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

Soil Testing in Mid Canterbury – Pye Group Case Study

Pye Group is an agricultural company owned by Leighton and Michelle Pye, operating 11 dairy farms and over 4,800 hectares of land across Temuka, Rangitata, Hinds, Rakaia, and Fairlie.

Their primary activities include dairy grazing for their own cows, substantial cropping (grains, wheat, barley, milling wheat, specialty grasses, and vegetables), and supplying turf grass to the US for golf courses. They also supply 25,000 tonnes of carrots and 15,000–18,000 tonnes of potatoes to McCains annually.

Working with Vantage NZ since 2012, the company has invested in soil testing, moisture probes, EM soil surveying, and yield mapping. This has helped them better understand soil quality and exactly what nutrients each piece of their land needs.

One of the biggest challenges for Pye Group is ensuring a balanced nutrient supply for optimal growth on their cropping farms and being able to provide proof of placement. Prior to working with Vantage, the group used blanket application of fertiliser, applying a standardised amount across the whole farm. 

The solution:

With Precision Nutrient Management, they are now able to apply variable rates of products such as Lime, Potassium Chloride, Superphosphate and Magnesium Oxide based on maps that outline the exact quantity each part of the paddock needs. They have found that in some paddocks, three quarters will receive no nutrients, and one corner will need four different rates. If they had blanket applied, they would have overloaded the majority of the soil.


This approach has significantly increased their yield and allowed Pye Group to optimise fertiliser use and reduce waste.  The precision approach to fertilising has had numerous benefits for the Pye Group, including cost savings on transportation, time, effort, labour, fuel, and equipment wear and tear. Additionally, having guidance on equipment has resulted in savings of up to 10% on overlap. This translates into close to $50,000 in savings per percent of overlap in nutrients.

Soil testing has also been used on their dairy farms to ensure that there is no nutrient overload at the front of the paddock where the gate is located. The cows always return to the dairy shed through the gate, transferring all the concentrated nutrients from the back of the paddock to the front in their manure and urine. With this information, The Pye Group has implemented exclusion zones in the first 10% of the paddock, as nutrients are not required there.

Tony Gould, Operations and Transport Manager, has been implementing PNM strategies with the help of Vantage NZ and Ravensdown and has invested a lot of time and effort into data capture and quality.

“You can’t argue with data and can make long-term, data-driven plans that relate to real information; it’s not estimated. People either overestimate or underestimate, but when you have the data, you can actually see what you have done and what the result has been. Unless you get soil testing done and use variable rate application, you just can’t make targeted decisions,” said Tony.

Precision Agriculture Data on the computer at Pye Group

Precision agriculture has been a game-changer for the Pye Group, and they believe that it is a solution that can be implemented on any scale. You just need to start. 

To find out how precision ag could help you to reduce costs and maximise profits, contact Vantage NZ on 0800 482 682 or

Pinpoint exactly why your yield was different this year! 

Your farm’s hardware and software systems capture some extremely valuable data points about your paddocks during harvest. Do you know how to extract value from that data to turn it into informed decisions for next season? That’s where yield mapping comes in. 

Your yield data is the final measure of your season’s work. By turning that data into yield maps, you gain a good picture of where your yield is coming from and the profitability of each piece of your land. This allows you to make data-informed decisions about how to manage your farm.  

Yield mapping has been around since the 1990s, when GPS data was first coupled with different sensors on the harvester to be able to measure and map parameters such as crop yield, moisture, speed, elevation, and much more. Most headers and combine harvesters are already recording this data, so why not use it? 

It all takes quality data. 

Precision agriculture technologies are available to help you figure out why a field produced a high or low yield and what you can do differently next season. Is it your soil moisture? Are you lacking a vital nutrient? Is your nutrient load too high in some areas? You can’t just guess this stuff; it takes quality data.  

To make the most of your yield maps, we suggest an EM Soil Survey which will give you priceless information on the variable soil properties across your land. Knowing your soil properties, such as texture, salinity, and cation exchange capacity, will help you plan how to best use and manage each piece of your land. This only needs to be done once and continues to provide value for years to come. 

We also recommend Precision Nutrient Management (PNM), which allows you to apply the right amount of nutrients only to the area that requires them, as determined by more intensive soil sampling.  

Once you’ve got these in place, you can use your yield maps to look back at your high and low spots of yield. By comparing nutrient levels and soil types, you are able to work out exactly what may be lacking and what you need to change heading into the next year. 

So, you have the data; what next? 

Even if we capture the data correctly (which we encourage you to do—good data is key!), there’s so much to look at that it’s difficult to know where to start and exactly what to pull out of it. When you create yield maps with Vantage NZ, one of our reps will work with you to make sure you have all the right data and strategies in place, before creating the yield maps for you and showing you how to use them. They’ll work with you to figure out the reasons for variation in yield across your farm. 

Using yield mapping, we can dig right into your data to determine why your crop performed the way it did and design a strategy for land preparation and the planting season. It’s all well and good to record the data, but now is the time to use it! 

We use your data to produce profit maps and nutrient off-take maps from within each field. We can analyse how different field management strategies affect yield, apply fertiliser more accurately according to the nutrients removed, create prescription maps for variable rate application, budget your seed, and have improved decision-making and budgeting for future years. 

With the systems you already have in place, you can already go back and view your data, but you can’t compare it to the data you have from EM Soil Surveys and PNM. Our team at Vantage can download your data either through Trimble Ag Software or into our own software programmes to clean it up and edit it, then turn your raw data into zone maps to visually see what is happening across your paddocks. These maps can then be overlayed against your soil type (EM) pH and nutrient maps (PNM) where we can start to figure out what might be the cause for areas of low and/or high Production? 

Yield mapping is not an overnight process. 

Many of our customers find themselves caught up in the myriad of tasks there are to do on-farm and don’t find the time to plan things out. All of a sudden, another season has come and gone, business as usual! We’re too busy doing the work out in the field to get all the tech and planning sorted ahead of time. 

Data is gold, and the truth is, the better your data, the more value you have to gain from it. Developing high-quality data takes years, so the sooner you start, the sooner you can extract value, improve efficiency, and increase profits. Having years of data is invaluable, as you can see year after year what has worked and what needs changing. 

In the long-term, you can work toward evening out the yield capability across your paddock by applying nutrients exactly where they’re needed and increase yield in low-performing areas or plant according to soil types for better ROI. 

Need help making sense of your data and turning it into data-driven insights for next season? Talk to our friendly team at Vantage NZ. We have Precision Ag Specialists around the country that can take your data and turn it into valuable insights.

Find out more at

The latest Trimble Displays are here

The GFX-1060 and GFX-1260 have landed in New Zealand and are now in stock. Maximise your efficiency and ROI with these easy-to-use displays, offering:

 Simplicity – easy to install, use, and transfer between vehicles
– Reliability – rugged construction to stand the test of time
– Flexibility – high compatibility to work with your existing equipment
– Scalability – the technology can easily adapt as your business changes and grows

With faster processing, greater memory and more storage capacity, these robust displays make handling even the most complex farm operations easy.

The GFX-1260™ display is Trimble Agriculture’s newest flagship 12-inch (30.5 cm) Android-based display, the ideal choice for controlling and executing all in-field work through the Precision-IQ™ field application interface.

The GFX-1060™ display is Trimble Agriculture’s latest 10-inch (25.6 cm) Android-based display, a great option for controlling and executing all in-field work, also equipped with the Precision-IQ™ interface.

Compare their specifications using the table below.

GFX-1060 Display
GFX-1260 Display
10 inch (12 cm) high-definition, color touchscreen display
12 inch (30.5 cm) high-definition, color touchscreen display
Android-based operating system
Android-based operating system
Precision-IQ firmware
Precision-IQ firmware
32 GB storage, 4 GB RAM
32 GB storage, 4 GB RAM
Optional ISOBUS task controller and universal terminal
Optional ISOBUS task controller and universal terminal
Control up to 4 input channels and 48 sections
Control up to 6 input channels and 48 sections
Connection for two USBs, 1 BRR port, 3 CAN ports and support for 2 external cameras, plus Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi connectivity
Connection for two USBs, 1 BRR port, 3 CAN ports and support for 2 external cameras, plus Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi connectivity

Customer story

Hear what a Trimble customer has to say about working with the new GFX displays.

Find out more or download datasheets at