Harvest ’14 is pretty much a wrap in IL and WI. Here are some more pictures from the past month taken by Sloan Implement Product Support Specialists.
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.
Over the past week the Southwestern Wisconsin corn crop has progressed very quickly. We went from being able to still apply fertilizer last week to being fully canopied in a week. Beans are still really short, but haven’t had much in the way of stressors or insect pressure yet this year. On June 7th we started out the first 2510L applicator that the Cuba City store had sold. The 2510L was a 15 row with a mole knife for placing the nitrogen below the surface. The customer was very impressed with the speed that it was able to run without having soil “blowouts” in his field, and also how accurate the rates were. As with any nitrogen application, it is crucial to apply exactly the amount that you want to apply where you want to apply it and also at the correct time for the plant’s needs. In addition, the applicator was very easy to set up and run due to the John Deere GS2 rate controller being ordered out of the factory.
On June 14th, Cuba City had their annual Home Town Fest which includes two nights of tractor and truck pulls, amusement rides and also a parade. The parade has been a crowd favorite with hundreds of spectators every year. This year Sloan’s had a five pieces of equipment to showcase, including a 550 S-4 gator, a new R4030 sprayer, a 6170R tractor with 946 discbine, a 9360R tractor with 2720 disk ripper, and a W235 self-propelled windrower with a 995 16’ head. Parade goers enjoyed seeing the big new green equipment, even going as far as stopping me en-route and asking what a windrower does. It just goes to show how disconnected from agriculture people have become even in a small rural community such as Cuba City. Everyone in agriculture needs to go the extra mile and promote all the hard work we do, and just what kind of investment and commitment it takes to keep feeding the world. Pictures from the parade can be on Sloan’s Facebook page by clicking here.
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.
Planting has pretty much finished up in Northern IL. There are still a few beans to be put in, but customers are getting a crop of hay off their last year alfalfa before tearing it up and planting some late beans. Weather has been hot and dry for the most part, with a few shots of rain here and there to help get the corn out of the ground. Corn and beans are looking great so far. Some side dressing will be starting next week along with second spraying on corn.
With the corn being up, I have had the chance to visit with customers in their fields, checking section control settings, seed population, and looking for any issues that can be fixed before next year.
These pictures show the difference between fields planted with and without row clutches.
You can see how the row clutches really can save you money. Farmers of any size can benefit from the input cost savings as well as increased yields. Don’t let anyone tell you that the clutches never pay for themselves. These pictures say it all.
Spraying has been going full bore in Northern IL. I have had the chance to calibrate the section control settings on several of the new R series sprayers. John Deere changed their theory of operation on section control about a year ago. If you are having an issue with gaps in your coverage maps, especially with GS3 2630’s follow these steps:
1. To set the on and off times, set the sprayer to manual pressure and have a stop watch handy. Start the solution pump, and use the stop watch to check the time from when you hit the master to when the spray comes out of the nozzles. Let’s say it is 1.1 sec. This is your turn on time.
2. Turn on your master so flow is coming out of the nozzles and use the stop watch again to check the time that it takes from when you hit the master and the flow stops from the nozzles, let’s say it is .8 sec. This is your turn off time. So your turn on time is 1.1 and turn off is .8 sec.
3. Now in your section control settings, go to overlap settings and set your coverage overlap to % overlap. 100% overlap would shut the booms off as soon as it hits the covered area. Usually you want a little bit of overlap with a sprayer and it also depends on your speed. 1% equals 1 foot. Usually setting this to 103% works well. If you have any issues or need help setting this up please contact our call center at 217 693 6209 and they can walk you through it.
Hay making has also started up north with first crop hay. The new 569 balers are running great. One thing to make sure is that if you have a coverage baler and are running edge to edge net wrap, you need to make sure you have the spacers for the edge to edge net wrap in, otherwise the net wrap can walk from side to side and potentially rip the net wrap. Contact your local Sloan’s parts department to get these spacers, part number 567PLUG.
Sloan’s will be doing baler demos this summer, if you are thinking about a new baler contact a Sloan Implement salesman to set up a time to do a demo on your farm.
Lastly, make sure to get your planters in for service inspections. Service inspections are the best insurance for your farm. We will clean them out and get them ready for next spring. We have a really good service inspection going on now and details can be found here. We will also run your row units on our state of the art test stand and make any repairs necessary. This way you have confidence next spring that you are ready to go to the field when the conditions are right.
If you are walking your fields and see that you had a row not performing the way it should be, bring it in to Sloan’s and we can test the meter and diagnose the problem. I would recommend testing your row units every year. They may look ok, but you won’t know until the corn comes up. Always remember that your combine is useless without a crop. Your planter is the most important piece of equipment on your farm and you only have one chance to make good yields!
The majority of the crops have been planted in the Central IL area. A few customers are still finishing soybeans and with the current weather forecast should be finishing up with those by next week. Several customers have been side dressing with liquid and fast bars. I have seen a couple of height switches that were out of adjustment and it is always a good first place to look when having problems with product application. You can find the height switch status under the book and wrench tab in the rate controller in the readings drop down box. It will read “Switches/Status”.
I have spoken with several customers that are still having issues with section control setup and offsets. It is very important to double check your equipment offsets throughout the season and make sure that the measurements you have input are staying there every time you cycle the key when using the R series tractors. I suggest taking a picture of them with your phone or writing them down on a piece of paper you can leave in the armrest for quick reference upon start up. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon but for now it is better to be safe than sorry.
I have also seen two instances where the connector pictured below causes problems with correct operation of equipment. Once on a 1770NT 24 row, the connector was just not pushed together enough and was causing intermittent problems on the GS3 display and not allowing proper operation of the planter. The second situation was on a new 2510L that the customer had just taken home and was preparing to use. The customer put water in the tank and attempted operation of the tool and the valves would not turn on allowing proper product application. Examination of the connector and a tug on the wires pulled the ground wire out. After proper replacement of the wire and insuring the connector was pushed together well, the tool worked just like it was supposed to. This connector is found on many John Deere machines and on the rate controller harness. The last situation was on a rate controller harness.
We have experienced multiple 9R’s having Receivers (SF3000 & ITC), Autotrac, etc stop working. This is a result of water in the two connectors behind the scv’s causing loss of the implement bus. We have had luck with just cleaning them out, however Deere recommends you replace the back half of the harness.
Documentation continues to be an issue, especially getting everything filled out correctly in order to get the display to record. Remember to only have one tab open under your documentation icon on a GS2 or GS3. You do not want multiple tabs open unless you are doing multiple operations at once, like planting and putting on starter. I actually had one instance where the swath control icon had disappeared from the display. This was in a 4830 sprayer and a GS3 display and was the result of having too many tabs open at once. The tab associated with the sprayer was disabled which caused the swath icon to disappear.
I also had an issue with one Starfire 3000 receiver. It was throwing a code saying “SF3000 Loss of Communication with GPS Engine.” The receiver would not pick up signal so the customer could not autotrac. There is a Dtac case on the issue(97286) however I was able to update software on the receiver to the latest version and this solved the problem. You can find the current software versions here.