“It is the most advanced, yet most simple and accurate machine control system I have ever used,” he says. “I’m no computer expert, but I picked up the basics within 30 minutes.”
Working for Scantlebury Farm Services at Bishop Stortford, Essex, Mr Willoughby says the introduction of GEOCONTROL has raised the accuracy of an already impressive weigh cell spreader, to another level.
“The TL Exacta is a very precise machine, but with GEOCONTROL to automatically start and stop the spreader at headlands, there’s barely 5kg of fertiliser left in the spreader after every field,” he says. “It’s quite a remarkable bit of kit.”
He says that judging headland overlaps is easy to achieve at 12m, but it becomes much trickier to judge accurately at 24m.
“Everyone works on the side of caution, so you’re always going to overlap by a generous amount when doing this task by eye,” he says. “And if you want to go wider still, the margin for error just gets worse.”
He says that the auto start/stop capability of GEOCONTROL has made it easy to widen tramlines even further.
“This system has made it very easy to go to a 32m tramline system while actually improving accuracy and efficiency,” he says. “And if you do run out of fertilizer mid-way down a tramline, the system knows it – and it will automatically restart at exactly the right place, when you return.”
“I make three applications with nitrogen and have chosen to set my headland overlaps at 60%, 50% and 40% respectively,” he says. “It has stopped double-dosing and lodging from excess nitrogen is now a thing of the past.”
Mr Willoughby uses variable rate application maps prepared by Soyl. Maps are loaded into the IM Tellus dual screen terminal and all that’s needed is to fill the spreader with fertiliser and drive to the field.
“The system identifies your location from GPS and puts the nearest field at the top of the list so you don’t need to search through field names,” he says. “And if you drive away from the field map while spreading, the system shuts off the spreader.”
A Leica RTK system means auto-steering is used with pre-emergence application of straights to maintain total accuracy in every field.
“It’s all plug and play using isobus on my Fendt tractor,” he says. “It is so simple, so accurate and so easy to use, that I no longer have to concentrate on spreading.”
“It is a superior system to anything else I’ve ever used and I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to the old methods,” he says.
“I reckon GEOCONTROL has saved us around 10 tonnes of fertiliser each year, simply through cutting down on overlaps,” he says. “Who wouldn’t want that level of cost saving?”