How to Navigate Sustainability and Compliance with Precision Technology 

The journey towards sustainability in farming can be challenging, especially in the face of increasing compliance regulations and environmental concerns. However, as proud Kiwi farmers, we recognise the importance of safeguarding our beautiful country. 

The good news is that cutting-edge precision agriculture technologies can help by providing targeted solutions. Metrics play an essential role in pinpointing conservation opportunities, and guidance systems optimise inputs to reduce waste. Additionally, data-driven insights not only track, but also highlight adherence to environmental standards. 

By harnessing the capabilities of precision agriculture, streamlining compliance processes and meeting sustainability objectives becomes achievable. In this blog, we’ll give you a practical guide to striking the perfect balance between production and stewardship, offering insights to navigate your journey successfully. 

The Evolution of Precision Agriculture 

The roots of precision agriculture trace back to the humble beginnings of 1980 when Dr. Pierre Robert theorised the idea while in college, dedicating himself to studying and pioneering precision farming principles. 

His core philosophy advocated for focusing resources on struggling crops rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. This shift allowed farmers to allocate more money and time to crops that required extra attention, helping preserve the quality of robust crops. 

Fast-forward to the present day, precision agriculture has become a key part of the broader conversation on sustainable farming practices, propelled by growing concerns about the environment and food security. 

The Modern Landscape of Farming  

A recent study by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers has outlined five key areas within precision agriculture that have significant potential for environmental benefits. The findings showed that farmers consistently using precision agriculture technologies achieved the following outcomes: 

  • A 4% increase in crop production 
  • A 7% improvement in fertiliser placement efficiency 
  • A 9% reduction in herbicide and pesticide use 
  • A 6% decrease in fossil fuel consumption 
  • A 4% reduction in water usage 

While these numbers are impressive, the overall impact on an environmental scale is remarkable: 

  • 2 million acres of cropland avoided due to more efficient use of existing land 
  • 13 million fewer kgs of herbicide 
  • 378 million fewer litres of fossil fuel 
  • Enough water saved to fill 750,000 Olympic-size swimming pools 

Precision Solutions for Sustainability 

Auto guidance, machine section control, variable rate technology, machine and fleet analytics, and precision irrigation stand as the five key areas contributing to environmental sustainability in farming. 

The technological advancements in these areas play a crucial role in helping farmers adapt to climate change. Technology from GPS-guided tractors and drones help optimise precious resource use including water and fertilisers. With data-driven insights from weather forecasts and soil analysis, farmers can make informed decisions about when to plant, irrigate and harvest, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. 

The Rise of AI in Precision Agriculture 

Right on the cutting edge of precision technology, a major game-changer is making waves: the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning into crop protection methods. Pioneering progress in technology, Trimble has taken a significant step forward by acquiring Bilberry, an AI and deep learning startup. The innovation promises to revolutionise crop protection by shifting from field-level to plant-level spraying. 

This breakthrough invites in a new era of targeted spraying, allowing farmers to apply pesticides and herbicides directly at the plant level, stepping away from the conventional field-level approach. But what does this mean for sustainability?  

The potential impacts are substantial, as this new technology empowers farmers to use resources more efficiently, significantly reducing crop failure risks. The result will be previously unattainable levels of productivity, profitability and sustainability gains. 

The Future of Farming 

As we have explored in this blog, precision agriculture technologies play a crucial role in achieving sustainability objectives while maintaining productivity and profitability. From AI-driven targeted spraying to equipment automation and data-driven analytics, these solutions fine-tune inputs, reduce waste, and monitor key metrics for compliance and environmental conservation. 

While the path towards sustainable agriculture continues to evolve, precision technologies help embrace improved efficiency. To learn more about how precision solutions could benefit your operation’s bottom line and sustainability goals, get in touch. Our Precision Ag specialists are ready to discuss tailored solutions for your farming operation. 

Trimble Auto-Steer Transforms Spraying Operations at Philip Wareing Limited


In the ever-evolving landscape of agriculture, innovation takes centre stage as farmers seek to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and minimise environmental impact. One such innovation gaining traction is the integration of auto-steer technology into spraying trucks, a move that promises to revolutionise the precision and effectiveness of field operations.


Vantage New Zealand has been working with Philip Wareing Limited (PWL) to install auto-steering technology in two of their spray trucks. PWL is a family-owned and managed transport company in Methven, established in 1975. They began as a spraying contracting business and are now one of the largest rural transport companies in the South Island.


The journey of this project began around seven months ago when PWL expressed that they wanted to save on inputs and increase their accuracy of spraying and make life easier for their drivers. While already utilising Trimble GPS with FieldIQ and the GFX-750 for spraying operations, PWL sought to elevate their capabilities by incorporating auto-steer functionality into their trucks.


Trimble’s auto-steer technology offers farmers and contractors like PWL the ability to navigate straight lines with precision, a crucial factor in optimising the efficiency of spraying operations. As contractors put in all their lines at the start of the season, everyone will then use those lines, so it is important that they are accurate and repeatable.

By being able to align with straight, pre-established run lines for the season, the trucks minimise overspray, leading to substantial savings in both product and fuel. The advantages extend beyond mere precision, with the technology contributing to significant chemical savings and reduced environmental impact.


The first hurdle was installing the equipment and having it certified so the sprayers could move freely on NZ roads. Certification is a meticulous process, especially for modifications involving auto-steer systems, which is important as trucks need to be able to move freely on New Zealand roads. The fear of accidents due to the self-steering technology looms large, necessitating thorough scrutiny by regulatory bodies.


James Storey, Vantage New Zealand Trimble Solutions Specialist, had a history of collaboration with Gilchrist Brothers on similar projects. Gilchrist Brothers, known for their proficiency in installing advanced systems, took charge of the technical aspects, ensuring that the auto-steer technology was not only seamlessly incorporated into the two existing trucks but also met rigorous safety standards.


The involvement of NZTA was crucial in ensuring that any alterations made to the trucks adhered to safety regulations and received proper certification. This step was essential to prevent potential legal issues, maintain insurance coverage, and secure roadworthiness.


Historically, operators hesitated to adopt systems such as auto-steer due to the risk of facing legal consequences, including trucks being ordered off the road. The collaboration with Gilchrist Brothers provided a legal and certified avenue for PWL to upgrade their trucks without compromising safety or legality.


Mark Wareing, co-owner of Philip Wareing Limited, has high praise for the impact of Trimble’s auto-steer system on their spraying operations. He sees it as a valuable tool for training new operators, helping them learn to maintain straight tramlines quickly and efficiently.


“It has empowered one of our trainee drivers to operate the spray rig with increased speed and efficiency,” Wareing says. “Without it, the learning curve for mastering straight driving would have been significantly more time-consuming.”


For experienced operators, Trimble’s auto-steer technology allows them to focus more on the precision of spraying rather than the manual task of driving straight. The technology also helps reduce fatigue and ensures that jobs are as efficient as they can be and repeatable every time.


“With the type of geography we spray, there can be many different types of obstacles in the paddock, and with auto-steer, the driver is able to watch their booms and concentrate on all the other aspects of actually spraying,” Wareing explains. “It also helps us reduce any over or under-spray.”


Wareing is particularly impressed with the comprehensiveness of the Trimble system. He says it offers a well-rounded solution for the multifaceted challenges encountered in their operations, making it an indispensable asset to their business.


“There isn’t a single standout function with Trimble,” Wareing says. “It’s the whole package that makes it so valuable to us. It’s a reliable and efficient system that helps us get the job done right.”


Wareing said that his father always said that you can tell the quality of the workmanship by how straight the drivers had driven, but with modern technology we see an improvement that will simplify what used to be quite a skill. Overall, PWL is extremely satisfied with their investment in Trimble’s auto-steer system. They believe it has had a transformative impact on their spraying operations, leading to increased efficiency, productivity, and accuracy.


In essence, the auto-steer integration serves as a game-changer in the world of precision agriculture. It addresses the concerns of accuracy, efficiency, and environmental sustainability, marking a paradigm shift in how spraying operations are conducted.


As we witness the ongoing transformation of traditional farming practices, the integration of auto-steer technology into spraying trucks stands out as a beacon of progress. The collaborative efforts of PWL, Vantage New Zealand, and Gilchrist Brothers demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the pursuit of excellence in modern agriculture.


As this journey unfolds, it sets a precedent for the industry, encouraging farmers and contractors to embrace technology-driven solutions for a more efficient and sustainable future. If you would like to know more about Trimble’s auto steer or how Precision Agriculture can optimise your farming practices, get in touch with the team at Vantage New Zealand on 0800 462 862 or

How Farm Management Software Can Transform Your Operations 

Are you looking for ways to boost productivity on your farm? In today’s fast-paced agricultural industry, efficiency is key to success. That’s where farm management software like Trimble Ag Software (TAS) can make all the difference. With its powerful features, a farm management system can be a game-changer for your operations.

Imagine being able to easily track and manage all aspects of your farm, from inventory and equipment to crop and livestock management. Farm management software provides you with real-time data and analytics, removing the guesswork and allowing you to make informed decisions to optimise your farming processes. Say goodbye to manual record-keeping and embrace the efficiency of a digital solution.

Not only can farm management software streamline your daily operations, but it can also help you optimise your resource allocation and minimise waste. Change can be scary, but by leveraging the power of technology and getting rid of the filing cabinets, you can ensure that every aspect of your farm is running at its optimum level and all records are accurate.

Some of the challenges faced by modern farmers:

Modern farmers face numerous challenges that can hinder productivity and profitability.  

  1. One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to improve operational efficiency. As farms become larger and more diversified (which causes operations to become more complex) it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of all the moving parts. Manual record-keeping and outdated systems can lead to errors and inefficiencies, resulting in wasted time and resources. 

We are very lucky to farm in beautiful New Zealand, but we do need to comply with ever-changing regulations.  

2. Farmers must adhere to strict environmental standards, food safety regulations, and labour laws. Staying on top of these requirements can be overwhelming, especially for small-scale farmers who may not have dedicated compliance personnel. 

Additionally, farmers must contend with unpredictable weather patterns, pests, and diseases that can impact crop yields and livestock health. 2023 has been the year of floods, high winds and what’s forecast to be a very dry summer. Managing these risks effectively requires timely and accurate data, which can be difficult to gather and analyse without farm management software. 

Benefits of using a farm management system

  1. Provides farmers with real-time data and analytics, allowing them to make data-driven decisions. By having access to accurate and up-to-date information on inventory levels, equipment usage, crop growth, and livestock health, farmers can optimise their operations and respond quickly to changing conditions.

  2. Automates many routine tasks, saving farmers valuable time and effort. For example, the system can generate work orders for machinery maintenance, track labour hours, and automatically update inventory levels. This automation reduces the risk of errors and ensures that tasks are completed in a timely manner.

  3. Improves communication and collaboration among farm workers. With a centralised platform, everyone can access and update relevant information, eliminating the need for paper-based records and manual data entry. This streamlined communication enhances efficiency and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication or duplication of efforts.

Key features of farm management software

Trimble Ag Software offer a range of operational, record-keeping and agronomic features to help your team focus on what’s most important – getting the work done correctly and efficiently.

  1. Increased operational efficiency – Trimble’s platform empowers farmers to seize control of daily resource and task planning, enabling proactive scheduling. The work orders feature streamlines workflows, facilitating easy task scheduling, assignment to team members, and real-time progress monitoring. It aids in assessing priorities, ensuring timely and accurate project execution, and notifies you of any violations to weather restrictions. Trimble’s Standard and Display Work Orders allow pre-cab definition of Precision-IQ display tasks, with wireless data transmission for seamless tracking.

  2. Easier data sharing between displays –Share resources across your fleet wirelessly via AutoSync – AutoSync automatically syncs guidance lines, field names, boundaries, materials, implements, vehicles, and operator information across all connected devices in your farm operation — including Trimble® TMX-2050™ and GFX-750™ displays, as well as the Trimble Ag Software that you can access from any computer or mobile device. Say goodbye to those pesky USB sticks.

  3. Streamlined inventory management – allows farmers to keep track of their supplies, equipment, and other assets. The system can automatically update inventory levels as items are used or replenished, ensuring that farmers always have a clear view of their stock.

  4. Annual farm map & crop rotation tracking – Trimble Ag Software’s robust farm crop rotation planning tool lets you split each field into multiple crops which makes record-keeping per crop very easy.

  5. Efficient crop and land management – enables farmers to monitor the health and growth of their crops. This includes tracking planting and harvesting schedules, monitoring soil conditions, managing daily tasks, crop health satellite imagery, managing irrigation, and production data. By having access to this information in real-time, farmers can take proactive measures to prevent disease outbreaks, optimise crop yields, and improve animal welfare.

  6. Financial management capabilities – such as budgeting and, cost tracking. This helps farmers keep track of their expenses and revenue, enabling them to make informed financial decisions and ensure the profitability of their operations.

  7. Nutrient Management – being able to create and follow your unique nutrient management plan and provide the application evidence in the form of records and proof of placement for nutrients.

Selecting the right farm management software for your operation 

Choosing the right farm management software is crucial to maximising its benefits. When selecting software, it’s important to consider: 

  • Your specific needs and goals. Start by identifying the key challenges and pain points in your operation and look for software that addresses those issues. 

  • Compatibility with your existing fleet of machinery to be able to process various task data formats.
  • If the system will work with precision farming tools such as variable rate application maps, being able to import drone imagery, no extra cost satellite imagery, being able to import soil test results, EM survey results, crop, crop scouting & recommendations, Crop storage and inventory management, growers crop contract management, chemicals and fertiliser inventory tracking. 

  • Direct or indirect API – How the system will integrate with other providers such as MyBallance, Ravensdown, JohDeere Operations Center, NH Myplm, CaseIH AFS, AGCO VarioDoc, AgriRouter, RavenSlingshot, Steyr. The Precision Farmingconnection with TAS streamlines fertiliser and spray application for easier reporting, compliance and decision making. This integration connects with MyBallance and Hawkeye for enhanced efficiency. 

  • Consider the scalability of the system, as your farm may grow and evolve over time. Ensure that the software can accommodate your current needs and has the flexibility to adapt to future changes. 

  • Evaluate the user interface and ease of use, as software that is difficult to navigate or understand will likely lead to frustration and inefficiency. Look for software that offers a clean and intuitive interface, with clear instructions and user-friendly features. 

  • Consider the accessibility through various channels, including online web or cloud-based platforms, as well as Android and iOS applications. 

Implementing a farm management system 

Implementing farm management software requires careful planning and preparation. Start by identifying the specific goals and objectives you want to achieve with the system. This will help guide the implementation process and ensure that the system is configured to meet your needs. We offer various training & setup packages to suit each customer’s unique needs.  

Next, gather all relevant data and information that will be transferred to the system. This includes inventory records, equipment maintenance schedules, crop and livestock data, financial records, and any other information that is currently stored manually or in other systems. 

Before going live with the system, it’s important to ensure that all trainers or key users at the organisation are trained on how to use it effectively. This may involve conducting training sessions, providing instructional materials, or offering one-on-one support. The goal is to ensure that everyone is comfortable using the system and understands its benefits. 

In the implementation of TAS, our strategy involves breaking it down into smaller components, addressing each part individually. This method enables us to concentrate on the distinct features and advantages of each segment, facilitating the identification and resolution of potential issues before progressing to the next feature. 

Training and support for using farm management software. 

Using farm management software effectively requires ongoing training and support. As new features and updates are introduced, it’s important to keep farm workers informed and provide them with the necessary training to utilise these enhancements. 

The software provider should offer comprehensive training resources, such as video tutorials, user manuals, and online support forums. Additionally, they should have a dedicated support team available to address any issues or questions that may arise. 

Regular communication with the software provider is essential to ensure that you are maximising the value of the system. They can provide guidance on best practices, offer troubleshooting assistance, and help you take advantage of new features and capabilities. 

We leverage the power of technology to improve our clients’ productivity and efficiency in many ways, every day. With TeamViewer and Remote Support, we can provide remote assistance to clients, troubleshoot issues, and help them get the most out of the technology. Additionally, Trimble’s YouTube channel, Resource Centre, dedicated learning platform and user manuals offer a wealth of information and resources that can help farmers learn more about the technology and its best practices. It’s time to transform your farm with Trimble Ag Software. 

Trimble Ag Software is here to support your precision farming journey. Discover the core principles of precision agriculture with the 5 Rs:

  • Right Input,
  • Right Amount,
  • Right Place,
  • Right Time, and
  • Right Manner.

Choose a system that not only fits your current needs but also grows with you over time. With its reliable record-keeping features, Trimble Ag Software helps you keep track of the true cost of operations for your organisation. It’s a practical choice to enhance your precision farming experience.  

Navigating Solar Cycle 25: Understanding Ionospheric Disturbances and GNSS Technology

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), including the widely utilised GPS, have brought about a significant transformation across many diverse industries by utilising the remarkable positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities of the GNSS network. 

In agriculture, GNSS applications now play a vital role in the technology used to provide precise field data, high accuracy machine control and intuitive software to facilitate data-driven decision-making and enable accurate predictions of planting outcomes. These systems operate through GNSS receivers, which triangulate signals from satellite constellations, allowing the real-time calculation of coordinates for seamless operational efficiency.

However, the intricate dynamics of the Earth’s upper atmosphere, particularly the ionosphere, introduce a layer of complexity to this technological advancement. The ionosphere possesses the capacity to influence radio waves, interfering with satellite navigation systems that rely on precisely timed signals.

This blog post delves into the intricate relationship between the ionosphere, Solar Cycle 25, and its impact on GNSS technology, with the aim of providing valuable insights into effective mitigation strategies to navigate through potential disruptions and maintain the reliability of precision technologies.

 Understanding the ionosphere and its influence:

The ionosphere, an electrically charged layer located between 50 and 650 km above sea level, significantly influences satellite communication. While signals from navigation satellites usually travel without interference, a highly charged ionosphere can introduce delays and distortions through refraction and diffraction.

GNSS receivers can account for smoothly distributed ionised particles using standard models. However, irregularities in the ionosphere, causing fluctuations in the phase and amplitude of GNSS signals, can lead to disturbances such as scintillations near the equator and unpredictable fluctuations in mid-latitude regions.

Solar Cycle 25 and its impacts:

Solar Cycle 25 is the current phase of ionospheric disturbances caused by the sun’s solar flare activity. Solar winds can reach up to 2,500 km/s during geomagnetic storms and up to 200 simultaneous sunspots are possible at the peak of the solar cycle.

The ionosphere undergoes charging through natural processes like the ionisation of gas molecules due to solar ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays. Solar phenomena, such as flares and coronal mass ejections, have the potential to impact the ionosphere. Additionally, the interactions occurring between solar winds and Earth’s magnetic field, particularly during geomagnetic storms, play a significant role in influencing the ionosphere. During periods of high solar activity, ionospheric disturbances can cause fluctuations in radio waves, resulting in reference station tracking issues, cycle slips, and degraded positioning performance.

Signals from GNSS satellites are disrupted as they pass through the atmosphere, and each day Total Electron Content (TEC) increases. TEC is the total number of electrons present in a path between a radio transmitter and receiver.

Radio waves are affected by the presence of electrons, so the more electrons in the radio wave path, the more the signal will be affected. Expected to peak over the next three years, Solar Cycle 25 poses challenges for technologies relying on high-frequency radio signals, including GNSS signals used for positioning, navigation, and correction services.

Mitigating the impact of ionospheric disturbances:

Understanding the intricate dynamics of the ionosphere and its impact on GNSS technology is essential as Solar Cycle 25 progresses. Mitigating the effects of an ionospheric storm involves proactive planning, utilising tools such as Trimble’s GNSS planning tool, assessing existing hardware, upgrading to newer GNSS receivers, and employing appropriate correction sources. Heightened awareness of ionospheric storms is vital for proactive protection, necessitating a combination of preparedness, resilience, and effective response to address their impact on precision technologies.

To specifically address the impacts of Solar Cycle 25, it is recommended to employ multi-frequency receivers. These receivers effectively counteract ionospheric interference by minimising the effects of total electron content. GNSS planning tools play a critical role in optimising timing around anticipated interference. Trimble’s advanced algorithms further enhance precision positioning, even in the face of solar storms, by continuously and rapidly adjusting correction data.

Trimble are consistently enhancing the performance of their GNSS receivers to meet these challenges and investing in the latest receivers coupled with RTX products will help you mitigate the effects of Solar Cycle 25. We currently have multiple solutions available to assist you in upgrading to technology that will support you throughout Solar Cycle 25.

Implementing these strategies and staying informed about ionospheric storms empower businesses to proactively safeguard their infrastructure and ensure the sustained reliability of precision technologies. Trimble’s advancements in GNSS receivers and algorithms stand as a robust solution for successfully navigating the challenges posed by Solar Cycle 25.

AG-372 Trade-In and Savings Promotion

For a limited time, eligible owners of Case IH and New Holland equipment can save up to 55% when upgrading to the latest Trimble precision technology. To find out more about this amazing offer to upgrade to newer technology and mitigate your risks, click the button below. 

Soil Moisture 101: A Farming Guide to Soil Moisture Management and Soil Moisture Meters 

Soil Moisture Meter and Vantage Brand Trailor in the Field

In this guide, we’re going to dive into the topic of soil moisture and soil moisture meters. Soil moisture is a subject that may not always receive the attention it deserves, but its a critical aspect for land a plant management. Soil plays a central role in many areas of farming, impacting everything from seed germination to irrigation, fertiliser application, and the growth of food and fibre.  

In New Zealand, we take pride in making the most of our water resources while looking after our beautiful environment. That’s one of the reasons why understanding soil moisture is crucial. Few elements have as much influence as soil moisture, due to its role in nurturing plant growth and ensuring profitable farming. 

Buckle up as we are about to provide you with foundational knowledge about soil moisture and why it matters on your farm. 

The importance of soil moisture in farming

  • Crop Growth and Yield: Adequate soil moisture is essential for successful crop germination, growth, and development because not having enough moisture can lead to poor crop establishment and decreased yields. 
  • Water Management: When it comes to water management, balance is key. Over-irrigation can result in water wastage and nutrient leaching, while under-irrigation can stress crops and reduce yields. Effective soil moisture management helps strike a balance that ensures efficient water use.  
  • Drought Resilience: Soil moisture management plays a pivotal role in drought resilience. Farms with well-balanced soil moisture levels are better equipped for dry periods and can minimise the impact of drought on crops. 
  • Environmental Impact: When talking about soil moisture, we need to think about the environment too. Poor soil moisture management can have environmental consequences including water runoff, contamination of water bodies, and depletion of water resources. By using moisture management strategies, we can reduce these environmental impacts. 

The key benefits of measuring your soil moisture

  • Optimised Irrigation: Monitoring soil moisture helps inform decisions about when and how much to irrigate. That means crops receive the right amount of water which reduces waste and lowers irrigation costs. 
  • Maximised Crop Yield: Proper soil moisture management fosters healthy plant growth which can lead to higher crop yields.  
  • Crop Selection: Different crops have different water needs. With soil moisture insights, you can pick the right crops for your soil conditions. 
  • Reduced Fertiliser Use: Balanced soil moisture enhances nutrient management. When moisture levels are just right, plants can efficiently absorb nutrients, which reduces the need for excessive fertilisation and minimises nutrient runoff.  
  • Financial Planning: Accurate soil moisture data aids the decision-making process, by facilitating efficient resource allocation, reducing input costs, and enhancing profitability. 

Understanding soil moisture levels

To understand soil moisture levels, we need to understand the physical properties of soil. Soil is made up of different-sized particles, such as sand, silt, and clay. The spaces between these particles hold air and water, and the balance between the two is critical to plant growth.  

The amount of water that soil can hold depends on the size of the soil particles and the spaces between them. Sandy soil, for instance, has larger spaces between particles, which means it can hold less water compared to clay soil, which has smaller spaces between particles.  

Soil moisture levels are typically measured in terms of soil moisture tension, which is the force required to remove water from the soil. This measurement is expressed in units of kilopascals (kPa). The higher the soil moisture tension, the drier the soil, and the harder it is for plants to extract water from it.  

So, what happens if I don’t measure my soil moisture? 

Navigating water-related challenges on your farm can be a daunting task. Nature often dictates whether there’s too much water, too little, or it’s in the wrong places within your fields. The unpredictability of rainfall further complicates matters, leaving you with minimal control over the water supply. 

However, it’s crucial to prioritise water management because excessive or insufficient water can result in a number of problems that can negatively impact your farm’s profitability. Some of these risks include:  

  • Delayed planting or harvest. 
  • An increased risk of lower-quality crops. 
  • The need for replanting, which consumes valuable time and resources.
  • Soil compaction, which diminishes soil structure and hinders root and water penetration. 

When faced with water-related challenges in your fields, even small adjustments can significantly improve your profitability by reducing damage, diseases, and crop losses associated with water extremes. 

How soil moisture meters work  

Soil moisture meters work by measuring the electrical magnetic conductivity of the soil, which is directly related to the amount of water present in it. There are two common methods employed by these meters: one involves measuring the capacitance between the probe and the surrounding soil, while the other gauges the resistance of the soil between two prongs. 

In capacitance measurement, electrodes penetrate the soil, with high moisture levels reflected by high capacitance. Conversely, resistive meters measure the electrical resistance between electrodes, where higher moisture content corresponds to lower resistance. Soil moisture meters come in many different forms from TDR’s, tapes, probes and handheld sensors. The moisture meter and software then converts these readings into a moisture reading, which is displayed on a digital screen or gauge.  

Some soil moisture meters also come with additional features, such as temperature sensors, pH sensors, and nutrient sensors, which provide a more comprehensive understanding of soil conditions.

Choosing the right soil moisture meter for your farm 

Choosing the right soil moisture meter can be challenging, given the range of options available in the market. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a soil moisture meter for your farm: 

Crop type 

Different crops have different water requirements, and the type of crop you grow will influence the type of soil moisture meter you will need. Some crops, such as maize can root deeply into the soil profile, while in comparison, ryegrass is much shallower. Selecting a moisture meter that enables the observation of both irrigation effects and root uptake, particularly through active root zones, provides deeper insights into the soil conditions beneath the surface. Moisture meters come in a range of lengths and placements, therefore, accessing what will fit your needs with the crop rotation you have is an important factor. 

Connectivity options 

Soil moisture meters vary across different forms, including cellular, LoRaWan/NBIoT, Bluetooth, handheld devices, and mesh networks. Cellular options are effective when connectivity is robust, with cellular performing better in areas with good coverage and NBIoT being preferable in low-coverage regions. In scenarios where signal strength is a concern, alternatives like mesh networks, Bluetooth, and handheld options may be more suitable. 

Soil moisture meters come in a range of prices, from basic models to advanced ones with multiple sensors and features. Consider your budget when choosing a soil moisture meter and select one that provides the necessary features while staying within your budget. 

Ease of use 
Choose a soil moisture meter that is easy to use and maintain. Some models require regular calibration, while others are self-calibrating. Consider the user interface and display when choosing a soil moisture meter, as it should be easy to read and understand. 

Soil Moisture Meters available through Vantage NZ 

We hope you now understand why leveraging technology to monitor soil moisture levels is essential. We offer solutions to help you address water-related challenges, partnering with AquaCheck, Halo Systems, and Metos by Pessl Instruments. 

AquaCheck Soil Moisture Probes 

Aquacheck’s soil moisture probes are filled with features that help you avoid over-watering, potential nutrient leaching and energy waste, while improving crop growth by managing your inputs. 

The high-quality and reasonably priced AquaCheck probes are compatible with a variety of end-user platforms and telemetry options. The vertically oriented probes are simple to use, have wireless access, and an additional connection for a rain gauge.  Aquacheck probes have the benefit of being simple to install and remove, which makes them ideal for seasonal cropping. 


HALO Water Management

HALO Systems use innovative software that can be adjusted to your needs, farm-wide control networks, and a user-friendly dashboard for all farm information.   

Halo systems provide a data gateway in the most practical location and connect the sensors needed to meet your requirements. It can work anywhere, at any time, and is solar or mains powered, with cellular and internet connectivity options.  

Halo has a broad range of proven applications ranging from dairy farms to factories, and they can provide specific wired and wireless solutions for any industry use. 

Vantage New Zealand_HALO_weathermonitoringpicture_1160x629c0pcenter_72dpi

METOS by Pessl Instruments

Pessl Instruments offers a wide range of hardware and software solutions for effective soil moisture and irrigation management.  

Soil moisture sensors from Pessl Instruments are designed to help users in making informed irrigation scheduling decisions, resulting in improved yield quantity and quality while lowering water, fertiliser, labour, and energy costs.    

Metos 8

By gaining data-driven insights that guide crop production, conserve resources, reduce expenses, and champion environmental sustainability, soil moisture solutions unlock new potential. That’s why understanding your soil’s moisture content is one of the keys to a sustainable and successful future in agriculture. 

To learn more about how our soil moisture solutions could benefit your farming operation, get in touch with one of our Precision Ag specialists today. 

Transforming Farm Data Management: Uniting Farmers, Suppliers, and Systems for Efficiency and Peace of Mind 

Farmer in a field holding a laptop whilst looking at data in Trimble Ag Software

In the modern era of farming, farm data management has become a daunting task. As farms rely on multiple suppliers and databases to fulfill compliance and audit demands, farmers find themselves tirelessly searching for scattered information. However, there is hope on the horizon.

Gone are the endless hours wasted on syncing data across various platforms and programs. Every minute spent grappling with disparate systems is a minute stolen away from attending to the farm or spending quality time with loved ones. Recognising this pressing issue, Vantage New Zealand has forged an alliance with industry leaders Trimble Agriculture and Precision Farming to introduce a revolutionary solution.

Trimble, connected by Precision Farming, is a remarkable single screen solution that will transform your farm and business. The software connects Trimble Ag Software and Trimble guidance solutions with Precision Farming, opening the door to connections with MyBallance and HawkEye.

How will this connection help farmers in New Zealand?

This groundbreaking connection, powered by the Trimble Ag Software API, brings a host of benefits that will revolutionise the way farmers and contractors operate and manage their farms.

  • Nitrogen Limit Management – Stay on top of nitrogen regulations by tracking your usage across multiple suppliers and proof of application against the 190 N-Cap limit.
  • Digital Farm Maps – Digitise your farm map including paddock identification, exclusion zones and farm data management blocks.
  • Proof of Application – Accurately manage and record your proof of application of self-spreading.
  • Order Management – Manage your spray and fertiliser applications through the Precision Farming portal for a simple, direct, and digitised workflows
  • Environmental Data – Link your environmental data sources to get a consolidated visual representation of selected on-farm activities.

So how does the connection work?

At the core of this connection lies the ability to seamlessly digitise Trimble vehicle guidance products and automate proof of application. With just a few clicks, farmers can harness world-leading technology to enhance their operational efficiency and eliminate manual

  1. The process begins with the placement of an electronic spreading or spraying order on the farm’s digital map using platforms like HawkEye, MyBallance, or Precision Farming.
  2. Once the order is received, it is dispatched through the Precision Farming platform and sent to TAS (Trimble Ag Software) and the Trimble display in the vehicle.
  3. Finally, proof of application is recorded and returned to the respective platforms, including Precision Farming, Trimble Ag Software, HawkEye, or MyBallance.
Precision Farming Infographic

The automation of proof of application ensures accurate and reliable documentation with minimal effort, freeing up valuable time and resources for farmers to focus on other critical tasks.

Enhanced farm data management and analysis capabilities offer a valuable tool for farmers to improve their decision-making processes. With precise data at their fingertips, they can optimise their operations, reduce costs, and improve environmental sustainability.

Turning compliance headaches into opportunities with Trimble and Precision Farming  

In addition to the benefits highlighted above, this advanced connection also presents an immense opportunity for farmers in New Zealand to revolutionise their fertiliser application plans for upcoming seasons and accurately forecast the associated costs of crop cultivation and paddock management.  

In an era where production costs and profitability are constantly under pressure, harnessing the power of Trimble Ag Software and the API connection with Precision Farming empowers farmers to make informed and timely decisions for their farms, free from the complexities of multiple farm software platforms. 

Soil nutrition and fertiliser are vital factors in soil preparation, providing essential nutrients for crops throughout the growing season. By utilising the Trimble and Precision Farming connection, farmers can now streamline and digitise their entire fertiliser application workflow. From managing orders to proof of application, this innovative solution simplifies the process and enhances efficiency, enabling farmers to optimise their operations and maximise productivity. 

The ever-evolving regulations in New Zealand underscore the importance of centralised data for compliance and reporting purposes. Farmers feel like they have a brick wall in front of them. The connection enables farmers to consolidate their data sources, ensuring easy access and accurate record-keeping. This integrated system facilitates compliance, reduces errors, and simplifies reporting procedures in a visual way, eliminating the time wasted searching through multiple systems for data.  

The connection between Trimble Agriculture and Precision Farming is more than just a software integration—it is a catalyst for transformative change in the farming industry, revolutionising traditional agricultural practices giving farmers more time back for doing what they are best at – feeding New Zealand and the world. 

Discover how you can leverage the software you may already have and Trimble, connected by Precision Farming to enhance your farm or operations. Visit our Precision Farming page for more information. 

GFX-1060 and GFX-1260: The Latest In-Cab Display Technology

As New Zealand’s agricultural sector faces multiple challenges, from environmental regulations to labour shortages and extreme weather events, it is crucial to prioritise the adoption of new technologies that can help maintain productivity and efficiency on Kiwi farms.

Vantage NZ recognises the importance of investing in cutting-edge technology to support farmers in meeting these challenges head-on. By embracing the latest advancements in precision agriculture, the industry can mitigate some of the challenges it is facing and secure a sustainable future for New Zealand farming.

Trimble Agriculture’s GFX-1060 and GFX-1260 displays have recently been launched in New Zealand. These displays are built with simplicity, reliability, flexibility, and scalability in mind, offering farmers and agriculture businesses the opportunity to maximise efficiency and return on investment.

The GFX-1260 display is the latest flagship display from Trimble Agriculture, with a 12-inch (30.5 cm) Android-based interface that allows for complete control and execution of all in-field work through the Precision-IQ field application interface.

The GFX-1060 display offers a slightly smaller 10-inch (25.6 cm) Android-based screen that is also equipped with the Precision-IQ interface, making it a great option for controlling and executing in-field work.

How can a new display help me?

  1. Precision Agriculture: These displays offer GPS guidance and auto-steering, which allows farmers to plant crops and apply inputs with greater accuracy. This can help reduce waste, increase yields, and improve profitability.
  2. Data Management: The displays allow farmers to collect and analyse data about their fields and crops, such as yield maps, topography, fuel usage and more. This information can be used to make more informed decisions about planting, fertilising, and harvesting.
  3. Connectivity: The displays can be integrated with other precision agriculture technologies, such as sensors and variable rate controllers. This can help farmers automate tasks and improve efficiency.
  4. Compliance: The displays can help farmers comply with environmental regulations and standards, such as those related to water quality and nutrient management.
  5. Ease of use: The displays have a user-friendly interface and can be customised to suit the farmer’s specific needs. This makes it easier for farmers to navigate the system and access the information they need.

One of the key advantages of these displays is their ease of use. With a short learning curve, even newer operators can quickly and reliably manage a wide range of operational tasks. Additionally, these displays are highly compatible and transferable between multiple vehicles, making them an ideal choice for farmers who need to share equipment between different operations.

Effortlessly sharing data across the operation is also made possible with these displays, making it easy to track progress and provide proof of placement from field to office. And with modular technology designed to grow as needs change, these displays are equipped to handle future functionality as it becomes available.

Vantage NZ customer Robert Crafer from Precision Slurry in Reporoa has recently upgraded to the GFX-1060 display with a NAV 900 receiver, Centrepoint RTX accuracy and CAN steering in a new Claas Xerion 4200.

The Trimble 1060 display has impressed Robert with its user-friendly interface and seamless connectivity to a wide range of implements, such as his 27000-litre slurry tank. Not only does it offer great visual clarity, but it also provides audible notifications for any operational issues that require attention.

The display has proved invaluable in recording the precise placement of effluent, simplifying operations for other drivers, and ensuring accuracy. With the added option of automatically controlling sections, the Trimble 1060 display is set to further increase efficiency and accuracy for Robert and his team.

Special Offer

We are proud to bring the latest displays to the marketplace to ensure NZ farmers can upgrade to the latest technology at affordable rates. They are currently offering up to $8000 off the new Display Bundle (GFX-1060 or GFX-1260 with NAV-900 and Centrepoint RTX) when you trade in selected Trimble and non-Trimble equipment before 15 September 2023. *

Coupled with finance options available until 30 June with interest rates as low as 0% over 12 months*, purchasing the technology your farm needs now, while conserving your working capital with fixed loan repayments to suit your cash flow has never been so easy.

Visit our promos page for more information on the special offers above. 

*Terms and conditions apply. 

Trimble Agriculture, Precision Farming & Vantage NZ Join Forces to Revolutionise Farming Practices in New Zealand 

The new Trimble Agriculture and Precision Farming connection streamlines fertiliser and spray application for easier reporting, compliance and decision making.

Vantage New Zealand and Precision Farming, leading providers of smart agricultural technology, have launched at Fieldays a ground-breaking connection with Trimble Agriculture, a global leader in advanced positioning solutions, aimed at transforming farming practices for Kiwi farmers. 

The connection between Trimble Agriculture’s vehicle guidance products (via Trimble Ag Software’s API) and Precision Farming’s software platform, introduces a seamless connection revolutionising the way farmers and rural contractors digitise and automate fertiliser and spray application processes, inventory management, and record keeping.

This ground-breaking partnership is brought to farmers by Vantage New Zealand, which is the exclusive distributor of Trimble Agriculture products in New Zealand. Vantage NZ aims to empower farmers across the country by providing them with cutting-edge technology and expert knowledge to optimise their agricultural operations. 

Vantage NZ Co-founder Jemma Mulvihill says the collaboration supports the company’s goal of transforming farming practices across the country and providing farmers with enhanced options and greater efficiency.  

“We take immense pride in revolutionising the agricultural landscape in New Zealand. Harnessing the power of Trimble Agriculture solutions through the Trimble Ag Software API. This partnership will help farmers and contractors streamline their workflow, improve reporting accuracy, and maximise the use of both new and existing Trimble Agriculture equipment. 

“With Trimble Ag Software now connected by Precision Farming, farmers and contractors can leverage world-leading technology and enhance operational efficiency. Manual steps will be eliminated, and proof of application will be automated. The result will be more accurate and reliable application records for compliance reporting and decision making with minimal effort.” 

Farmers utilising Trimble Agriculture’s vehicle guidance products will now have the advantage of digital reporting for self-spreading, gaining real-time insights; and contractors will be able to digitise their workflow and gain a work-in-progress view for fleet management. With enhanced data management and analysis capabilities, farmers can make more informed decisions and optimise their spreading and spraying practices, ultimately improving productivity and reducing costs. 

“With a focus on simplicity, efficiency, and connectivity, this software integration between Trimble Ag Software and Precision Farming paves the way for a new era of farming in New Zealand,” says Jemma Mulvihill.  

“It will empower farmers to save time, reduce costs, and improve environmental sustainability.” 

Precision Farming’s Chief Operating Officer, Chloe Walker, says its partnership with Trimble Ag Software builds on the company’s efforts to help farmers easily manage their environmental data using smart technology and common sense. 

“Farming today relies heavily on data and there is an app or online platform for just about everything. It can be confusing and time-consuming. 

“Precision Farming’s world-class technology simplifies things by enabling different systems to work together and talk to each other. This means data from Trimble Agriculture enabled vehicles can now be automatically transferred to farmers’ Hawkeye or My Ballance accounts or spread/spray diary within Precision Farming. 

“Trimble Agriculture’s integration with Precision Farming will give farmers peace of mind knowing exactly what has been spread where and when. It also gives contractors a wider range of vehicle guidance technologies to choose from. 

“It will also improve the accuracy of variable rate spreading. This can help farmers apply their fertiliser in a way that keeps costs down, looks after the environment better and keep on top of their nitrogen application compliance.” 

For more information about Vantage NZ and Precision Farming, please visit their websites at and  


Level-up your positioning with Trimble and Vantage NZ

Precision agriculture has been revolutionising farming practices by improving crop yields and reducing costs in Aotearoa. One of the key components of precision agriculture is accurate positioning data. This enables farmers to optimise planting, fertilising, and harvesting and having the right gear makes a world of difference.

The Sierra RV55 modem, coupled with a 12-month subscription to Trimble VRS Now™ correction services, provides a powerful and reliable solution for farmers who need to stay connected and improve the accuracy of their positioning data.

The bundle provides:

  1. Improved accuracy: Get 2.5cm accuracy anywhere, anytime.
  2. Increased productivity: ensuring equipment operates at maximum efficiency, reducing time spent on tasks, and increasing overall productivity.
  3. Reduced costs: By having accurate positioning data, farmers can apply inputs only where needed, reducing waste and costs.
  4. Reliable connectivity: Switch smoothly between cellular and satellite corrections. The Sierra RV55 modem is designed to work in harsh environments and provides reliable connectivity. This ensures farmers stay connected to their equipment and data in the field.
  5. Easy to use: The Sierra RV55 modem comes with a simple look and feel that allows farmers to configure the device and monitor connectivity and data usage. This makes it easy to install and use, even for those who are not tech savvy.

One of the key features of the Sierra RV55 modem is its support for Trimble VRS Now™ correction services. Trimble VRS Now™ with the premium XFill backup correction source is a subscription-based service that provides real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections to improve GNSS positioning data accuracy.

A 12-month subscription to Trimble VRS Now™ correction services provides accurate and reliable positioning data even in challenging environments. With accurate positioning data, farmers can ensure that their equipment operates at maximum efficiency, reducing waste, increasing productivity and providing proof of placement.

Remote technical support and in-cab Wi-Fi are also included providing a seamless connection between the field and the office (GFX Displays only).

Special Offer

Get 25% off when you trade-in your RTK radio for Trimble’s VRSNow correction service and the Sierra Wireless RV55 Modem before 30 June 2023. Plus, get a FREE 1-year Trimble Ag Software Farmer Core subscription and Display Connection (installation is additional). T&C’s apply.

Visit our Promotions page for more information or talk to our friendly team today about how this can help you to level up your farming.

Fine-Tuning Farming: Variable Rate Lime & PNM

Spreader for PNM & Variable Rate Lime

While New Zealand has a diverse range of soil types, only around 5% are fertile and versatile enough to support food production without significant manipulation. Variable rate lime and precision nutrient management are two important strategies in modern agriculture that can help farmers improve crop yields and reduce environmental impact. 

This approach is particularly important in today’s global economy, where farmers are under pressure to produce more food with fewer resources. By using these techniques, farmers can produce more food with fewer inputs, which is not only good for the environment, but also for the farmers’ bottom line. 

It is possible to have too much of a good thing.  

Accidification of soil occurs naturally, but can also be accelerated by fertilisation practices that decrease soil pH. Plants don’t tend to grow very well if the pH in your soil isn’t quite right. If you read last month’s edition you would have learnt about Yield Mapping and how you can use it to identify the high and low yield areas of your farm. So, how do you fix the low yield areas?  

This is where Variable Rate Lime comes in to play. We are sure you are all aware that Lime affects your PH. Variable rate lime is a technique that involves applying lime to paddocks at different rates based on soil test results. Lime is a valuable amendment for many soils, as it raises the pH and makes other nutrients more available to plants.  

If you have an acidic low pH soil you can add lime to raise pH levels, but lime is a very challenging material to spread due to its fine and non-uniform particle size. Applying too much can also waste product and damage the environment. Lime applied at a variable rate aims to reduce the variability of soil pH levels across the paddock by applying only what’s needed.  

So how do you figure out how much lime is required and where?  

Enter an important tool in your precision ag toolkit – Precision Nutrient Management.  

Precision Nutrient Management allows you to apply the right amount of nutrients only to the area that requires it, as determined by soil sampling. This process gives you a greater understanding of nutrient levels across your farm and the ability to correct any issues. 

Not all soil is the same. Your nutrients could be affected by the area you live in, your soil type, or you could have years of nutrient build-up in your soil from previous farming practices. Soil testing gives you an accurate map of nutrient levels within your paddock. Thanks to GPS technology, the data is accurate and the process is repeatable from the same points in the future. 

Using the soil test results, you can then use variable rate fertiliser allowing you to use fertilisers more efficiently and reduce the soils variability across a paddock. Through this method, both yields and environmental sustainability can be improved, while saving money on nutrients. 

So how does it work?  

We will take samples of soil from across your paddocks to determine their nutrient levels. We then work directly with the farmer or your preferred nutrient advisor team to ensure you are applying the right nutrients in the right places at the right time.  

Short term financial pain for long term gain. No two farms are alike, so until testing is done, you can’t tell what your nutrient levels are and what rates of fertiliser you need to apply to get your nutrient levels at optimum levels for plant growth. After performing tens of thousands of hectares of PNM across NZ, the general rule is that you will have to apply less lime in the first year (because the amount is already too high in most areas) and this will cover the soil sampling costs, with any additional nutrient (P, K etc.) savings being the cherry on top. 

If you don’t overapply or underapply nutrients, your range of nutrients will decrease year after year, and it is during this adjustment period (depending on how often you sample soil and apply lime and fertiliser) that you will achieve the greatest savings. Not only will you save money on fertiliser, but you will also enjoy increased plant growth and health as a result of reducing nutrient limitations. 

Trimble Ag Software and PNM

Using Trimble displays and Trimble Ag Software provides significant advantages in precision nutrient management. The integrated suite of tools and technologies offered by Trimble enables farmers to optimise the application of fertilisers with unmatched accuracy, enhancing crop yields and minimising environmental impact. The software’s advanced algorithms and real-time monitoring capabilities allow for precise variable-rate application, ensuring that nutrients are distributed precisely where and when they are needed most.

With Trimble Displays, Trimble Ag Software, AutoSync & Field_IQ, farmers can streamline their nutrient management workflows and record-keeping, reducing unnecessary paperwork and giving them more time back for doing what they’re best at – feeding NZ and the world.

Ready to take the guesswork out of farm nutrient management and stop blanket rate application? Talk to us today about precision nutrient management.  

Find out more at