Hurst Farm Supply Blog

What is RTK

Posted by Hurst Farm Supply on Nov 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM
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What is RTK

In many cases, technology has made the world a more efficient place in which to live. Farming is no exception.

Farmers understand the importance of being precise in everything they do, and precision enables them to get the most from their farms. And Real Time Kinematics (RTK) technology helps them achieve that more easily.

Let’s take a closer look at what RTK is, how it works, and how it helps farmers.

RTK Basics

RTK, which dates to the 1990s, is a differential Global Navigation Satellite System that allows for superior positioning performance. Measurements and corrections are received from a base station located in the vicinity of a cellular connection in the field. John Deere’s Starfire RTK signal offers sub-inch repeatability within a 12 mile radius of its base stations.

RTK has been commercially available for years – but is now more affordable than ever – and is considered the premier autosteer technology.

How it Works

The RTK base station is located in or near your field and can either be a part of your own network or part of a dealer-run network.

While less-precise types of steering correction signals are accurate from 2 to 8 inches on a pass-by-pass basis, RTK provides the advantage of 1 inch pass-to-pass accuracy.

John Deere also offers RTK-Extend which allows machinery to continue along the desired path even if you’ve lost sight of the base tower. The vehicle will continue on that path as long as it gets a signal from the base tower every 15 minutes. On John Deere’s newest receiver, the Starfire 6000, this RTK-Extend time has been increased to 14 days.

How RTK Benefits Farmers

There are a variety of benefits that precision agriculture technologies like RTK have for farmers:

  • It reduces application overlaps and skips.
  • It gives farmers the ability to work at night, which leads to cost savings.
  • It provides autosteer guidance for planting, harvesting, fertilizing, spraying, controlling traffic patterns, and more.
  • It provides more accurate placement of fertilizer and herbicide.
  • It enables farmers to cover more acres with fewer hours of operation.

At Hurst Farm Supply, we’re all about making your job easier. That’s why we’ve developed an RTK Network Infrastructure that makes using your RTK system easier and more efficient. This network covers approximately 1.8 million acres.

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