What’s the difference between Case IH’s Advanced Farming System Connect 2.0 and AFS Connect 1.0? “That’s like a Pinto and a Cadillac,” said Mike Klein, advanced farming systems North America marketing manager.
Most farmers don’t choose their combines based on the monitors in the cab, but for those who might, here are some of the updates that come with Case IH’s new AFS Connect system.
The biggest improvement to the system is the length of time needed to update information provided to a laptop, tablet or smart phone. It used to take 15 minutes. Now it takes one minute.
“We have 30 minutes of live time per machine per day,” Klein said. This means your dealer could spend up to thirty minutes per day monitoring the complete performance of your combine without visiting your farm.
Or, an experienced operator could monitor the screens of a new hire. While you won’t have the option of changing settings from your home office (“in 12 months, maybe we’ll be able to do that,” Klein said), you can see exactly what’s going on the in the cab.
Why the limit? The cost of communicating between the machines and your office is included in the package price.
You can set the AFS 2.0 to send service and maintenance alerts by text to your smart phone or laptop.
Another addition allows two-way communication through customized messages. A farm manger can send messages to any or all workers running a machine equipped with an AFS system. The operators can reply with one of two pre-set answers. For example: “Do you need fuel? Answer yes or no.”
Klein admits “this isn’t going to replace a cell phone,” but it does add one more communication option.
Every minute you’re operating the machine, the software will plot a dot on a map. Later, to analyze your work, you can click on one of these dots, and see what speed the machine was going when it passed that spot. “We can make customized reports,” Klein says.
Farmers who manage a large fleet and like technology might have fun with this. AFS 2.0 lets managers create a shape on the map, “geo-fencing” a particular location.
Why would you want to do this? One example Klein gave was to keep an eye on your equipment. For example, if a tractor leaves the yard while you’re away from home for a weekend, AFS Connect 2.0 can send you a text to let you know.
You can also use it to keep an eye on people. Klein suggested creating a “geo-fence” around the elevator in town. If your trucker is spending too much time in the coffee shop after he’s unloaded your canola, you could have the system text you.
You can also use it to keep an eye on your crops, for example, keeping a sprayer out of a non-GMO crop you’ve “geo-fenced.”
Pricing and data
You can install the AFS Connect 2.0 anywhere. Trucks. Tractors. Your service truck. “Your 16-year old daughter’s car,” Klein jokes.
First, you’ll need to buy the black boxes for each machine ($US850 per box). Then you’ll have to pay connection costs for each of them — $US$650/box per year. You’ll also need access to the Internet through your computer, smart phone or table to get to the information remotely.
“Data’s the hot topic right now. And it will continue to be, and for good reason,” Klein said.
“Many producers are just starting to realize that their data is currency. And when they realize that, they start to understand that some data service provides and farm equipment manufacturers have been helping themselves to that data for quite some time.”
AFS 2.0 Connect comes with a Technical Use Agreement that states that the farmer is the owner of the agronomic data. Farmers can choose who will see the data — for example, dealers could have access to information about the machines, but not the crop yields.
“Your information belongs to you and not the machine,” Klein said.
Leeann Minogue is the editor of Grainews