Ag Tech

Upgrade to 4G part of progress for Doolin Agriculture

Grain Central, March 13, 2024

Doolin Agriculture principal Simon Doolin and 2IC Henry Dight on farm at North Star. Photo: John Deere

FOR the past four years, Doolin Agriculture has been steadily increasing its adoption of John Deere Operations Center as an essential tool for the company’s 7000ha cropping operation in northern NSW, and upgrading to the new 4G modem is key to their connectivity.

Simon and Sandy Doolin’s green fleet includes three 8 Series and one 9 Series tractors, and two S Series headers – a S680 and a S780 – working on controlled traffic with 40-foot tramlines.

Doolin Agriculture 2IC Henry Dight said Operations Center had become an integral part of operations on the North Star property, where they grow wheat, barley, chickpeas, sorghum, cotton, and corn.

“We use it for data entry and record keeping, to keep track of planting dates, variety trials and fertiliser applications,” Mr Dight said.

“Knowing exactly where we’ve put everything is invaluable in a farming operation like this.”

“For example, when did we spread urea, and what dates and rates did we use? Ops Center is a valuable data-log resource and it’s very user-friendly and simple to record what you’re doing on the screen.”

Where Operations Center really shines is when Victorian contractors Bingham Agriculture turn up each summer to work alongside Doolin Agriculture during harvest.

“When the contractors are due, we send a harvest set-up file remotely to them which shows each paddock with AB tramlines and boundaries, so that we’re getting back precision yield data for each variety.”

“We might be harvesting three or four different varieties of wheat for different markets, or have four headers working in one paddock, and there are no mistakes because Ops Center means everyone has the same information and people can pinpoint where things are.”

Ahead of Telstra switching off the 3G network on June, Doolin Agriculture has been upgrading its machines with a 4G LTE JDLink modem to provide a faster connection for Ops Center data.

The upgrade to 4G means growers can process and transfer more data from their machines through increased processing memory and storage capacity, and connect wirelessly to a hotspot device for data transfer, or use Bluetooth to connect to portable devices.

“We’ve been rolling steadily through the upgrade from 3G to 4G over the past six months.

“It’s not a big change but if we don’t do it, we’ll fall behind.

“The Modular Telematics Gateway upgrade allows us to see where the machines are, their working speeds etc., and if there are any fault codes, they get sent to our phones.

“It means that we can access screens on our mobiles and walk contractors through an issue, or if we’re on a computer in the office, we can talk through exactly where to go and what to change instead of having to be in the paddock.

“There’s also the potential to enable that facility to be put into farm vehicles and trucks, which our neighbour is trialling at the moment.

“That would be very useful.”

Other benefits of the upgrade to 4G include near real-time machine monitoring to view current machine locations with five-second updates; improved remote display access with a faster connection, reducing lag between the in-cab display and the remote device; and the automatic syncing of agronomic and set-up data.

For Doolin Agriculture, it’s about adapting to change to stay ahead of the game and maximise the potential of Ops Center, especially for contractors like Bingham Agriculture.

“Contractors love it! Their headers turn up on farm, we can remotely access their machines, send them the data, they accept it and away you go,” Mr Dight said.

Source: John Deere

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