary crops has increased by almost 50% between 2000 and 2018.Agricultural output has come a long way in the last couple of decades. But today’s greater challenges call for even greater transformation. (Source)

On The Way To A New Agricultural Revolution

The big game-changer in agricultural production today is telematics. The ability to gather, analyse, and visualise critical field data opens up new frontiers for modern farmers, who find themselves grappling with moving goalposts:

  • Climate change and extreme weather variations jeopardising crops and livestock
  • Population growth pushing demand higher, while natural resources are shrinking
  • Consumer trends shifting to higher quality and more sustainable farming products
  • Trade agreements and environmental policies threatening farmers’ financial viability

Leveraging real-time data from connected devices, like sensors and GPS trackers, puts farmers in a unique position to make those crucial or time-sensitive decisions based on accurate and timely insights sent directly from the farm to their smart device or a PC.

What this all translates to is the power to time their farming activities with precision, use resources effectively, respond to emergencies faster, automate labour-intensive tasks, slash unnecessary costs, and adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

In other words, improve yields in a way that is sustainable, competitive, and ensures a viable income. Let’s look at some concrete examples.

3 Ways GPS Trackers Are Transforming Farms

1. It’s All Vine And Dandy 

Winemaking is a delicate craft that requires optimal external conditions for the vines (plant varieties that produce wine grapes). Having an accurate, real-time view of what is happening with the vines is so important, that this winemaker became the driving force behind the development of Fleet Complete’s AT1 Solar Asset Tracker!

Faced with unexpected frost and drought spells which heightened the risk of severe crop damage, a client of ours needed precise reporting on their vineyard’s microclimate. Relying on regional weather forecasts just wasn’t good enough.

The AT1 Solar – equipped with various environmental sensors and placed throughout the vineyard – was designed to keep track of temperature, humidity, and sunlight levels, as well as trigger alert notifications for sudden changes, as they happen. Its solar battery continuously recharges under direct sunlight, ensuring reliable data 24/7, year-round.

From irrigation plans to fertilisation timing to assessing disease risks, this real-time visibility allowed our client to minimise loss and maximise yield by planning the right action at the right time.

2. No Beans Spilled Here

This farmer was no stranger to our solutions for protecting temperature-sensitive produce. Fleet Complete was brought in to help them more efficiently manage a small fleet of trucks used to distribute their fruit and vegetables – including outfitting them with sensors to ensure the appropriate temperature is maintained for each type of produce during transport.

What happened next is a great example of how engaging with our experts to discuss your needs and pain points can help uncover more creative ways to refine and optimize your processes.

It turns out that green beans go through several washing cycles, each cycle having a very precise water temperature. If the temperature deviates from the “sweet spot”, it is crucial to be able to intervene before it’s too late.

“Can these sensors also monitor the water and alert us if the temperature goes off?” the client asked.

Well, yes, they can. Our temperature probes are both waterproof and food-safe and can be programmed to trigger alerts for each washing cycle separately. On top of that, the device has a built-in backup battery, and the client is notified even if the power goes off – continuing to receive several hours of temperature readings.

3. Why Wait Till Cows Come Home?

GPS trackers are a great way to locate cows and bison gone astray – or stolen. It’s also a great way to study their habits. Tracking grazing patterns, migration routes, or unusual behaviour can be tremendously useful – and can even lead to some fascinating findings.

That’s why Fleet Complete worked with a local government to track and manage public herds.

A herd of cows in a field.

The weatherproof AT1 Asset Tracker, fitted on the animals’ collars, ensures round-the-clock visibility in the open field and connects to a dedicated app, where you can pull up their exact location, spot individual animals on the map, create digital fences (or Geofences) that trigger an alert notification if they stray out of the designated areas, and generate insightful reports with a couple of clicks.

What’s more, the tracking solution helps promote better herd health via pre-set diagnostic alerts – like when an animal doesn’t move for too long – as well as reminders for medical checks and vaccinations on Fleet Complete’s portal. This allows them to respond quickly to signs of injury or sickness, without having to rely on manual inspection alone.

And There Is More…

What these real-world use cases demonstrate is that adopting GPS tracking technology for your agricultural business offers a lot more than you might think.

In fact, GPS trackers may have nothing to do with tracking vehicles or guiding you in traffic, and everything to do with putting critical sensor data at your fingertips to help you secure your produce, without compromising quality or running into financial risk.

Imagine what this could mean for wine cellars, greenhouses, fish farms, bee yards – you name it! All it takes is a bit of out-of-the-box thinking – and talking to an expert about your goals and needs can make all the difference.

Besides, you probably also have expensive farming equipment that you want to protect, plus a fleet of tractors or vehicles – however big or small – that you want to manage as efficiently as you can. With Fleet Complete’s expertise and your unique insights, we can work together to create a holistic, end-to-end solution that helps your farming business grow while saving you thousands of dollars.

Fleet Complete’s Solutions Come With:

  • A variety of asset tracking devices and configuration capabilities to suit your unique needs
  • An easy-to-use app to manage all aspects of your data from your tablet or smartphone
  • True expertise with over 20 years of know-how from a variety of industries to back you up

The best part? You don’t need to run into huge debt or go through painful implementation processes to benefit. Our solutions are as cost-efficient as they are easy to deploy – whether yours is a family-run business or a large-scale farm.

Have you thought of more ways telematics and GPS tracking can optimize your farming operations? Or would you like to learn more about how this technology can help transform your farm? Then get in touch with us today to tell our experts about your goals and receive a free demo.

Date published.   Sep 16, 2021  |  Author: Katerina Konstantopoulou