Tractor manufacturers, such as CNH, are finding that there are two ways in which they might increase the digital technology they offer.

The first is to develop it internally, while the second is to bolt it on by investment in start-ups or other small I.T companies with an idea.

CNH has chosen the second route and continues to strengthen its digital portfolio through its investment arm, CNH Ventures taking a minority stake in Bem Agro, a Brazilian start-up and existing supplier to CNH.

Bem Agro has created software to convert any type of aerial field image – including those taken from machines, drones and satellites – into Agronomic Mapping Reports.

CNH claims that these reports provide data that will enable farmers to make informed decisions with regard to optimising field operations, allocating resources to improve yield while driving improved machine performance, greater productivity and reduced running costs.

Brazilian base for Bem Agro

Hailing from South America, the software is orientated towards sugarcane, fibre crops and cereals harvesting, where farmers can face low-visibility conditions.

Bem Agro has created its maps to provide guidance lines for course correction and crop damage reduction while its weed mapping pinpoints specific areas to be sprayed, minimising herbicide usage.

CNH currently uses its mapping solutions on Case IH and New Holland brands and connected platforms for sugarcane harvesters, tractors and sprayers in Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand.

Despite Bem Agro offering features that may be of benefit in the west, CNH aims to significantly enhance its current and future precision technology services and reach for agriculture across Latin America and Asia Pacific.

CNH weed mapping

One of the abilities of the software is to detect and map weed infestations in a growing crop so that spraying can more effectively target the problem.

This approach differs to that taken by many in the west where the detection of weeds is left to implement mounted cameras.

Mapping from a drone will indicate the severity of a problem rather than just pick out individual weeds as they are encountered, thus helping to decide as to whether spraying the crop will actually be worthwhile before entering the field.

Taking this this technology and applying it to cropping in the northern hemisphere may well offer a step forward for farm management closer to home.