Preventing Farm Equipment Theft with GPS Tracking
Anything can be stolen—unfortunately, theft is negatively impacting one of the world's most critical industries: agriculture. Not only is farm equipment of vital importance to a working farm's production, but it's also extremely expensive (and often time-consuming) to replace.
A single piece of missing farm equipment could cut a farm's production capabilities to dire levels or cause them to miss out on crucial dates in the planting or harvesting process, costing them much more in the form of lost or damaged crops. With all of that in mind, protecting farm equipment is top-of-mind for modern farm owners.
Is Stolen Farm Equipment That Common?
The National Equipment Register (NER) reported over 10,000 cases of equipment theft in 2016 alone. Over seven states had more than 400 cases of theft reported, with Texas having the most instances at 2,375 thefts. With that said, the report revealed that farm equipment theft continues to be a major issue across the country, costing farmers up to thousands of dollars per instance—and that's just based on the equipment value itself.
A tractor can easily cost over $100,000, but smaller items are targets, too. Think chemicals, which can be worth thousands of dollars but easily go missing thanks to the simplicity of taking them away. Sometimes, this equipment is stored in a rural location for a few years until the perpetrator thinks it's safe to resale, but more often than not, it's shipped across the border to Mexico where it can't be tracked.
With all of that in mind, farm equipment theft is a very real threat to modern farms. So, what can be done to prevent it and how can a GPS tracker for farm equipment play a role in reducing the risk and associated costs?
How Do GPS Trackers Work?
Short of security cameras, alarms, gates and other security measures to help keep people off your property, the next best thing in preventing farm equipment theft—and recovering it quickly—is GPS tracking. To put it simply, a GPS tracker is your best bet at getting your equipment back if it goes missing, and it's a relatively inexpensive and easy way to solve the problem.
A GPS tracker is very small and extremely lightweight. It's also portable and wireless, allowing you to attach it to an object—like somewhere discreet on your farm equipment—so that you can track its location in real time. You'll likely need to sign up for a cheap subscription to keep the device active, but most work around the world and have a handful of features to make tracking easier.
Using GPS Trackers for Farm Equipment
There are countless ways you can use a GPS tracker to keep your farm equipment safe.
For instance, you can set up a geofence for each device that will alert you when the tracker goes beyond it. In other words, you could receive a text or email the moment a piece of equipment leaves your property, giving you the best chance of preventing an active theft by contacting law enforcement immediately and allowing them to intervene. If the person gets away, the GPS tracker will tell you where they go, allowing you to give the location to law enforcement so that they can track down the equipment and recover it for you.
Beyond geofencing, you can also use your GPS tracker to monitor equipment usage, which could reveal insights into worker productivity, inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. By implementing GPS trackers in the right manner, you'll find that your farm can benefit from more than just added security, but a whole new set of metrics that can inform your planning and decisions.
Choosing the Right GPS Tracker
Farm equipment is often left out in the elements if no one is actively working with it, so it's essential that you choose an appropriate device that can withstand the working conditions of your equipment. Fortunately, most GPS trackers come in fully waterproof versions or, at the very least, have waterproof casings available so that you can ensure they'll function even as your equipment is put through its paces each day.
GPS trackers also come in both wireless and wired models, and deciding which one is right for your application really comes down to the equipment you're placing it on and whether you need short-term or ongoing monitoring. If you need to track your equipment in the long term and your equipment has a power source, it may be ideal to hard-wire a GPS tracker into the equipment's power system so that you don't have to remove the GPS tracker regularly to charge it.
If you do opt for a wireless GPS tracker, realize that you'll need to pull out the device and charge it every 10 to 14 days, depending on the type of device you get. However, you can set up low battery alerts so that you never forget to maintain your GPS trackers. With a little maintenance, you can ensure that your GPS trackers do the job and keep your equipment safe for years to come.
Are you interested in reaping the benefits of GPS tracking for your equipment? Request a quote from LandAirSea today.