12 September 2019

Cerea. What accuracy do you need for your work?

The evolution of Cerea self-guiding system has been constant since the brand was born. There are different options of GPS antennas that offer a large variety of alternatives to the farmer , where the farmer can choose the self-guided equipment that best suits their needs, With this objective, last 31st August Twins’ Farm organized a small demonstration in our village (La Alberca de Záncara - Cuenca) to show the different options that the self-guided Cerea implements at the moment in terms of accuracy. It should be noted that with greater working accuracy, the positioning error is smaller, ranging from 15cm to 2.5cm depending on the equipment used.

In order to make the right choice of the GPS antenna that the farmer needs in his self-guided system, it is very important to know the options offered by the self-guided system to be chose according the use you want. Depending on the tasks to be performed, the accuracy required may vary considerably and therefore the equipment required will be different. With this premise, Cerea offers different GPS receiver options so that the farmer can choose the most ideal option.

In the demonstration that we made, you can see a few pictures below, we focused on presenting the three options that Cerea currently offers:
  • Novatel Ag-Star antenna.   
    • Single frequency GPS receiver.
    • Accuracy of 10-20 cm maximum error between passes (performed in less than 20 minutes).
    • It works in autonomous (only satellite coverage): DGPS.
    • It is an ideal option for all cereal jobs.
  • Navilock GNSS active IP67 antenna and RTK Ardu Simple RTK2B ZED-F9P Module.
    • Dual-frequency GPS receiver.
    • Electronic board that performs calculations to work with RTK corrections.   
    • When telephony coverage is lost, it maintains accuracy for 1 minute. 
    • Maximum distance to the base station of 30-40 km.
    • Accuracy: 1cm error 65% of the time connected to a network of stations + 1 cm every 10 km distance to the base station.
    • It can't work in autonomous (requires satellite and telephone coverage): RTK.
  • Hemisphere A222 antenna.
    • Dual Frequency GPS Receiver.
    • When telephony coverage is lost, it maintains accuracy for 10 minutes. 
    • Maximum distance to the base station of 50-60 km.
    • It works in autonomous (DGPS) and with telephone coverage (RTK).   
    • Accuracy in autonomous (DGPS) is 10-15 cm between passes performed in less than 10 minutes.
    • Accuracy in RTK is 0.8 cm + 0.5 cm for every 10 km distance to the base station.
The demonstrations in the field were conducted with two tractors both of them working with JJ Broch garlic sowing machines. The Hemisphere A222 antenna was installed on the Landini tractor and the RTK Ardu Simple RTK2B ZED-F9P module on the New Holland. The two tractors used a sowing of garlic as the demonstration was focused on the task of sowing garlic, which is the most important crop in our area that also requires certain accuracy. Garlic is a crop that is sown in rows at a distance of 45cm between rows. In addition, it is a crop that a few months after planting has to be harrowed, so that the closures between passes shall be appropriate distanced (if we have a narrower closure than normal we will have problems for the cultivator implement to work). Closures among passes are also important when harvesting with two-row or four-row machines (they work with rows of different passes at the same time). Apart from that, another similar crop could be maize or sunflower, although in these crops the distance between rows is greater and therefore the accuracy required is lower.

The farmers could see the tractors working with different configurations and the result was very rewarding because everyone was very happy seeing the good work done by the Cerea self-guiding system.

Versión en español.

29 August 2019

Super-intensive almond crops. Harvesting days

We are immersed in the middle of the almond harvest season and our friends from CBH have provided us with some photos and information that we show you... it has been very interesting for us and we share it with you. CBH is a very specialized company in super-intensive almond, olive and pistachio crops, so their comments are really worthwhile.

Almonds have become fashionable in Spain only some years ago because the demand has increased and they have a very attractive price which makes it a very profitable crop. This fact led to 660,000 hectares of land being reached in Spain… but this has not stopped as it continues to grow year after year. In 2017, a Spanish production of around 65,000 tonnes was obtained and there is a forecast to double this production in the coming years. Spain ranks third in the world in terms of production with 4%, after the USA (80%) and Australia (7%). All this is thanks to the super-intensive almond crops which stand out for their high profitability, early entry into production, reduced costs, total mechanization, high production and rapid recovery of investment.

On this occasion we show you a few pictures of two farms “La Encomienda” and “Atalaya Baja” where you can see the harvesting tasks that were carried out this August with the New Holland machines (Braud 9090X Olive) that the company CBH uses. The plantation of La Encomienda is from October 2016 so this year is the first harvesting, with a yield of almond about 1,900 kg/ha, whose variety is “Guara”. Altalaya Baja farm was planted in July 2016 and this year is the second time it has been harvested, with a yield of almond about 1,200 kg/ha, whose variety is “Lauranne Rootpac 20”. The harvesting speed of the New Holland machine is approximately 1.5 he/h, so the harvesting work is going very well.

Some of the keys to the success of these super-intensive crops are planting frames together with yearly irrigations. In terms of planting frames, La Encomienda farm has opted for 3 x 1.35m (approximately 2,400 almond trees per hectare) and in the Atalaya Baja farm the planting frame used has been 4 x 1.35m (approximately 1,800 almond trees per hectare). The height of the trees is around 2.5 m, so it is necessary to do a little mechanize pruning every year... but we will talk about this pruning in future articles. As for irrigation, the system used is drip irrigation with an amount of about 200 L/m2 per year that added to the annual rains are the key to having a profitable production.

In Spain, the most common almond varieties are Marcona, Comuna and Largueta. Of which, Marcona is the best paid and it can reach 1€/kg higher than the other varieties. The price in recent years has been one of the most attractive features of almonds, since with an average price of about 5€/kg has made the super intensive almond trees a really profitable crop.

Versión en español.