17 June 2015
It’s been 12 months since Josh Calder of Rural Air Work invested in the TracMap GPS Display Unit and, critically, the cloud-based TracMap Online system.
Josh has been flying for 12 years and always had the aim of owning and operating his own aircraft – a goal he fulfilled a year ago. Today, with wife Suzie keeping the business running smoothly from the office, Josh and the company’s Cresco, service farmers across the greater Hawke’s Bay and Tararua areas.
Why the investment in TracMap? “We’ve got a lot of money tied up in gear and technology – and our clients have a lot of money tied up in their farms,” says Josh. “We’re all trying to be more efficient.”
He says the fact TracMap is New Zealand based and provides exceptional customer support is the feature he most values. “You’re dealing with New Zealand people, who are there to support you. We would have got there on our own – eventually – but it’s great with the team there to help you along. We pay an annual subscription and we have all these people ‘working for us’ – updating and proving the technology, as well as being available on the end of the phone.”
Investing in TracMap Online – the system for mapping, proof of placement and reporting – has been the icing on the cake for Rural Air Work. “It’s something that’s been talked about for years, and here it is. All the information is on the screen – the areas are there, the rate is calculated and hazards are highlighted. It means you can be that much more accurate in your application.”
Josh says farmers are appreciating the stream-lined approach and about half the company’s clients have taken the opportunity to go online and map areas themselves, recognising the value it adds in terms of placement accuracy.
TracMap’s systems are compatible with the Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients fertiliser ordering systems. The fert company rep and farmer can highlight the area to be fertilised on the map, then nominate the product and rate, before sending it to “the cloud”. The information is fed straight through to TracMap Online, so it is available on screen when Josh gets into the plane. As the job is completed, that too is recorded in the cloud – before the plane has even landed.
As to the future, Josh expects the next technology advancements to be around variable-rate application. He has already completed variable-rate jobs and says the TracMap system makes it as straightforward as a conventional application.