Traditionally, precision agriculture has been characterised by significant equipment investment and costs related to usage. Nowadays, with more than half of satellite navigation-enabled tractors equipped with EGNOS, the affordable precision solution EGNOS offers is already used in the precision agriculture sector.
This market is growing steadily with more than 90% of satellite navigation-enabled tractors to be equipped with this type of technology by 2020 (meaning global annual shipments of circa 500 000 units).
The benefits brought by EGNOS are manifold:
- Used for low-value crop cultivation and low-accuracy operations, it allows automatic steering guidance even in bad weather conditions and therefore reduces overlaps and driver’s fatigue.
- Combined with a satellite image analysis, the one meter accuracy provided by EGNOS allows an optimised variable rate application of fertilisers and herbicides and thus help protect the environment against chemicals’ over-application.
- When equipped with an EGNOS-enabled helmet, individual livestock may be tracked and confined to a limited area. This “virtual fencing” brings more flexibility in the design and modification of this area and reduces fence’s costs of maintenance.
- Food traceability is also enhanced with the addition of timing and location of harvest period through a unique land parcel identification, into the automated registration of products.
- EGNOS may also be used for the management and control of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). With its enhanced accuracy, the farmer can be confident in his fields’ measurement when applying for a CAP aid or for mapping and updating fields’ boundaries. The same for the CAP inspectors when carrying out on-the-spot checks to control the applications registered.
EGNOS can support:
• Variable ploughing, seeding and spraying
• Tractor guidance
• Individual livestock positioning
• Virtual fencing
• Land parcel identification and geo-traceability
• Post-harvest pick-up
• Supervised livestock tracking
• Field measurement
• Field boundary mapping and updating
EGNOS will help:
• Enhance precision
• Eliminate waste and over-application of fertilisers
• Save time
• Reduce fatigue
• Extend equipment lifetime by optimising its use
• Provide geo-traceability
• Optimise crop yields
• Increase profit margins
How does EGNOS work:
EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, improves the accuracy of position measurements by sending out signals that correct GPS data and provide information on its reliability.
The EGNOS network includes more than 30 reference stations in 20 countries. Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Stations (RIMS) on the ground pick up signals from GPS satellites, which are processed in Master Control Centres (MCC). The accuracy of the original signals is determined and confounding factors, such as electrical disturbances in the atmosphere, are corrected.
These data are incorporated into EGNOS signals and sent to its three geostationary satellites. The satellites then relay the signals back to users on the ground, thus providing far greater positioning accuracy than would be achieved through GPS alone.
(Source – http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/satnav/egnos/files/egnos_agriculture.pdf)