NH3 Anhydrous bar with flow issues? Try this fix

by Chris Saxe, Assumption, IL 

I received a  call today about a JD NH3 2510H ammonia bar with a Raven control system that was not getting flow to the applicator.   I walked the operator through the energize system check, then confirmed the settings and it was getting the correct speed. I then verified that the implement switch was working and the operator could also manually open the Raven valve.  The operator said the rate was bouncing all over the place, but he was still was not getting any flow.   The operator was pulling double tanks and one was 50% full and the other tank was empty.   A rate level that fluctuates wildly up and down is often the sign of an empty tank.   I then directed the operator to shut off the empty tank,  which was allowing vapor to spin the flow meter.   I also asked him to shut off the second tank that was 50% full and then to open the valve slowly.  The excess flow valve snapped shut on one tank when both tanks were at 50% so he continued to run until one tank went empty. By shutting off the tank and opening the valve slowly,  it allowed the excess flow valve in the withdraw valve to reopen.  He started running again but said it still didn’t work.  At that point,  the entire bar was drained empty so I told him to keep going and it charged the bar and it then went back to working perfectly.  Tank % gauges are known to stick, so if you have a similar issue where everything on the monitor and on the bar seem ok, have the operator shake the tank to see if it feels full or if float gauge bounces.  The gauge may be broken or stuck in place.  Be safe out there.  NH3 is dangerous stuff.

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

 

The Importance of Good Data

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Greetings from Sloan Implement Company!  I hope everyone enjoyed great food and family time over Thanksgiving.  I am looking forward to more of the same as Christmas quickly approaches

Warmer than normal weather has been the rule this fall in our area.  A great deal of NH3 was applied, but there will definitely be some spring application needs as well.

Let me ask each of you if you had an autotrac system 10 years ago in 2005?  What about 5 years ago?  I bet the answer to the first question would be that very few had a system in ’05.  I would venture to say that many, or more likely, most of you had at least 1 system in 2010.  The question for most producers today would not be if you had a system, but rather how many systems you currently have in your operation? I pose these questions to shine a light on how fast technology is changing and how much of an impact it has on you and your business.

If autotrac was the first big use of GPS technology, section control or auto swath is definitely a close second. So what is number 3?  Any guesses?  It is a hot topic in nearly every farm publication or Ag website.  The answer is data.  Not just data, but GOOD data!  Inaccurate data is not much better than no data at all.

So how does good data have an impact like autotrac or section control?  Good data is the inside information you need to help you make informed decisions about every acre within your operation.  All of you know that there are productive and not-as-productive areas in each of your fields.  But the question is not just how productive or not-so-productive, but how big is the good area and where and how much does it change as you move out of the highly productive area?  Even better, why does it change?  Can we fix it? Is there something holding back the sweet spots from getting even better?  The list could go on and on.  Treating every acre of the field the same, or flat rate application, of seed, fertilizer, nitrogen, lime, etc. does not make agronomic sense, especially in these economic times. Knowing what each acre is putting in your pocket will be of paramount importance going forward.

I will admit that the amount of information that can be gleaned from yield maps, soil tests, application data, etc. is mind boggling and can be intimidating.  The question you are probably asking, is how do I know when, where, and how much change to make?  The only way to answer this question is to have a good “data bank” of past history from each field.  This can then be used by you or a trusted advisor to guide your decisions. As with anything of value, good data takes time and effort to collect.  The good news is that nearly every combine/planter/application tool built within the last 10+ years has the ability to collect the data you need to build your data bank.  The even better news is that most customers already have the majority of the equipment they need to complete these tasks!

Another storm on the horizon is the political climate (pun intended!) in Washington.  As fewer folks in the general population actually understand production agriculture, greater imposition on your use of commercial fertilizers, chemicals, etc. will be the focus of many state houses and in Washington.  Has anyone seen a news story about the algae bloom in the Gulf as an example? The ability to show, on an acre by acre basis, how accurately and efficiently you use inputs will be extremely valuable, if and when the rules change.

So where do we go from here?  Make a point to start or continue to collect good data from this point forward!  Calibrate and post calibrate your combine yield monitor, record your as-applied planting rates and varieties, and obtain the as-applied fertilizer maps from your ASP (Ag Service Provider).  All of this needs to be in an electronic format so it can be used later on.  Find someone to help you clean up your data if you are not able or willing to do it yourself.  Sloan Implement offers a basic data service that allows you to begin to collect GOOD data without even owning a computer, all while using the GPS equipment you already own.  You can see more info on Sloan’s Data Management service here.  John Deere has a website, www.myjohndeere.com, where you can store and view the data as well from any smart phone or tablet and share it with only those you choose.  Finally, find a trusted advisor to help you interpret the data and help you make informed decisions.

In conclusion, even if you think you are not ready for all of this, start collecting good data now!  Remember my questions at the beginning of the article?  How many of you had an autotrac system 10 or even 5 years ago?  The difference now is that you could get into an autotrac system whenever you made the decision to do so.  Collecting data takes time.  You have seen how fast the last 10 years has changed.  Imagine what the next 5 or 10 years has in store.
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

 

Northern IL Harvest Update and New RTK Towers in IL and Iowa

4 New Sloan RTK Towers in IL and IA

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

Harvest in Northern IL is well underway. Some guys are finished, but most are over half way done. Yields have been really good for most of the area in corn and beans. Guys are getting NH3 bars ready, but the ground is still too warm to apply gas.  The weather was very nice for most of the fall allowing for a smooth harvest.  The forecast is 70 degrees Monday thru Wednesday. Not bad for the first week of November!

Our Freeport RTK base was having some issues and was down for a couple of days. It is back up and going, but with a new frequency. If you were running off of that base and need that frequency, call your local Sloans AMS specialist for updated frequency.   We are putting four new RTK base stations up next week. They will be in Thomson, Erie, Rock Falls, and Andover, IA. If you are interested in RTK please get with one of us and we can gladly help.  You can also get more RTK information on our website by clicking here.

I would like to also take this time and welcome Bill Lodge to the AMS team. Bill will be working out of the new Fulton location. Bill has been working at the Fulton store for some time now as their service manager. Bill knows a lot of the customers in the area and will make it an easy transition. If you see Bill, be sure to welcome him to his new role.

 

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

Convert a Cultivator to a Side Dress Applicator

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

The weather has been pretty hot and dry up in Northern IL.  The corn is looking good in most of the area. A lot of spraying has been going on along with side dressing. I have had the opportunity to install Rate Controllers on customers bars this year for ease of operation and/or running prescriptions. A couple of customers have found a good use for their old row crop cultivators that they aren’t using anymore. They have taken the old cultivators, removed the row units, and installed Yetter or Blue Jet coulters with knives. Then add a tank to the bar or side mount tanks to the tractor and have the proper set up to control flow. Most customers have gone with a Raven Flow meter, standard control valve and 3 boom section valves to run with their Rate Controller and Section Control. If you need some help or would like to install a Rate Controller on your side dress bar, call your Sloan’s Product Support specialist and they will be glad to help.

IMG_0688 IMG_0691

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 19 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.  Learn more at www.sloans.com

Wisconsin Planting, ExactEmerge Success, Active Implement Guidance, and Swath Control Settings

Row Clutches at Work

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI 

Planting started in Southern Wisconsin two weeks ago with above average temperatures followed by a week of below normal temperatures and even some snow flurries last week! This past week has been very good planting conditions and a lot of corn has went into the ground. We have some customers finishing with corn and more could be done by this weekend if the rain holds off.

The ExactEmerge planters have all been running well. Most customers have been running 7-10 mph across the field. Seventy acres per hour in our larger fields with a 24 row planter has been pretty common. Setting swath control has been pretty quick since you can dig seed like a sandhill crane when the spacing is so close to perfect. We did notice that some hub torques got a little loose after the initial break in. Similar to the ProMax 40 disks, it seems that a tighter hub torque has been better than a loose hub torque. Round seed has also singulated a little better than flat seed 98-100% vs 97-98% on average. With the brush belt carrying the seed to the trench and with it being speed compensated, the in ground spacing has been very good on both types of seed.

8370R 1775 ExactEmerge Active Implement Guidance

JD 8370R & 1775 ExactEmerge

Active Implement Guidance with ProTrakker hydraulic hitches have also been working very well this spring doing strip till in some rolling ground of Southwestern and South Central Wisconsin. Our local RTK bases have been performing very well again this year. If you are interested in RTK, give us a call and we can line up a demo before you’re done planting.

9410R 2510H Active Implement Guidance

JD 9410R Pulling JD 2510H Using Active Implement Guidance

I got a call yesterday about soybeans overplanting 5-6%. We ended up finding the seed very small and multiples getting stuck in some holes on the disk. We reduced the vacuum as much as we could and then cut back on the prescription rates using the Prescription Multiplier in order to get the correct amount of seed in the ground. It sounds like there many some abnormally small beans out there this year, so keep that in mind.

Small Bean Seed Overplanting 5-6%

Small Bean Seed Overplanting 5-6%

I’ve received a few calls this week from guys running adaptive curves in our small and irregular shaped fields. When the customer leaves his first line to go plant on the other side of the field, the line will not let him engage autotrac when he returns. Backdating to 14-1 GS3 software has fixed the problem on all of them so far.

Adaptive Curves Not Working

Adaptive Curves Not Working

Last but not least, I’ve had a lot of calls this week in regards to planter clutches. It’s impossible to dig too much seed when you start planting. In many cases, set-up has been incomplete and measurements were missing causing gaps on one end of the field and extra overlap on the other end. If you are running the new 15-1 GS3 software, I would recommend that you go in and uncheck the Implement Detection box, so there’s no way that it can get changed on its own once you take your measurements (Menu, Display, Diagnostics, Multiple Displays, Change Settings, uncheck the Auto Implement Detection checkbox and hit the save button). If you are still planting, it would probably be a good idea to dig some seed coming into and then again coming out of the headlands to make sure there are no surprise when the corn comes up. If you like what you see, make sure that you record all of your tractor measurements, planter measurements and on/off times so you have them for next year.

Sectional Control Info

Sectional Control Info

 

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 19 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

Southern Wisconsin & Northern IL Harvest Update

Dave Hach, Muscoda, WI harvesting with 9650 along the Wisconsin River Bluffs

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

Some guys are starting to get close to wrapping up harvest in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The weather has taken a turn though. Light snow and flurries were in the air most of the day yesterday. Today’s high is only 29 degrees. It looks like we will be right at or below freezing for the next 7 days. Lows a couple nights are expected to be 11 degrees. Guys are scrambling to get fertilizer/lime spread, NH3 applied and finished harvesting.

IMG_20141113_090530_170

Lance Barnes with Carrousel Farms applying lime with 8335R and DN345 spreader

IMG_20141112_150758_062

Dave Hach, Muscoda, WI harvesting with 9650 along the Wisconsin River Bluffs

 

NH3 Applicator Maintenance, Rate Controllers and Section Control

New Rate Controller Installed for NH3 Application

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

Most customers are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for harvest season in Northern IL. A few customers are done and a lot will be finishing very soon.  A lot of chiseling is going on before the ground starts to freeze. The weather next week isn’t looking good with snow in the forecast for Monday and cold temps coming our way. Yields have been really good and most customers are running out of storage.

Some guys have started NH3 this past week now that the ground has reached the lower temps. I have done a few Rate Controllers on NH3 bars. One of many nice things about the Rate Controller is that you can run with only one monitor in the cab, your GS2 or GS3. Another is that more and more guys are working with their local agronomist and they are starting to write more prescriptions. With the Rate Controller you can run prescriptions and put the nitrogen where it is most needed. This also helps saves you money in product costs.  Another nice thing is that it is capable of running Section Control (as long as you have the Swath or Section Control activation) allowing you do reduce overlap, and in turn saving you money on product and also less burn to the corn where there is too much nitrogen applied.   Most guys run two sections on 17 knives or less and three sections on 19 knives or more.  We can install a rate controller on any bar that uses Raven or Dickey John.  If you are interested in pricing, call your local Sloan Implement AMS Specialist.

Some maintenance to remember on your NH3 bars before season is to make sure to have your screens cleaned out behind the coolers.  A plugged screen with cause an erratic flow and the Rate Controller will show that. Also, if you run N-Serve in the Fall and Spring, make sure to take out your flow meter and clean out the impeller with brake cleaner and make sure that the impeller is turning smoothly. N-Serve is very sticky and will cause erratic reading if the flow meter is off balance. Also remember that NH3 is a nasty chemical to be around, make sure to also wear your gloves and goggles.

 

Rate Controller Configuration & Using a Raven Console with a Deere GS 2630 Display

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Rate controllers have been the hot topic the last few weeks.  Customers have been using them to apply liquid fertilizer or NH3 in a side dress application.  If you have a FAST valve with no master on/off valve then you need to have the control valve setup as a Fast-Close configuration.  If you have a FAST valve with a master then it needs to be configured simply as a FAST.  The default control valve number is 743 for a FAST valve.  If you have some surging or hunting symptoms, change the control valve number to 303 and that should reduce the hunting.  If you have a standard valve then the control valve number is 2123.  For the raven flow meter cal number there should be a tag on it that will read “700” or “730” or something similar.  This is the number that you will want to use.  If so, make sure that you set the flow meter units to 10 gal and NOT gallons.  Also make sure that you check the actual N box when entering your rates with NH3.  There may also be another number on the tag that says NH3 -“187.”  Do NOT use the 187 or similar number for NH3 or liquid.  This number is for a Raven SCS console because you cannot change the units to lbs per acre nor can you change it to actual N in the  Raven console.  They use a factor to convert the flow meter number to get actual N.  Remember, a flow meter can only read in a liquid format so that is why they have to use a different number for NH3 in the Raven console.  This is not true for the rate controller.

 

If you are using a Raven console and using the field doc connect wiring kit (PF90363) to connect to GS2/3 to record your application or push prescriptions to the Raven, there are a couple steps you need to do to make sure that the two displays will communicate:

1. You will need to make sure that the Raven console “Data Menu” is set up.  The 4 items you need to check are the Baud Rate (9600), trigger value (1), trigger units (sec), and data log (on).

2. Go back the GS2/3 display under the Equipment tab and find the “COM Port” button.  Fill out the drop down boxes as necessary.  Make sure the one that says “connection type” is set to “field doc connect” and not serial port.  Once you have completed these steps you should hear 4 loud beeps from the Raven indication that communication is complete.

AMS Report 4.24.2014

by Josh Zuck

Spring is finally here. We have been really busy finishing up installs and getting planters ready . NH3 is getting close to done. I had a few planters start yesterday with more this week to get started.

I had the opportunity to work with a customer and his new Raven Vortex HP NH3 system. It is a single cooler system that runs a pump to increase the NH3 pressure. He installed on a 2510H 23 row. With a single cooler he could run 8 MPH at 200 units per acre. This system is full ISOBUS and runs through the GS3 2630 without the need of a rate controller. The GS3 also uses the Section Control to shutoff sections of the bar. It was also very easy to set up and run with the GS3.

I ran into an issue where a AT Controller on a Case IH was throw a fault in the Raven setup screen along with code ACI 522390.09. I downloaded the latest Raven software and the customer ran for 2 days then it threw the same code again. I re-downloaded the software again and it worked, but I also did a DTAC case and will keep everyone updated once they get back to me.

Seeing a lot of down force sensors reading zero yet. Seems like a few things can get them working again. Raise planter and zero, calibrate height switch, disable and re-enable. There’s also a DTAC case that talks about resetting the PM2 controller as a last resort, but I haven’t had to do that yet.

Joe Brunker and Jon Reynolds found a bad poly phaser( part used to protect the amp from lightning strikes ) was the problem on weak signal at the Hazel Green leg.  With that said all towers are now up and operational.  With a few more climbs we will be finished on all towers.

During a few installs, I noticed that our RTK signal was very strong.  In several cases I was able to get 100% RTK data received inside steel machine sheds, and in one case that was 8 miles away.  Another instance was getting the Shullsburg tower all the way up to the Lancaster tower (30.98 miles away), unfortunately the Deere software won’t let you run that far from a tower.  All of the current RTK customers have begun gator mapping and have reported better coverage than they expected.

Bill adds, “this past week I had the pleasure of fighting a 1770 that had Precision installed on it.  The planter needed a new d.p. node installed and while we were installing it we also installed new software and dielectric greased the connectors.  Before we left I checked over all settings and verified that it was correct.  A few days later customer is called complaining that the software made a bunch of his sensors not work and throw codes.  After another stop to their farm, and the better part of the day with help from a Cuba City tech, we realized that the Precision Planting 20/20 was booting up after the 2630 causing sensors for both vacuum motors and other random codes to be thrown.  They all went away and planter preformed normally when the precision stuff was removed out of the system.  I truly feel that during season calls for random “odd” errors our first diagnostic test should be to remove any and all precision harnesses.  9 out if 10 times it would solve the problem.”

Bill also had an iTc receiver on 4830 sprayer with 2630 display.  The display had an error message of no GPS signal and couldn’t be accepted to move to another screen.  It ended up being software.   Receiver would work on another display, so I loaded software on that first and then was able to get the customers display to acknowledge and also take new software

New 1790 planters will unfold with the rock shaft units in the raised position. Follow D-Tac solution 67973 and make adjustments as necessary. Lots of damage occurs when these are folded out with the units raised.

New 4038R set up finding a noise in the right front corner of the cab, following all solutions did not prove any results. Only seems to occur on rougher roads and only while going down- hill. We delivered to Customer and they are aware of the problem and will continue to monitor. Have also entered a D-Tac case.

AMS Report 3.29.14

by Josh Zuck

The weather is still not our friend and there is still a lot of frost in the ground. A few guys have applied some fertilizer, but can only run a few hours in the morning before the ground thaws out.

Teke Heinschel, Sales Represantive at Lanark, has been keeping busy mapping field boundaries for RTK customers. He has around 2500 acres done with another 11,000 to go. Customers up this way don’t have any square fields and a lot of waterways.  In fields like this, RTK can pay for its self in 1 year and customers can really see the seed savings when it comes to RTK.

We held a customer silage clinic in Verona, WI and had a very good turnout.  The discussions centered around the Kernel Processor and Deere’s Kernel Star vs. Shredlage.

We also held a sprayer clinic in Monroe and had another great customer turn out. Hy-pro had a rep from their company that attended along with a rep from Firestone tire.  The Firestone rep did a tire pressure discussion along with a tire contact board that showed footprint differences under different tire pressure settings.  The Hy-pro rep brought up a sprayer boom simulator that represented a sprayer boom with clear plastic pipe to show how little water the boom had in it during operation (half air and half water).  He also had a version that had the new end cap aspirators on it to show how they operate.  The air in the boom is what causes the nozzles to slowly build a pattern and also has a weak turn on and off time.  Customers were very impressed when they saw the difference in the tip flow and how that would apply the correct amount of product where they wanted.   It and also greatly improved on and off times. Cuba City had three customers agree to put them on their sprayers.  We have done one install already and we have the special tools to do both high flow and standard flow if anyone also needs to do them in the shop.

Joe Brunker, Product Support Specialist at Monroe, WI, ran into an issue with Apex where the RX acres were not correct. Some were ½ off and some were 1/3 off. Deere is aware of the issue but no fix at this time. They said it should not affect planting.

Installs are underway and we have been doing a lot of rate controllers on NH3 bars along with all different kinds of liquid fertilizer systems on planters. Customers are still pricing new and used AMS equipment.

The northern stores will be getting the RTK towers finished up next week with the help of a few guys down south coming up to assist with the install.

I installed an Auto Trac controller in a T9.390 NH 4wd yesterday. It went very quick and was easy to install.  These  Auto Trac controllers have really sparked some interest this year. You can utilize the other brands ISO connector and harness for the most part and it is a very clean set up, especially for customer that have a red tractor and a John Deere Planter.

Row units are still coming in to get ran on the test stand. Make sure that all the brand new planters that we sell to send to the stores that have the test stands. Every new meter has needed adjustments to achieve the best spacing.  Just remember that the row units don’t come ready to plant from the factory.