Technology Journal

March 14, 2009 01:29 PM

At their annual meeting in January, Trimble executives addressed 450 dealers and resellers of their agricultural products from 20 countries. The company reflected upon the past year of success within its ag division and recognized the potential challenges in the year ahead.

The Trimble lineup of precision ag equipment and guidance technology is growing, and company officials are looking to provide solutions for all seasons and the entire farming cycle. In the past, the company has allocated at least 10% of its annual earnings to research and development, which recently totaled $100 million yearly. With slips in the construction industry, Trimble is relying on the ag industry for good news.

Trimble made two major acquisitions in its ag business division in the final quarter of 2008 when it purchased Tru Count Inc., and Rawson Control Systems Inc. As a
result, integration of the components will be easier.

Tech tools. At the event, Trimble unveiled products ranging from an integrated display to updated receivers.

The integrated FmX display can function as a stand-alone manual guidance system or users can unlock its additional functions step-by-step to use its built-in capabilities. It features built-in GPS and GLONASS receivers. The FmX display supports Autopilot, EZ-Steer, FieldLevel II capability, TrueTracker active implement steering, EZ-Boom and Tru Application Control systems. For RTK applications, a radio is integrated and ready to activate when needed. The color touchscreen is 12.1" and can display video from up to four camera inputs. Price: $5,995.

The EZ-Guide 500 can be updated with single-product variable-rate application (VRA) for a one-time fee. With the VRA upgrade, prescription maps can be loaded into the lightbar guidance system using the standard SHP file format. Free firmware upgradesinclude the FieldFinder function for easier recall of field maps and a night view option. Prices: $2,995 for EZ-Guide 500; $750 for VRA option.

Updating its receiver lineup, Trimble introduces the 162 and 262 GPS receivers, which offer two levels of accuracy. The AgGPS 162 is a GPS L1 smart antenna (receiver and antenna in one) that receives SBAS corrections. The AgGPS 262 features a dual-frequency L1/L2/L-band receiver. The 262 receiver can be outfitted with RTK, OmniStar HP, OmniStar VBS or SBAS corrections.

This spring, Trimble adds new functionalities for its EZ-Office software program. Connected Farm will offer wireless data transfer. There will be updates to EZ-Office 2 and EZ-Office Pro. The Trimble Nomad personal digital assistant will be downloaded withEZ-Office Mobile Software.

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