A major South Island transport company has invested in TracMap GPS guidance and online data management units for its large fleet of fertiliser spreading trucks because of their ability to communicate with a wide range of service providers’ systems.

Methven-based Philip Wareing Ltd is a rural transport company that provides cartage, freight and spreading services. It has also purchased two other heartland transport services – Rural Transport Ltd and Wilson Bulk Transport.

This gives the Philip Wareing group an extensive network of depots that stretches from North Otago to Mid Canterbury and a fleet of 24 spreading trucks and several large spraying units. Many of the spreaders are advanced machines with central tyre inflation, dynamic weighing systems and/or the ability to do variable rate applications.

The group’s clients are arable, dairy and sheep and beef farmers and they include a number of high country stations up the Rakaia and Ashburton gorges along with Fairlie, Hakataramea and Kurow.

Sales manager Mark Wareing says last year the company decided to upgrade its guidance and data management systems. They opted for TracMap because of its integration with different systems.

“We have to share data with a number of different providers – Ravensdown’s HawkEye, MyBallance, Farm IQ, and AgHub, for example. Our spreading trucks already have different screen for Eroad and an in-cab tablet for health and safety systems along with drive cams.

“We were looking at the possibility of adding more screens with different systems to handle all the data we use, but with TracMap we can do everything. It is cross-compatible with all the other companies’ systems we work with, which makes life easier for us and gives our farmer clients ready access to all their data.

“With TracMap we can do proof of placement, job allocation and guidance all with the one system, and it stores the data online so that we or our clients can get access to it whenever we need it.”

Philip Wareing Ltd operations manager Gary Sheridan says the company’s approach is that any information gathered from their properties belongs to farmers. They pay for it to be collected and they should have ready access to it.

“Some farmers do not want the data that we collect when we do a job for them. With TracMap we can gather that data and store it in the Cloud whether they want it or not.

“Pressure is coming on from the environmental side. Let’s say in three years the regional council decides to carry out an audit on a farm. Even if the farmer has not saved their data themselves, TracMap can provide it to them,” Gary says.

The TracMap system gives Wareing spreaders the ability to do variable rate spreading off prescription maps.

They can apply different rates based on the prescription map, which can be sent directly to the truck by the job allocation system. The application rates change automatically whenever the spreader passes from one zone to another on the map.

The flexibility of TracMap’s job allocation system is another attraction. Not only can Philip Wareing Ltd assign jobs to its drivers through the online system, farmers and service providers such as Ravensdown and Ballance can also be given access to place orders through the TracMap portal.

“Our drivers used to use physical maps to get to the farm and find the right paddock. With the TracMap system the paddock that has been assigned will light up on the screen so drivers definitely know they are in the right place.

“If a spreader has our variable rate system, it will not allow them to spread at all if they are in the wrong paddock. It interprets that location as a zero rate application zone, so it won’t apply anything,” Gary says.

The job allocation system also allows multiple spreaders access to the same job. This means if one truck only has the capacity to complete part of a job, another truck can come in and finish the task exactly from where the previous truck stopped.

Another function that the TracMap system provides Philip Wareing Ltd and its clients is the ability to establish exclusion zones. If a farmer has an area of native bush or a wetland where they don’t want any fertiliser applied, then they or Philip Wareing Ltd can go onto the map and designate it as an exclusion zone so the drivers will avoid it.

Article first published in Rural Contractor & Large Scale Farmer, April/May 2019