The highlight of the Raven Technology Summit in Sioux Falls, S.D., this week was the introduction of several new products, led by the Viper 4. It's the latest generation of Raven's field computer.
Vice-president Matt Burkhart told dealers, farmers, suppliers and the media that this new platform accomplishes three things people said they wanted. It's simple, with fewer steps to set it up and use; it's powerful because it can do everything previous models did and more; and it's connected. Using other technology, you can move data seamlessly from the field to the office and back.
Burkhart believes the next breakthrough in precision farming will be what he calls analytics, or using the data collected to make decisions. It was the goal when the term precision farming was coined more than 20 years ago, and people like the Raven leader believe the industry is on the verge of delivering it to farmers and their dealers.
Lines of dealers crowded around a bank of Viper displays during a trade show following the introduction to get their hands on the brand new system. It's a simple screen, touch pad all the way, that displays everything you need to know.
What's going to make the future work, Burkhart says, is collecting good data in the field and getting it to the places and people where decisions can be made. Working with various partners, including SST Software, he believes they are getting closer to delivering on that promise. He touts Viper 4 as a major step forward.
Other products introduced will be highlighted in the future. One especially intriguing new technology is a system that will change hybrids on-the-go while planting, and coupled with existing Raven technology, also change rates of those hybrids. The technology was developed with the help of South Dakota State University, and is in line with the increasing demand for such a system.