My Review of Combine Advisor, New for John Deere S700 Series

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Corn and bean harvest was in full swing last week  (18-22 Sept).  Soybeans seemed to be the crop of choice to harvest first while growers were waiting on the corn to dry down a bit more.  I had a chance to operate one of the new model year ’18 S780 combines with the Combine Advisor Package installed in a cornfield not far from Assumption.  Combine Advisor automatically helps maintain machine performance once the operator initially sets the machine.  It has a high-speed camera on the clean grain and tailings elevators to monitor grain condition and tailings load in each respective elevator.

Combine Advisor Live Camera Video Feed

After the operator has set the machine to perform to his satisfaction, he will press the “set performance target” button and continue harvesting.  Once this is done, the system goes into action. For the next few rounds in the field, it looks at the loss monitor for separator and shoe loss levels.  It also inspects the free grain and trash levels in the tailings elevator via the tailings camera.  Lastly, it checks out the clean grain camera for foreign material and broken kernels.  During this period of time, approximately 10 min, it is learning the acceptable loss/damage/trash levels for each respective system.  Once it completes this learning period the system is ready and active.

Combine Advisor Adjustment Page

As the operator continues through the field,  the system is monitoring all of the above conditions and is looking for one that is outside the range that it experienced during the 10 minute learning period.  If it notices that one of the parameters is outside of acceptable levels, it will change one or more of the appropriate settings in the combine to try and correct the situation.  For example, if the system saw that the amount of free grain detected by the tailings camera was above the learned period level, it would open the sieve to try and direct more of this free grain to the clean grain elevator.  After the adjustment, the system will watch and see if the problem got better, got worse, or stayed the same for about 5-10 min.  It will also see if any other areas were affected, like in this scenario, if more foreign material was also introduced into the clean grain system.  If it lowered the free grain in the tailings, it would leave the sieve setting alone.  If it saw that the foreign material level went up it might close the chaffer or increase the fan speed to try and mitigate that development as well.

Combine Advisor Adjustment Settings Page

I got to experience firsthand the machine making needed adjustments on the fly.  We were harvesting corn in a field with 2 varieties.  We set the machine in the driest variety and continued harvesting.  It did have some small patches of replant in it, but the machine did not make “knee-jerk” adjustments when encountering the small patches of replant.  The customer was receiving a discount on drying costs from an elevator and decided we would move to the other end of the field to the wetter variety to take advantage of the discount.  I noticed shortly after I had moved to the new variety the combine had slowed the rotor and opened the concave.  I knew this because it had turned those two setting blue on the monitor.  I questioned why the combine had done this so I went to the performance history page and it showed me the reason for the change was because the broken grain levels had risen substantially.  After the machine had evaluated the change for a couple rounds it left them in place as we continued on through the field.  It made some other changes here and there to try and clean up the sample.  Some of them it left in place but some of them it did not leave in place an put them back to the original.  Once we got back into the drier variety the combine began to make adjustments again.  When it had finished “readjusting” the settings were nearly exactly where they were when we left the drier variety the first time.

Combine Advisor Performance History

I have set many combines in many different situations over my 20-year career with John Deere and Sloan Implement.  I can honestly say that this feature made me a better operator.  Not because it knew what adjustment to make better than I did, but because it was constantly watching the performance of the machine while I had other distractions.  I was also watching for drain sumps in the field.  Is the grain cart operator too close or too far away from my auger?  Am I going to make it to the end without running the grain tank over?  Are there any trucks here because the cart is almost full?  Am I running my deck plates too wide because I see a little corn shelling on the ground?  Etc., etc., etc.  Even if you are an experienced operator, you have many more things you are watching for as you run through the field in addition to keeping tabs on the performance of the machine.  If you are not an experienced operator, you can feel more comfortable that the machine is watching and adjusting as needed to do a good job.

To be honest, I thought this new technology was going to be nothing more than another bell and whistle that was just going to result in more phone calls for me to deal with while helping growers understand it.  I’m 99.9% sure I will still get some phone calls about it, but I think the value it brings will be worth it.

Thanks for spending your valuable time with me and hopefully this has given you some insights to the new Combine Advisor package.  Please be safe out there and have a bountiful and profitable harvest this fall.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

John Deere ExactEmerge: Buy New or Retrofit?

John Deere’s Exactemerge high-speed planter has definitely changed the game.  With improved seed spacing over conventional planters even at speeds of 10+ mph, unmatched productivity and accuracy now go hand in hand.  Covering dramatically more acres per day and still doing a better job in an ever decreasing planting window is a value story that hasn’t been seen since the introduction of the STS combine in 2000.  Sloan Implement has ExactEmerge customers that have cut their planting fleet in half and still get more done in a day, all while improving the plant stand.   This frees up manpower to do other tasks at a time when skilled farm labor is ever more difficult to locate.

John Deere offers two different options for customers who want to bring this technology to their operation: Buying a new or used Exactemerge planter or Retrofitting an existing 2011 or newer conventional John Deere bulk fll planter.  So what is the best option?  Both offer pro’s and con’s so let’s walk through both scenarios:

Buying a new Exactemerge planter: 

John Deere has introduced features each year since the Exactemerge’s introduction that cannot be retrofitted back to previous model planters.  Frame weight distribution is only available as a factory option and cannot be retrofitted to previous models.  Folding the planter through the display, thus eliminating the fold box, is also a factory only option.  Seedstar 4HP is new for the 2018 planter line-up and is not available for retrofit at this time.  Seedstar 4HP requires a Gen IV display.  The larger screen offers greater flexibility with the planter run page setup for viewing more functions on the screen at the same time.   The frame has also received a few tweaks, in particular, the markers can better handle the increased loads of 10+ mph planting speeds.  Buying new insures that you will have the latest technology as well as a full machine warranty for the planting season.

Retrofit a 2011 or newer central-fill planter to the Exactemerge planting system:

This option allows customers to get the Exactemerge technology at a substantially reduced cost vs. buying new.  Customers can get most of the latest technology except for the items listed above.  The Exactemerge row unit, pneumatically adjustable row cleaners, individual row hydraulic down force, and pneumatic closing wheels can all be installed on an existing planter to get these technologies for less money.  The basic Exactemerge retrofit unit comes with a new shank, openers, scrapers, gauge wheel arms, meter, brush module, parallel arm bushings, and an electrical system that includes vacuum automation and curve compensation.  All of the new components have a full planting season warranty.  What’s more, you can still use your existing 2630 display to operate the retrofitted planter, saving the cost of upgrading to the new Gen IV display.  The frame and seed delivery system both remain the same.  We have done several retrofits and customers have had great success while saving money.

Sloan employees prepared 7 short videos discussing ExactEmerge retrofit kits that can be viewed here:

As you can see, both options have a value story that is different.  What is not different is the performance and productivity each option will bring to your operation.

Click here to read more about the Exactemerge row unit or contact your local Sloan Implement location.

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

 

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

What is the best round baler for your farm?

Jake Pippin Baler Specialist @Sloan Implement
Jake Pippin Baler Specialist @Sloan Implement

by Jake Pippin, Litchfield, IL 

When looking at a new round baler for your farm or custom operation, there are a few things that you should consider.   In this blog post, we will look at the different sizes, configurations, and attachments for the John Deere 9 series round baler. When looking at Deere balers, the first two numbers indicate the bale size and the last number is the series.  So for instance, a 569 round baler makes a 5 ft by 6 ft bale and the series is 9.

John Deere 459E Round Baler

John Deere 459E Round Baler

 

I’ll start with the 459E.  If you only put up 100 bales or so a year and don’t want the expense of bigger baler, this is the route to go since it still has a lot of the features of the 9 series baler except in a smaller package.  The 459E still has the diamond chains and heavier bearings and shafts in the #9 and #11 rolls.   It can still achieve a max bale weight of 1000lbs, and you will still be able to conserve room in your shed.  This baler still uses the BaleTrak Pro monitor for simple use.  You can also get the optional edge to edge net wrap system, as well as the standard twine. The 459E also comes with a shear bolt on the PTO rather than the slip clutch style found on the other models.  You can rear more about the 459E on deere.com by clicking here.

John Deere 459 Round Baler

John Deere 459 Round Baler

The 459 standard is the baler in the 9 series and it produces the same bale size as the 459E (4×5) except with a few more available options.  One option on the 459 are 96-inch high flotation tires.  These are nice, especially if you do a lot of traveling on rough roads or if you just need the extra flotation in the field.  You can also get it with the standard pickup or the Megawide Plus pick up. The Megawide is beneficial with bigger windrows allowing you to pick them all up at once.  It also comes with the diamond tough belts and the Mato belt splices that are found on the larger 5×6 balers.  You can read more about 459 balers on deere.com by clicking here.

John Deere 469 Round Baler

John Deere 469 Round Baler

 

The John Deere 469 round baler makes a 4×6 foot bale with a maximum silage bale weight of 2200lbs. This baler is perfect if you ship bales that need to be narrow for transport on a trailer, but still need to max out your tonnage per trip. The high flotation tires come standard on this baler.  The 469 also comes standard with the Megawide pickup for those larger windrows.  It also has the diamond tough belts and Mato splices, but net-wrap is optional.  The minimum horsepower requirement does jump up to 65 horsepower on the 469, and the proper tractor size will depend on ballast as well as operating conditions.  You can read what John Deere has to say about this baler by clicking here.

John Deere 559 Round Baler

John Deere 559 Round Baler

The next baler in the lineup is a 559, which is a 5×5 baler. It has all the of options of the 469, but with the option of the standard pickup or the Megawide plus pickup.  If you’re looking to get more hay into a bale, but still keep a low profile this is the route to go. The max silage bale weight is 1750lbs. This one like the 459E and the 459 only requires 55hp.  You can read more specifications by clicking here.

John Deere 569 Round Baler

John Deere 569 Round Baler

The 569 round baler has a max silage bale weight of 2400lbs and is standard with the high flotation 112inch tires like those found on the 469.  You also have the option of the standard pickup, megatooth, and the Megawide pickup. It is standard with twine and also optional Coveredge net wrap system.  This is our best selling round baler and you can read more details from John Deere by clicking here.  Sloan Implement also has a large inventory of used 569 balers that you can see by clicking here.

John Deere 569 Silage Special Baler

John Deere 569 Silage Special Baler

Now the 459, 469, 559, and 569 balers are all available in Silage Special models.  What you see at first glance is the black screen in the front of the baler. That is because the starter roll on the silage special models has an auger to keep crop buildup down.  It also comes standard with the starter roll knife.  This will keep crop from wrapping the starter roll and causing problems.  The last feature is the auxiliary take-up roll.  This is found on the top of the belt and its purpose is to keep the belts turning as the gate is opened.  The reason for this is that when baling silage, the belts will become wet and tacky this helps to keep them from wrapping a roll or even flipping on hillsides.  You can read more about the 559 Silage Special by clicking here.  If the 569 Silage Special interests you, you can learn more at deere.com by clicking here.

John Deere 854 Silage Baler

John Deere 854 Silage Baler

There is also another baler often overlooked in the silage category the 854.  This baler is manufactured in Arc Le Grey. It is the only round baler that comes equipped with a precutter. It comes with the standard pickup and does not use the diamond tough belts, but instead it uses 3-ply nylon polyester belts.  The 854 uses the same Baletrak Plus monitor and requires 70hp to run. It has a hydraulic drop floor so that if you plug the baler, you can drop the floor and feed the plug through without ever leaving the cab.  You can learn more about the 854 by clicking here.

John Deere 569 Premium Round Baler

John Deere 569 Premium Round Baler

John Deere 469 Premium Round Baler

John Deere 469 Premium Round Baler

The next options for Deere round balers are the premium 469 and 569.  These are the top of the line balers in the Deere lineup. They come with all the features of the 469 and 569 standard balers and a lot more.  They have gull-wing doors making it more convenient to do daily baler maintenance. The Megawide pickup is even better since it includes bigger cams, bearings, and reel spiders. This means less downtime for repairs as well as more peace of mind.  The chains got beefed up as well from 80 to 80H  and there’s a new output shaft with u-joints.  This helps with alignment as well as stronger and more reliable parts.  There is a grease bank on either side of the baler to keep you from searching for grease points and a cam clutch on the PTO that is maintenance free.   You can also have the option of tractor baler automation with the premium balers.  And finally, why not beef up the warranty as well since it comes with a 2 year or 12000 bale warranty.

With all of these options, you’re sure to find the baler that fits your needs and budget as well.  If a new baler is not in the budgets, you can see our complete inventory of used round balers by clicking here.  If you have any questions on balers, feel free to call me in Litchfield at 217 324 5955 and ask for Jake.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

Ditching with Surface Water Pro and iGrade by John Deere

by Lucas Benning, Vandalia, IL 

I got the chance to ride with a customer who is running John Deere Surface Water Pro and iGrade with a Wolverine ditcher pulled by a JD 8430 tractor with SF3000 receivers and Sloan Implement RTK network.  With the recent dry weather we are making ditches to drain the wet holes that have been hard to get rid of the past couple of springs. It amazed me how far the dirt was being thrown from the ditcher (in excess of 40 yards).   After the initial setup, we were able to use Surface Water Pro by surveying our ditch track and recording the elevation every 5 feet.  We then entered our min/max slope and our min/max cut by using the best fit option and then generated a ditch track.   Surface Water Pro shows us how much dirt we are expecting to move and a side profile view so we know how close we are to our desired cut.  Then iGrade takes over and automatically lowers the ditcher and raises it to make the desired slope and depth of the cut. After we are done with the pass we feathered out the sides manually and make one last pass through the middle to clean it up. Then it’s on to the next one.   If you have any questions on Surface Water Pro or iGrade please give me a call at the Vandalia, IL location of Sloan Implement phone 618 283 4305

40 Yards of Dirt

Dirt Flying from the Ditcher


Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com