Tech Tuesday

Productivity a Plus with New Tools

Faster filling, higher capacity machines mean more 'uptime' in the field.

When companies launch new technology into the marketplace, they must compete for your dollar against a host of other market players. While farmer brand loyalty is almost legendary in the marketing world these days, you're still looking for better, faster and hopefully in some ways cheaper.

Last week the cover came off the latest equipment from Deere - a new 8R Series tractor, new 7030 model machine and a new track machine. However, included in this launch were a couple of new products that might be more popular with commercial businesses - at first - but farmers may find useful in the future.

First, there was LoadCommand - a tender, refill system that could fill a 1,200 gallon tank with mixed crop protection product in three minutes. Now that's fast. The two-part system includes a high-volume pump on the tender with a special coupling that goes to the sprayer. The coupling is big - nearly 10 inches in diameter, and it says "fill this machine fast." In fact, some of joked it looked more like an inflight fuel inlet for a fighter.

The high-speed application world needs to cut tendering time to a minimum because a refilling machine is an idle machine and machines that aren't moving aren't productive. Farmers with a lot of acres to cover, or those that do some custom spraying on the site might also find LoadCommand a hand add-on. It only fits the newest model John Deere sprayers, but gives you idea of the kind of tech thinking going in ag engineering studios in the industry.

Second is PitStop Pro. This is one interesting tool that allows an anhydrous applicator to change tanks without ever leaving the cab. The automated system will decouple an empty tank, and allow for a quick hookup to a full tank, with a hands-free system. While the system requires an add-on to every anhydrous tank that a cooperative might have, so there may be some time before this kind of system takes off - it's another example of ways to boost productivity and enhance product safety.

The PitStop Pro allows for a three to five minute tank change out and the operator stays in the cab. That solves some worries about handling the valuable fertilizer; and enhances productivity.

Count on other companies to offer their own productivity enhancements in the next few years as farmers seek ways to cover more territory with one machine and a single driver to cut overhead. You can learn more about these tools at www.JohnDeere.com.

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