RACINE, Wis. — Telematics will soon be changing the way farmers produce and harvest hay, and in a good way.

"With telematics, farmers can remotely capture data from harvesters and tractors," says Kevin Shinners, Ph.D., Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"A farmer can sit at a computer and see if the harvester is moving in the field and can tell when another truck or crew is needed," says Shinners. "If we can track things like fuel use and tonnage in each field, we can really start to get a handle on costs, figure out where there are inefficiencies and determine how to overcome those problems."

The productivity benefits of this type of system are obvious, but Shinners cautions that now people need to learn how to use all of the available information. "As researchers, we need to help producers exploit that information to make management decisions."

Brett DeVries, Case IH Hay and Forage Marketing Manager, explains how new technologies will push hay productivity advancements even further. "With a bale weight system, you can monitor and control bale density, shape, weight and length, all from the cab. You can monitor the moisture content in each bale, so you know exactly what you’re putting up.

"With telematics, we’ll also be able to direct all that information to an office computer, along with real-time information about how the equipment is operating, how much fuel is being used, engine speed, etc.," he says. Starting this spring, Case IH dealers will begin retrofitting AFS Connect Manager and AFS Connect Executive packages on fleets of both Case IH and competitive equipment as part of its commercial introduction of Case IH telematics technology.

A Radio Frequency Identification bale ID tag system can also help assure hay quality, says Shinners. "A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag on a bale can store a lot of important information related to the quality of the bale," he says. "It includes which field it’s from, where in the field it was made in and the bale’s moisture content. With that information, a producer can feed the highest-moisture bales sooner and store the driest-moisture bales longer. The information can help a producer make decisions on which bales to use first and how to price them."

Farmers can see Case IH AFS Connect telematics technology, new Case IH balers, bale weight systems and RFID tags firsthand at Case IH dealers. And, they can take advantage of the great offers on the full line of Farmall, Puma and Maxxum tractors, as well as balers and windrowers, through the Case IH Field of Deals sales event that is running now through April 30, 2012.