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How accurate are today's ag GPS systems?

How accurate are today's ag GPS systems?

Twin corn rows by accident beg the question: Just how accurate are auto-guidance systems today?

Walking through a cornfield and spotting these two rows just a few inches apart, but consistently the same distance apart through the field, it was cause for a double-take. How did that happen?

Related: Don't give up on ag technology because you lose GPS signal on occasion

Whether it was on purpose so there wouldn't be a guess row on the outside near the fence line or whether the GPS signal was off on one pass isn't clear. What is clear is that once it was off, it locked in to being "off" and guided the tractor through the field on the same path.

Twin rows? No, it's really 30-inch corn. Why these two rows are close together is a mystery.

Some people are talking about twin rows and now Stine Seeds even talks about twin row corn in 20-inch rows, but there was something else going on here.

It begs the question – how accurate is GPS now? Based on what farmers are telling us, it's getting more accurate all the time. They would lead you to believe the "twin row" in a 30-inch row field was on purpose, for whatever reason.

Related: Why More Farmers Switch to RTK GPS

One farmer tells us he switched from a subscription service to a RTK signal off a tower, even though the tower is over 10 miles away. He says the reception has been excellent. He has inch accuracy and hasn't lost the signal at all this spring. Once in a while in wooded fields he would lose the subscription signal.

The only time he lost RTK was driving between two small fields with woods on each side. Once he got into the small field, even surrounded by trees, the signal locked on and he didn't lose it for the rest of the time he was planting the field.

Cost is comparable or perhaps even cheaper using the RTK source instead of the subscription service, he notes.

Other farmers report different experiences, but more report switching to RTK. Once they do they report little difficulty losing signal, even in wooded areas. The RTK signal system appears to be accurate.

Continued reading: Plot Planting Just Got Simpler With GPS Tools

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