Solar Activity Knocks Out GPS

May 13, 2024
Farmers in the Midwest were idled by inaccurate machine control.

Farmers were idled this past weekend as solar activity rendered the GPS guidance on their tractors inoperable.

According to John Deere dealer LandMark Implement, servicing Kansas and Nebraska, the geomagnetic storm rendered some of its precision controls inaccurate and inconsistent. In a Saturday morning advisory to its customers, the dealership advised farmers to turn off their RTK and said accuracy of its StarFire receivers SF2 and SF3 was “extremely compromised.”

According to news reports, including this analysis by 404Media, the outage affected farmers during a peak planting period in effect idling tractors as they were trying to take advantage to a key planting date. According to news reports, May 15 looms as the date by which corn needs to be planted in the Midwest corn belt.

According to the 404Media report, other farmers were reporting similar issues with Topcon software.

About the Author

Rod Sutton

I have served as the editorial lead of Construction Equipment magazine and since 2001. 

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