Simple access to ISOBUS will provide new data and machine control opportunities for more ‘green’ and cost-effective orchard and vineyard operations.
The data collection and equipment operation benefits that ISOBUS electronics bring to tillage and grassland farming could soon be helping fruit growers and vineyard owners too.
A collaborative project in Italy – the network RETE IDEAgri – has brought together agronomists, tractor and equipment manufacturers, and agricultural machine component suppliers to develop simpler data gathering and display solutions.
The participants aim to create an ISOBUS solution suitable for the cultivators, sprayers and other small-scale implements used in vineyards and orchards that will bring ecological as well as work quality and economic benefits.
Antonio Salvaterra, marketing director at Argo Tractors says: “The digitisation of work parameters makes it possible to control and reduce costs, while also minimising any environmental impact of mechanical operations and offering opportunities for scheduled maintenance policies.”
Argo Tractors, whose comprehensive range of 70-112hp Landini Rex 4 machines is among the most popular specialist power units for top fruit, orchard and vineyard operations worldwide, is a leading participant in the ‘ISOBUS Green’ project.
“We already equip our Rex 4 specialist tractors for an ISOBUS installation, which includes a touch-screen display with the possibility to add auto steering and a single multi-function joystick for tractor and implement functions,” notes Mr Salvaterra.
“These make good use of the limited space in a specialist tractor’s cab but most of the small implements our tractors operate do not have ISOBUS functionality – yet with such technology we see considerable potential for improvements in cultivation, spraying and fertiliser application, for documentation and traceability, and for machinery scheduled maintenance.”
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Power harrow manufacturer Frandent is also convinced by this argument, to the extent that it plans to install new COBO Easyfit sensor-transmitters on its implements that wirelessly communicates with a receiver connected to the tractor’s ISOBUS network.
“The individual implement will be identified every time it is connected to the ISOBUS system on a Rex 4 tractor, and then the hours it works and field area it covers will be recorded,” explains Antonio Salvaterra.
“Based on advice from the manufacturer, the owner can then properly schedule routine servicing and also anticipate when pre-emptive maintenance of key components such as bearings will minimise downtime in a busy season.”
Another function of COBO Easyfit helps operators of Rex 4 tractors achieve optimum performance and fuel economy with different implements.
Using the power harrow as an example again, once the optimum set-up for tasks such as weed control cultivation between rows of vines has been determined and entered on the touch screen, operators will see a graphic display of parameters such as pto speed, engine speed and fuel consumption.
Together with the working speed, the operator also sees a big green ‘tick’ when the optimal settings are being used. “At present, growers must rely solely on the skill and experience of the operator – but in all areas of agriculture skilled workers are increasingly in short supply,” says Antonio Salvaterra of Argo Tractors.
“With ISOBUS technology for smaller implements and bespoke information displays, we can help less experienced operators achieve the best results for an effective outcome at lowest cost and environmental impact.”