Chris Whitton – Accuracy improved thanks to precision technology - Vantage E & W
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Chris Whitton – Accuracy improved thanks to precision technology

Farmer Chris Whitton introduced precision ag to his farming and contracting operations seven years ago – and he would never go back.

Managing 100 acres at home in Suffolk, the bulk of his business is contracting, comprising varying cereal, sugar beet and oilseed rape operations.

It was in a bid to improve accuracy and consistency in strip tillage, sugar beet and oilseed rape drilling, that Chris, his son, and brother decided to introduce and retrofit Trimble technology.

“Trimble, through AS Communications, was the best balance of cost and capability,” he says. “Originally, we opted for the EZ-Pilot assisted steering system with high accuracy CenterPoint and CFX-750 display screen.”

But with advancements in technology, they upgraded. “We now have the EZ-Pilot with Centerpoint RTX and FM-1000 display – this gives us below two-inch accuracy,” Chris explains. “RTK technology would be better, but RTX has improved over the years and it gives us the accuracy for the sugar beet drilling, strip tillage, and fertiliser applications.”

Using auto steer and guidance, Chris has gladly done away with tramlines and bout markers. “Not having to tramline is a pleasure – getting spacing wrong will be a cost that haunts you all year – and bout markers are an additional expense; often the conditions aren’t right and they go wrong.”

With the change from AS communications to Vantage, he has noticed an increase in staffing levels, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Vantage and Trimble equipment. “It’s perhaps not the cheapest but the continuity and reliability is worth the extra cost – when you are working with a tight window, you want to know that you won’t be left all day with kit you can’t use.”

He quickly learnt that problems often stem from incorrect data entry, which is easily resolved on farm. “I like to be quite self-sufficient so wanted to do my own installation and maintenance when necessary – Vantage haven’t been stuffy about this and have given me the support and service I need to get on with it.”

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