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Cm-accurate GPS Guidance for Tractors on a Budget

The benefits of precision agriculture are well known. Until now, it required equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the ongoing monthly subscriptions for an RTK correction service. Many farmers were not able to afford to implement GNSS-based technologies into their farming. However, Reach changed the situation.

Integrating Reach with a Guidance App

Reach RS+ on the tractor

Reach receivers are an affordable way to benefit from GPS guidance in the accurate application of sprays, fertilizer, or planting. One of our users, Joseph, shared his story on how he implemented Reach RS into his farming and saved himself a penny or two. 

The idea was simple: he paired Reach RS with one of the many GPS guidance apps from Android. This app delivers GPS precision to farming. When paired with a Reach receiver, your smartphone or tablet replaces its internal GPS receiver with Reach. This allows the positioning app to use precise RTK coordinates as input. Check Emlid docs to learn more about how to pair your smartphone/tablet with Reach and start using it for GPS guidance. 

So Joseph decided to use Reach RS to improve the precision of his farming work. He mounted the Reach RS on the tractor. The next step was to decide how to get the corrections for RTK to achieve a decent level of precision.

How to Get Centimeter Precision 

There are two options for receiving corrections in this case. The first one is using the local RTK correction service. That provides a pass to pass accuracy within 30-60 centimeters. Such an accuracy works fine for some spraying applications or fertilizer spreading. 

The tractor is ready for field work. Notice Reach RS+ mounted on it

However, the subscription for these services can cost quite a significant sum. 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.

Joseph decided to go another way. He ordered a second Reach RS unit and set it as a static base to transmit the corrections. In this case, while the moving receiver is within the required baseline and under an open sky view, you get centimeter precision. 

Doing the Math

Improving positioning accuracy helps to drastically reduce input costs by avoiding the over or 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.

Two Reach RS with LoRa radios proved themselves a cost-effective solution that allows GPS guidance for planting and other more precise applications. For annual subscription for cm precision, you’ll pay around $1000 each year. Two Reach RS+ receivers, plus an app would cost you around $1600-1700 as a one-time purchase.

Reach Receivers for Precision Agriculture

Reach RS+ and Reach RS2 make it easier for farmers to benefit from using GNSS-based technologies in their work. Reach receivers come with a handy app ReachView that is available for iOS and Android. Start taking advantage of precision farming now!