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Reach RS for precision agriculture

John Deere tractor with Emlid Reach RS on top

The benefits of precision agriculture are well known, but until now have involved systems that can cost tens of thousands of dollars and require ongoing monthly subscriptions for RTK correction service. The small or part-time producer has been unable to benefit from GPS guidance in the accurate application of sprays, fertilizer or planting. With the launch of affordable and field-ready Reach RS the statement above is no longer valid.

Machinery guide

Recently one of our customers Joseph kindly shared his experience of Reach RS application on the farm. He paired Reach RS with one of the many Android smartphone/tablet GPS guidance applications that can deliver GPS precision to farming. Since it is possible to replace internal GPS on your Android device with Reach / Reach RS, this way any positioning app will be able to use precise RTK coordinates input from the receiver via Bluetooth to the smart device.

If you want to learn more about how to setup Bluetooth output and enable mock location on Android device check out the tutorial in our docs.

Joseph had two ways of getting accurate positioning with Reach RS. The first one requires a single unit. Reach RS is mounted on the tractor (on the photo below Reach RS is installed on John Deere 5075e) and receives RTK corrections from the agricultural RTK subscription service.

Emlid Reach fixed on a tractor

That provides pass to pass accuracy within 30-60 centimeters. Such an accuracy works fine for some spraying applications or fertilizer spreading. In Joseph’s area, an agricultural RTK correction subscription that provides submeter accuracy costs $750/year. And if you want to get centimeter-accurate positioning you have to pay twice as much for subscription, around $1650.

So the second scenario is getting second Reach RS acting as a base and sending corrections to the rover on a tractor. In this case for the half of a price of annual RTK subscription, you’re getting your own centimeter-accurate system. Two Reach RS with LoRa radios provide not only return of investments just in half of the year (with savings on RTK subscription) but allows for GPS guidance for planting and other more precise applications. All this is very easy to install and use since the Reach RS is weatherproof and full of connectivity options. It may be charged on the go via USB and connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth.

Improving positioning accuracy helps to drastically reduce input costs by avoiding over/under application of expensive fertilizers, seed, and chemical spray. The centimeter-accurate positioning reduces overlaps and missed zones and this helps to save time and increase yield potential.

With the best in class GPS guidance for around $1600 (two Reach RS and an app), a small or part-time producer can now take advantages of precision farming without an ongoing subscription cost.

John Deere tractor with Emlid Reach RS on top of it