The partnership between AFGRI Equipment and John Deere dates back to 1962, with AFGRI Equipment benefitting from world-class automation equipment, support and services and John Deere benefitting from the extensive AFGRI Equipment dealer network, spanning South Africa, certain African countries, as well as Western Australia.
“The AFGRI Equipment dealer network is in fact that largest outside of North America,” explains Tinus Prinsloo, CEO of AFGRI. “The JD Link system, which AFGRI Equipment has already started rolling out to farmers, helps collate telematics and a wide range of data from all machines. Vital information to prevent downtime as an example, is available at any time to the farmer, and this, in our opinion, will improve efficiencies even further.”
“The solution enables customers to keep track of their fleet, monitor work progress, manage logistics, access important machine information, analyse and optimise machine performance, receive alert SMS or email messages, perform remote operator support and automate data exchange.”
Prinsloo goes on to explain that this unique system, one of the first of its kind in the market, is invaluable for the future of large-scale commercial farming. “JD Link offers boundless features and benefits – even the most basic data relayed would consist of equipment-specific metrics such as diesel levels, engine temperature and forward speed.
“Second, and probably most exciting, is the efficiency data that becomes available such as hectares completed, average hectares per hour, hitch position and wheel slip. Equipment can even be geo-fenced and time restricted to alert owners of unauthorised usage.”
A third feature is that JD Link acts as a gateway for data to flow to and from machines. Machine critical updates can be carried out over an internet connection or via screen-sharing to allow technicians access to in-cab screens via an internet link, and fault codes can be pushed to the owner, operator or the dealer as they occur.
“What is exciting is that we are now enabling machines and equipment to communicate with one other. This will allow, as examples, machines to adapt guidance tracks to accommodate different working widths of implements,” says Prinsloo.
He comments that while this may sound like a sci-fi movie script, it is in fact agriculture in the twenty-first century, where extracting efficiency down to the smallest aspect counts.
“AFGRI Equipment has always seen value in investing in precision agriculture. We believe that these technologies enable our producers to make more informed decisions by having the correct information available to them when they need it. We have embarked on this journey to collaborate with producers, thereby ushering in the next age of agricultural information technology, automation, management and ultimately profitability for their operations. JD Link forms an important building block in the total strategy of allowing us to achieve this vision for the future,” indicates a proud Prinsloo.
The system can be used across various models and types of equipment, the only limitations being data on certain non-John Deere equipment, and on older and lower spec John Deere tractors.
An additional benefit is that systems other than those from John Deere can be added to the platform, with the result being that the farmer or equipment owner stands to benefit tremendously.