New Connections

AFS Connect Magnum gives remote managers an interactive view of farming functions.

Model Year 2020 Case IH AFS Connect Magnum, Image supplied by Case IH

Case IH says its new model year 2020 AFS Connect Magnum series tractor represents the manufacturer’s largest technology launch in 10 years. The AFS Connect Magnum is a high-powered tractor, purpose-built for digital interactivity.

The Connect Magnum is a tractor and a field-management solution incorporating the full integration of technology and iron, Case IH says. Connect Magnum was revealed last month at the National Farm Machinery Show, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Laid over Magnum’s 32,000 pounds of iron--the largest Magnum tractor is powered by a turbocharged, 8.7-liter, 380-hp plant--is Case’s Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) portal. AFS connects in real time a remote manager to the functions of the tractor and the tractor operator.

At the discretion of the farm manager, Magnum’s performance also can be viewed by Case’s diagnostics and repair services (including AFS Firmware Over-the-Air updates). Fault codes are interpreted by actual word descriptions on drop-down screens. Fault codes can be tracked by severity and number of occurrences (how many times did the operator try to drive through the parking brake today?).

The AFS Connect Magnum wirelessly sends and receives farm, fleet and agronomic data. From any Internet-connected computer or tablet, managers can use AFS Connect as a gateway to track field operations and fleet performance, or push data (yield maps and guidance lines) to a connected machine, such as the AFS Connect Magnum. Managers can direct data to their farm-based management systems and to third-party advisers and service providers. Case has steadily added to its list of third-party cooperators. Some include the My Farm Manager platform from Decisive Farming, Encirca services from DuPont Pioneer, AgStudio software from MapShots, Onsite technologies from AgIntegrated, GROWMARK and AgDNA.

Manager permission is a key gatekeeping function in the system. Managers share data only with the advisers and services of their choice.

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SINGLE PACKAGE

For a tractor line first launched in 1987 during the early days of the digital revolution, the Magnum series is proving to be a robust and updatable workforce multiplier. Case IH says the AFS Connect Magnum offers “integrated technology and proven horsepower in a single package.” It is iron with precision technology and connectivity.

The Connect Magnum gives the owner-manager the ability to be somewhere else besides the tractor cab, to manage other functions of the farm or even attend family events while field operations progress.

AFS Connect Remote Display Viewing allows managers to see what operators see on Magnum’s new Android-based AFS Pro 1200 management system (with a 12-inch antiglare screen). The AFS Pro 1200 has user interface functions similar to Case’s AFS Pro 700. The navigation function has been refined. The system automatically retains settings from smart implements.

“You don’t have to be in the cab to see exactly what the operator is seeing,” says a Case IH product release. Managers remotely monitor location and tractor functions such as fuel and DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) levels, engine speed, oil, coolant and hydraulic oil temperature.

Managers also may monitor critical parameters they establish. For example, a manager wants to limit planter speed to 6 mph. When that speed is exceeded over a certain length of time or over a number of times, a notification appears on the manager’s cell phone. Then, there are options to have an in-field, that day (or that hour) discussion with the operator. Similar parameters can be set up for fuel or DEF levels--that at some level, those reserves are topped off by a fuel tender previously directed to an advantageous location.

DATA ACTIONS

Case is convinced farmer-managers are eager, too, to find actionable uses for the data their equipment generates.

“It’s been like watching a [growing] wave in the ocean,” says Leo Bose, Case IH AFS marketing manager. “Two, three, four and five years ago, we begin to see this craving for data. They wanted to see where machines are in the field. Now, they want to look at yield data, as-planted data, as-harvested data and now make correlations with those and with inputs.”

Managers see competitive advantages in understanding their data, Bose believes. Data has come to drive profitability. Data allows managers to carve out better control input costs, find higher margins in harvest results and better match labor and hours to farm functions. “How do we look at productivity out of a unit?” Bose asks. “If I have three or four combines out in the field, I know I have three or four operators with different skill levels. AFS Connect looks at that to provide a deeper level of information.”

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