THE LOWER end of assisted steering, the lightbar, pays back its cost with use on just 300 acres/year for five years, according to research by Matt Darr, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University.

The payback comes quickly from reduced time and operating expense of the equipment as well as reduced overlap of chemicals. “The payback period is based on a high-end, $3,000 lightbar, so the 300 acres is a very conservative number,” Darr says.

Universal autoguidance has a payback of 400 to 500 acres/year for five years, and integrated autosteering requires 900 acres. — Jodie Wehrspann