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Any one running Field Level on a FMX?
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Posted 8/3/2017 21:04 (#6166329 - in reply to #6166227)
Subject: RE: Any one running Field Level on a FMX?


I think the FMX will do single-plane designs in the cab.  Computationally, that is fairly simple.  A fairly basic GIS function.  The whole field is one single slope, so you shave the hills and fill the valleys.

I don't know that the FMX in-cab does multi-plane designs, or infinitely-sloped designs (like the tile plows do now, just in a line - use infinite grades to keep the tile nearest the desired depth), which were developed to move less dirt.  I personally think in-cab multi-plane or infinite-grade designs would be the cat's meow, but apparently it takes advanced software, knowledge and experience, and a fairly robust computer to do that, and it's not on the market. 

AMW apparently has in in-cab product single-plan product, the Ditch Assist guys are maybe getting into that, I don't know if Topcon has a product or not.  Edit to add: I don't know what the user experience is like on those different platforms, but I assume all single-plane designs have a similar outcome, since it is the same GIS math.  Maybe a poor assumption on my part.

IIRC you collect used FMX's and have Trimble hardware.  I took a leaf out of your book and started doing that, too.  I got started pre-FMX in the early 2000's and never made the jump up until recently.  That RTK EZ-500 and EZ-steer had really, really good ROI.

You can also survey the field with the FMX, send the files off to get a design by an engineer/topography expert, and load the design into the FMX after-the-fact to minimize dirt movement and optimize longer-term irrigation outcomes.  I believe you still need the FL2 unlock to survey and control even if you don't use the in-cab design tool.  I'm told the savings on moving less dirt will likely well more than pay for a more advanced design - less dirt moved, less time, less fuel, less fertility moved.  I don't have any personal experience yet.  I'm told it's something on the order of the engineering design by this method is somewhere between 1-10% of the cost of moving the dirt, depending on the site.  So if you cut dirt movement down by even 10%, it probably pays, and some designs cut dirt movement by up to 90%.

I sent Graeme at OptiSurface my survey file from my test field here in IL and he sent me back maps of the design using his software.  Free revisions based on my feedback until I get a cut-and-fill map I like, and he tells me I only pay when I am happy, then he sends the computer file, which I can import into the FMX to control scraper height automatically.  I don't surface irrigate, but he even has some map that shows how fast the water runs down the field to show how uniformly water soaks in instead of running off steeper slopes.  Really cool stuff.  I ran across it early this year and am planning on doing some work this fall or next spring on my test field.  My buddy and precision ag dealer has used it before in Central IL with good results.

Apparently the state of the art guys run a 500hp tractor on a 20-24' Shoule scraper with walking tandems at about 10-12mph and can really get something done - none of this hydraulic eject dirt pan stuff lumbering around at 4mph.  Unless you have really deep cuts.  I assume the FMX can be set up to control either lift-cylinder on a wide pan so it will tilt the pan sideways to match the design.  I don't know.


I'm an engineer, I think this is fascinating, I'm going this direction on my own farm, but I'm not there yet to give you first-hand results.  I can tell you the optisurface maps they send you back are very interesting to see.  I'm just maybe a few months ahead of you in researching this.

Edited by sand85 8/3/2017 21:17
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