"Starfire Receiver. Blake Hatch, Integration Solutions Specialist for Evergreen Implement, is installing a Starfire 3000 SF1 receiver on a potato harvester. Courtesy photo.
"Starfire RTK . John Deere's Starfire 3000 RTK receiver on a tractor. Courtesy photo.
"Steering mechanism on a planter. Courtesy photo.
Eastern Washington produces the highest yield per acre of potatoes in the world and 20 percent of all U.S. potatoes. Commercial growers plant more than 160,000 acres annually, producing an average of 35 tons per acre, twice as much as the average yield in any other state. This is due to the abundant water provided by the Grand Coulee Dam, the long growing season, rich volcanic soil and climate conditions.
Evergreen Implement, a John Deere dealership, saw the continued expansion of the potato industry and readied itself to become the leading potato equipment dealer in the state of Washington. Evergreen is able to combine John Deere's Integrated Systems Management solutions with potato implements.
One of the modules specifically beneficial to the potato industry is John Deere's Active Implement Steering (formerly iSteer), which automatically steers the implement onto the desired guidance line. Active Implement Guidance automatically steers the implement to the guidance line by providing satellite data correction to the implement steering mechanism. This causes both the tractor and implement to operate on the same guidance path in straight, circle and curve track modes. Tyler Cox of Mullen Farms says he gets perfectly straight rows, even on side hills.
"It's slick," he says.
Maintaining the best crop quality is important in all farming operations, especially in cropping practices that require multiple passes through the field. Improved precision of the plants provide a straighter path for subsequent passes throughout the season. Compaction and crop disturbance are also reduced. If Active Implement Guidance is engaged going forward, when backing up, it stays right in line.
Joe Cruz of Radach Farms says using Active Implement Steering keeps the harvester in line without running over the next un-dug rows, avoiding bruising of the potatoes. He says that once he got used to it, he quit trying to figure out if he was running over the rows. He also mentioned that they decided to try the Active Implement Steering because they were having a hard time keeping consistent guess rows-that the planter seemed to want to steer the tractor.
It's very easy to operate. Active Implement Steering helps maximize the use of inputs by increasing accuracy and repeatability at the implement. It's easy to install and the manuals are easy to read.
Bob Kelly of Balcom & Moe says it was quick to install and had a seamless start-up and that the guess rows are the best they've had.
The same equipment can be used throughout the potato season. Once finished with planting, you can transfer it to your sprayer and fertilizer applicator, and then to the harvester.
The method of controlling the implement steering mechanism is unique with John Deere, which controls the implement steering device through the tractor's SCV. This allows operators to engage and disengage quickly and easily. All tractors are compatible with the use of an external SCV. Evergreen has installed it, including steerable hitches and axles, on Lockwood and Harriston planters as well as Camco Harvesters.
Active Implement Guidance systems require an implement steering mechanism to physically steer the implement. As this product specifically addresses the needs of specialty crop producers, all non-John Deere implements are compatible with the Active Implement Guidance system at this time. The steering mechanism must be sourced from an outside provider and meet a set of minimum requirements. If an implement uses some type of steer system-hitch, coulters, or if you can create a steerable function for the implement, you can use John Deere's Active Implement Steering. Basically you install it on any type of steerable equipment including potato planters, sprayers and fertilizer applicators, cultivators and potato harvesters. Use your imagination.
The minimum requirements include a hydraulic steering cylinder of 2-inch bore by 2-inch stroke. You will need to add John Deere AMS equipment including a Starfire 3000 RTK receiver, a controller and a Greenstar 2600 or 2630 display to your tractor and a Starfire 3000 SF1 receiver on your implement. AutoTrac paired with Active Implement Guidance allows operators to be more productive as they focus on tasks other than steering while traveling down the field. The system accurately guides the implement down the most optimum pass, accurately placing inputs such as seed or fertilizer in the field.
Contact Hatch at Evergreen Implement, (509) 760-0137.