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World's Largest Carrot Producer Picks Trimble GPS
Satellite-Guided Tractors Increase Productivity at Grimmway Farms
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 7, 2002 - Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB), announced today that Grimmway Farms, the world's largest carrot producer, has purchased six AgGPS® Autopilot systems for use with its tractors.
The tractors will be used on numerous farms - over 35,000 acres - that Grimmway Farms services in several counties of California. Grimmway Farms is using the AgGPS Autopilot systems to prepare or list crop beds, significantly increasing productivity, efficiency and quality by improving accuracy, decreasing guess rows and reducing downtime due to fog or nightfall.
Trimble's AgGPS Autopilot is a high-performance Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation control system that connects to a tractor's steering system to automatically steer it in consistently straight rows. The system's features enable drivers to ensure minimum overlap and spend more time overseeing in-field operations such as bed preparation, planting and cultivating.
Grimmway Farms started researching navigation control products about a year ago; to evaluate competitive products, they put three products through a side-by-side comparison for approximately four months. The AgGPS Autopilot system came out on top: four out of four Grimmway farm managers preferred Trimble over its competitors, citing ease-of-use and reliability as significant benefits.
"It's amazing what you can learn in 120 days of running a product hard in the field," said Robert Huckaby, who coordinated the project at Grimmway Farms. "When all four chose the Trimble system, we knew we had hit a home run. For us it was a solid decision: we found what we needed in Trimble."
In addition to the farm managers, the tractor drivers also ranked the Autopilot's visual guidance lightbar very high. Because the lightbar is mounted at the top of the windshield in the cab, drivers are able to look straight ahead rather than looking to a side monitor. "Whenever you look up, you can see the lights while paying attention to what you're doing," said Huckaby. "The lightbar was one of the things they liked the most."
While initially using the AgGPS Autopilot for listing, the large agri-business has also used the system for plowing, discing, planting and grain drilling. Grimmway Farms harvests almost every day of the year, requiring the same schedule for field preparation. Grimmway's listing-dedicated tractors are always in use, whether in Bakersfield, California or shipped to the other areas.
Listing creates guess rows, which result in unusable land between the eight rows the implement creates on each pass through the field. When listing manually, drivers usually achieve 2-3 inch accuracy; the Trimble Autopilot improves accuracy to approximately inch, increasing the number of usable rows in each field.
"Our principle factor for buying the Trimble system was to eliminate guess rows," said Huckaby. "When you're listing several hundred fields annually you're able to pick up substantial acres free of charge by the end of a single year. And that's in a single field operation. It really adds up."
Additionally, the Autopilot allows listing to be done at night or in fog, both conditions that limit manual listing. Because of the intense harvesting schedule, every field operation has to be done on time, Huckaby said, or a 'domino effect' occurs if an operation is late.
"When it's foggy or dark we don't have to worry about getting behind because we can't see," said Huckaby. "We can continue listing in either condition - and that's a major accomplishment."
"We were already using several Trimble mapping and land leveling products," said Huckaby. "The name Trimble means a lot to us. We know they stand behind their products and we rarely have to worry about it breaking down. They just have great products."
For more information about Grimmway Farm's visit: www.grimmway.com
Trimble is a leading innovator of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. In addition to providing advanced GPS components, Trimble augments GPS with other positioning technologies as well as wireless communications and software to create complete customer solutions. Trimble's worldwide presence and unique capabilities position the Company for growth in emerging applications including surveying, automobile navigation, machine guidance, asset tracking, wireless platforms, and telecommunications infrastructure. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Trimble has more than 2,000 employees in more than 20 countries worldwide.
Media Contact: LeaAnn McNabb of Trimble: 408-481-7808
Investor Relations: Investor Relations of Trimble: 408-481-6914