According to Farm Progress, producers need to keep an eye on their precision ag equipment, such as auto-guidance monitors and antennas.

An ag store in central Illinois was set to send some equipment for field demonstrations at the 2021 Farm Progress show when a representative showed up to take the tractor there and couldn’t find the auto guidance monitor and antenna. Staff had calibrated the tractor the day before and left the equipment in the tractor. What they found in the tractor were cut wires and no auto-guidance parts. Across the entire lot, eight pieces of machinery had stolen antennas and monitors.

In Atlanta a similar story, where four tractors and five combines had their monitors and antennas stolen. While no one is 100% sure, the Farm Progress report says it’s either a quick way to make some money, or the computer chip shortage may be another reason behind the thefts. While the chips can’t be tracked, the stolen monitors and antennas can be disabled to stop anyone from using them with systems such as AFS Connect from Case IH.

Investigators said the best way to prevent becoming a victim of a crime like this is locking everything up at night. Some farmers even unplug their precision equipment at night, and bring it back the next day as a way to prevent theft.

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