luda.farm: picture of MachineCam screen in the tractor cockpit - bailing

Benefits of wireless machine cameras on the farm

Using cameras on the farm

Farmers have always been pioneers in technology, and in later years we have seen more mobile technology being adapted for use on the farm. Wireless cameras are a good example of this, and more and more farmers use cameras in their daily work.

There are two main types of cameras in common use today:

  • Fixed cameras help with security around the farm and allow you to monitor your animals and other important areas. They are a great tool during the hectic days when you need to be many places at once.
  • Mobile cameras are cameras that you place on your machines or implements. They help you see around bulky machines and are a great help in all tasks that involve heavy machinery.

Machine cameras have been growing in use in later years. There are many benefits of putting cameras on your large machinery. A machine camera can…

  •  improve safety. See what goes on behind your bulky machines, and operate any machine in greater comfort.
  • save you time. You can work with greater speed and precision with a camera that allows you to see around, behind, and above the bulk of your large machines.
  • save you money. With fewer stops and fewer trips, you save diesel. And when you can see critical parts of your machinery, you reduce losses.

A machine camera follows you through the seasons.

Even small savings in both time or money add up over the farm year. By the time you close your books, you will be surprised how significant all those small savings can be.

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  • Spring – Put a camera on your grain drill so that you can monitor both the levels in your seed tanks and ensure that planting is even, without craning your neck.
  • Summer – With a camera on your silage bailer you will spot any issue and correct it before it becomes a problem and you lose a bale. With a camera on your running forager you can easily monitor that your silage trailers are getting filled efficiently.
  • Fall – Harvest is a hectic time. Putting a camera on your combine augur and a screen in the trailer tractor allows the combine operator to focus on harvesting even rows while the tractor operator positions the trailer to achieve maximum fill.
  • Winter – Placing a camera on your forklift attachment is a great help when loading pallets. It makes moving goods around your warehouse a breeze.

 “We bought a machine camera primarily for reversing, and that’s how we thought about it for the first few weeks. It was a tool for a single purpose for us. But then we started seeing other uses for it. We moved it when we started taking in ensilage, then again for harvest. It didn’t take us long to completely revise our view of our machine camera. It is a multi-tool, and the only real limitation is our own imagination. Reading online has given us a lot of new ideas there.”

 

machineCam camera with flexipack

The benefits of a battery-powered wireless machine camera

The difference between a wireless camera and a wired camera is much the same as between a mobile phone and a landline phone. Installing a wired camera requires you to make long-term decisions about where you will most need the camera. It also requires a few hours to mount the camera and do the wiring. You might move that camera once, but after a while it will stay where you put it last. It will become a solution to just a single problem.

With a battery-powered wireless camera you get a mobile camera, and you don’t have to make permanent decisions about placement, and installing a good wireless camera takes a couple of minutes rather than a couple of hours. Just put the camera where you need it right now. If you switch machines or task, just take the camera with you. If you get a better idea about where to place your camera, moving it around is no more difficult than moving your mobile phone from the kitchen to the bedroom.

If you have several operators on your farm you can give each operator a self-powered camera system rather than put a fixed camera on each machine. They will move their cameras around as they go through a workday.

Modern cameras VS older models

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Technology moves fast, and wireless cameras have come a long way in recent years. Early models suffered from video delays and poor video quality. It was hard to use a camera for reversing if the images come with a 10 second delay.

But those problems have all been solved in modern wireless cameras. Video transmission is instantaneous, and new wireless cameras are easy to use and plug and play. That’s important, because if a camera is difficult to use, you’re probably not going to use it as much. Ask your local dealership about recent models, and make sure you pick a camera that has a reputation for reliability.

“I’ve used machine cameras before. Usually they have been installed at the dealership. Looking back at those earlier cameras I can say we never really used them. With a fixed camera you are limited to a single machine and a single camera location. That’s just not how we work on our farm. But now, with a mobile camera system, it’s a whole different situation. We have one camera for all our machines and we move it around as we work.”