Machinery companies such as Claas have been busy jumping aboard the digital revolution, believing that bringing IT to tractors and farming will offer its customers huge benefits.

This, so far, has led to a myriad array of systems and applications that are often useful in bringing efficiencies, but do little to simplify the already complex business of farming.

Claas has come to appreciate that the general mix of competing products will hamper, rather than encourage adoption of digital technology, and so, in response, it has developed Claas Connect.

The company describes this as a single, cloud-based platform that brings together the full range of digital applications, from yield mapping to machine servicing and even digital licence expiry notification.

Claas builds on what works

The product is not entirely new, but the latest revamp and upgrades are significant in further embracing all of the facets of the farming operation which involve machinery.

The company explains that the focus was to develop a common platform linking all relevant portals with a simple, user-friendly interface which provides access to all areas of information.

To do this, Claas has bought together the machine management and fleet management aspects of farm mechanisation and now considers them as a whole.

Workshop interior
Claas workshop technicians can be given a full view of a machine’s history with the latest software

To further enhance the digital journey there is, in addition to the farmer and dealer, the opportunity for third parties to access the certain parts of the data if deemed desirable or necessary.

This includes agronomists who will be able to take geodata, such as yield and soil maps, and base fertiliser recommendations on them, thus helping to bridge the yawning gap between collecting field data and usefully applying the information it contains to input recommendations.

Machine oversight

On the machine management side, each new tractor and harvester will come with a five-year Machine Connect licence that will enable an automatic update and alerts of service intervals, as well as record any work undertaken.

The system is not just confined to the company’s products, other brands can be integrated, allowing an overview of position, fuel levels and machine status to be displayed on the same screen.

This cross compliance extends to meta data for precision farming, such as field boundaries, though the use of the SHAPE or ISO-XML file formats.

Looking ahead, Claas tells us that further upgrades to its software will allow greater data sharing beyond the single individual Claas ID, simplifying task planning, implementation and documentation.