Nutrien Ag – Spreader Truck Technology
Today’s challenges are how to connect the agronomist with dispatch and dispatch with the applicator; how to increase grower confidence in custom application; and how to increase business efficiency and communication.
In 2020 Nutrien installed a Raven demo system with support from Sunrise Ag, a Raven dealer in Swan Hill, VIC. The Nutrien team used the Raven technology first-hand and put it through a rigorous daily workload. The Raven team loaded customer data, including GFFs (Grower/Farm/Field) and boundaries, which allowed the Nutrien agronomists to quickly dispatch jobs once the field was ready for application.
The Viper 4+ field computer and the RCM controlled the Comspread fertilizer and lime applicators. The applicators were fitted with load cells allowing the RCM to run dynamic scale calibration in real time. Viper 4+ utilized the RS1 to connect to Nutrien’s Slingshot account which allowed them to use Machine Sync and AgSync for multiple applicators dispatched in the area. Machine Sync gave applicators spreading in the same paddock the ability to share the same coverage map and guidance data which maximized their efficiency. AgSync allowed dispatch to send the jobs to the applicators and receive completed jobs back via cellular connection through the RS1 which kept the fleet running very efficiently.
In addition to the Slingshot connection, the Viper 4+ and RS1 controlled the steering system on the spreaders. Nutrien imported the boundaries and guidance lines for the jobs and RS1 and MD provided hands-free steering on the spreader trucks. RS1 also had RTK correction which provided sub-centimeter accuracy for the highest quality application.
By using Raven’s Connected Workflow, Nutrien gained grower confidence in the application business by showing precise application and coverage maps. The ability to use RS1 and MD steering kept the spread pattern accurate from pass to pass.
Our Connected Workflow solution also increased business efficiency and communication where the agronomists could provide work orders with recommendations to the dispatchers when they met with growers. Once the work orders were in the system, the dispatchers assigned the jobs to the spreader operators as the paddocks were released by the growers. Nutrien wanted to ease the load on the operator in the spreader by sending the jobs directly to the truck. Each job included the grower, farm, field information; the product information such as the VRA file; and the field boundary. The operators used Job Sync where they could share coverage maps among multiple spreaders which eliminated overapplication, reduced misapplication, and they were able to complete the job in less time. Once the job was completed, the spreader map was sent back via AgSync which eliminated the need for extra hardware to move the data from the field to the cloud.