Data Hitchhikes on Hay Bales

October 16, 2009 10:29 AM

From the moment it becomes a bale, big square bales can be equipped with a high-tech tag to take bale data along for the ride from the field, to storage to delivery. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the New Holland CropID system gathers detailed information about the individual bale and stores it in a microchip automatically attached to the twine. Farmers sort tagged bales based on a wide range of characteristics, including: bale number, field number or name, date and time it was baled, high and average moisture content, amount of preservative applied and bale weight. The bale data helps sort and manage stored bales by the range of criteria, and it also tracks the amount of hay on hand from each field and cutting.

The CropID system works by encasing a microchip and its antenna in a tag wrapped around the twine as the bale is tied. The CropID bale tagger is mounted on the big square baler. A precision information processor stores the bale's information, and the RFID bale tags are read by a hand-held scanner that can display bale data from within a 5' range of the tag. An advanced scanner can be docked on a loader with the screen visible to the operator, and this system features a 10' range to read the tag even if the tag can't be directly seen. The scanners create lists of bales made in each field, and a removable USB memory device can be used to download the lists to a computer for on-farm management. 

For more: New Holland

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