Affordable autosteer adds direction to older gear

AgJunction's Wheelman systems work with new and used vehicles, and are positioned as a low-cost answer for farmers who need to add more steering systems. | Screencap via

Expanding farmers need to add seeding tractors, high clearance sprayers, swathers and combines. And, as a matter of efficiency, all these new machines need some sort of reliable autosteer system.

For the seeding tractor, accuracy down to 1.6 inches pass-to pass might be required. But for the sprayer, swather and combine, accuracy down in the range of four to six inches might fit the bill.

The more precise you are on each pass, the closer you come to eliminating overlap and reducing input, labour, fuel and hours on the equipment. Of course the higher accuracy you buy, the more you expect to pay.

The AgJunction company in Scottsdale, Arizona, builds a different autosteer for each level of accuracy.

At the basic end of the lineup, the Wheelman Pro replaces your OEM steering wheel with a kit that keeps your vehicle on path within four to six inches. Wheelman Pro was designed to work with new and used vehicles. It sells for US$3,995.

At the high end of the Wheelman Pro lineup, the High Precision is a new system for customers with operations requiring high accuracy, such as strip-till, planting, fertilizer side-dressing, post-emerge spraying and harvesting. Wheelman Pro HP marries the basic Wheelman system with their new HPX-200 Antenna and the new HPX-10 correction services. With a price of $5,495, the HP provides 1.6 inch accuracy pass-to pass.

Prices for AgJunction systems are considerably lower than other systems on the market, says AgJunction specialist Barry Fabian. In a phone interview from his farm at Fergus Falls Minnesota, Fabian says Wheelman auto steer systems, “…cost a couple thousand dollars less than the big name systems and the OEM systems.

“We eliminate the middleman. We don’t have dealers extracting a profit between our warehouse and your farm. You order on-line and we ship direct to you. Even the small farmer can afford these systems.

“These are not stripped down steering systems. We’re using Atlas correction signal. It’s not triple connection. But with 1.6 inch accuracy, it’s comparable to anything Trimble offers or AgLeader, John Deere or any other.”

Fabian explains that Atlas is a GNSS-based global L-band correction service, providing service at competitive prices.

Wheelman precision levels are stated in inches of cross-track error as reported and logged by the Wheelman steering system while following an A=B guidance line at speeds up to 10 mph under ideal conditions with a well-maintained, standard tractor. This precision level is a depiction of the ability of the system to steer to a guidance line and does not reflect either the absolute accuracy of the position or pass-to-pass accuracy that will vary due to time delay between passes.

Wheelman systems work with new and used vehicles, and are positioned as a low-cost answer for farmers who need to add more steering systems. The kits are ordered on-line and can be installed and set-up to autosteer in just a couple of hours.

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