Achieving reliable and consistent communications across large agricultural estates can be quite a challenge for the farming sector. But it is essential that farm managers can communicate instantly with arable and livestock teams out in the fields, so they can direct workers and keep up to date with progress. They also need to talk to those working in packing houses, livestock sheds, veterinary treatment areas and crop storage facilities.
Operational Worker Efficiency
Communications between farm workers and vehicles are also essential to enable tasks to be carried out efficiently and at the right time to help ensure no one makes a costly mistake. This is particularly true of arable crops, which need to be harvested on dry days, but where finding a window in the weather can be tricky.
When a dry weather window occurs, farm workers and harvesting machinery need to be quickly organised and coordinated for long days in the fields - and nights too if they are in a race against heavy dew or incoming bad weather. Much the same applies to dealing with livestock movements, delivering fodder at the right time and administering veterinary care to animals out in the pastures.
Good communications are therefore key to maximising efficiency, enhancing productivity, avoiding wastage and cutting downtime. To achieve this the agriculture industry requires a reliable, cost-effective and powerful communications solution capable of delivering a consistent wide area service across the whole estate.
Two-way radios offer better security, greater range, and dramatically better quality than the alternatives. Mobile phone coverage can be patchy in rural areas making it difficult to get hold of people when you need to - and you can only call one person at a time. CB radios in vehicles are unsecured, often busy and very noisy, which can lead to constant miscommunications. Vehicles can end up in the wrong place, so tasks get delayed or are carried out incorrectly.
Radios are therefore ideal for agricultural workers who need long range coverage in even the most isolated of areas to provide seamless communications between vehicles, farm workers and the farm management centre - and they provide a reliable safety lifeline if someone needs to call for help. The open radio channel lets everyone chat to each other, which can be particularly vital when coordinating a combine harvester and a chaser bin, for example.
Hytera Digital Mobile Radios (DMR) offer robust and powerful instant push-to-talk (PTT) communications. In contrast to consumer mobile phones, DMR radios are highly ruggedised to withstand the rough handling and harsh weather conditions associated with the outdoor working life of a farm.
One or more DMR repeaters will ensure consistent coverage across the whole estate. Good choices include the compact, wall-mountable Hytera RD625 or the rugged outdoor Hytera RD965 DMR repeater. These repeaters are easy to install and manage and will cover a large estate when combined with an antenna mounted on a high building like a barn or grain silo.
By using in-vehicle mobile and hand portable DMR radios, everyone on the farm can be included in the discussion. Hytera DMR radios feature noise cancelling technology for crystal clear audio even in the noisiest farm environments. The radios have a long battery life to provide at least 16-hours of talk-time, so farm workers can stay in touch when working long hours in the fields.
A popular in-vehicle solution is the Hytera MD615 digital mobile radio, which offers a robust external design that is IP54 rated. It features a handheld microphone, a visible and easily accessible orange emergency button, a powerful in-built speaker, a two digital LED display and five programmable buttons. It can also provide GPS location services and Bluetooth if required.
Popular hand portable radios include the PD665, which is a slim (just 27mm thick and weighing 310g) high quality device, rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, making it highly suitable for a rugged farm environment. It also has an emergency mode, priority interrupt and lone worker features provided as standard.
A private DMR network solution gives the farm complete control of its communications without the hassle of ongoing monthly contracts. There is no need for anyone to wait for a desk phone or mobile to be answered. Instant PTT enables simultaneous communications with multiple parties to deliver more efficient organisation, improved productivity and fewer accidents and mistakes. Whatever your communication needs are on the farm, Hytera has the answer.
17 August 2021