When Trimble first introduced FieldLevel II in 2003, it was primarily a land-leveling system. Since then, the company has upgraded FieldLevel II to an automated tiling, ditching, land-leveling and levee-building system driven by the FmX integrated display. The system uses FMX’s two built-in GPS- and GLONASS-compatible receivers to provide both automated steering and vertical control of a tile plow or blade.

In 2010, Trimble added a complementary design tool, Surface. FieldLevel II has built-in capability to assess a desirable profile for a specific tile line. Surface expands design options by surveying the entire field and providing a three-dimensional analysis of the field watershed, including flow direction and tributary in- and out-flow. Its design tools can be used to lay out main tile lines and laterals.

GPS allows a grower to design tile lines with varied slopes to maintain optimal depth, a task that is more difficult using a laser system, van der Loo says. This approach maximizes infiltration and minimizes nutrient losses compared to a tile line set at a constant slope across an undulating field.

The cost of adding Field Level II to an existing FmX display is $1,995 for a software unlock, plus about $2,500 to $2,800 for a machine-specific platform kit. A total turnkey system, excluding a tile plow or blade, costs about $30,000. The Surface planning module retails for $800. It requires Trac, Site and Pro FarmWorks software modules, which retail for a combined $1,050. For more information, visit www.trimble.com.