ActiveYield Retrofit Kits for John Deere S-Series Combines

ActiveYield Retrofit Kits Available Now
ActiveYield Retrofit Kits Available for this S670

by Matt Sweitzer, Atwood, IL 

Although the first official day of summer is a few days away we are experiencing some very warm temperatures around central Illinois. With highs in the 90’s and considerable amounts of rainfall recently, the crops are growing fast! Harvest will be here before we know it so now is a great time to think about upgrading your S-series combine!

In 2018, John Deere introduced the ActiveYield automatic yield calibration system as a factory option with the ability to retrofit back to 2012 and newer S-series combines. For many years we have had the ability to map our yields however the calibration process is critical for yield accuracy. On all S-series combines in the past, getting accurate yield readings meant collecting multiple calibration loads, manually weighing these loads with scales on a wagon or at the elevator, then inputting these weight values back into the display.  Though this process can be very accurate if completed correctly, it could also prove to be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating for new users.  As crop conditions such as moisture change throughout the season, this process had to be repeated to maintain accuracy.

With the introduction of the ActiveYield system, we no longer have the frustration of the multipoint yield calibration process!  ActiveYield eliminates time-consuming manual calibrations and replaces them with automated sensors that calibrate the machine by measuring the grain as the tank fills. This enables decisions to be made in real-time without leaving the cab while providing more accurate yield mapping data.  These automated sensors are scale pads mounted on the cross auger covers in the grain tank.

Scale Pads Mounted on the Cross Auger Covers

Scale Pads Mounted on the Cross Auger Covers

This exciting new system requires very little user input since it is designed to perform calibrations on the fly while harvesting. There are several precautions built into the software to maintain the accuracy of the system.  Any pitch or roll of the machine over 4 degrees of levelness measured by the Starfire receiver (SF3000 or SF6000) will cancel a calibration load that is in process. This amount of pitch or roll can cause the pile of grain to shift on the sensors resulting in inaccurate readings. The system will also reject a load that has inconsistent grain flow due to waterways and headlands, drastic changes in speed, or inconsistent crop conditions.  If a load is rejected, a new calibration load automatically starts once the grain is below the cross auger sensors.  The operator can monitor the active yield system on the combine’s Greenstar display to see the quality of the calibration, the number of accepted loads, and current status.

Active Yield Calibration Screen

Active Yield Calibration Screen

To sum it up, ActiveYield will save the operator time while improving yield data accuracy. When paired with a JDLink Connect subscription, your ActiveYield maps can be automatically sent to the Operations Center in MyJohnDeere.com and you can access your accurate yield data within minutes of finishing the field.  We had the opportunity to see a few limited production machines in the field with active yield in 2017 and the results were excellent.  See your local Sloan Implement dealer today for more information on compatibility and pricing on a retrofit kit for your machine!

At this time the ActiveYield retrofit kit is compatible with all S670, S770, S680, S780, S690, and S790 combines.  It is not compatible with S550, S650, S660, & S760’s with manual grain tank extension.

If you have an older 60 or 70 series machine, you can trade up to an S-series combine to take advantage of an ActiveYield retrofit kit for the upcoming harvest.

Click to view our used S660 combines

Click to view our used S670 combines

Click to view our used S680 combines

Click to view our used S690 combines

Also ActiveYield supports the following crops:  Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Canola, and Barley.

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

 

Common Wear Parts on a John Deere ExactEmerge High Speed Planter

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

John Deere’s ExactEmerge Planter has completed another successful spring planting season.  The productivity, seed placement, and uptime of these planters are impressive when compared to even the most stringent of standards.  This is the 4th season for ExactEmerge Planters and John Deere has continuously improved this product.  In this post, we will review some of these improvements and after four years we have a good feeling for the wear life of the planter components.

First, we will look at the new meter housing wear pad pictured below.  Starting in 2018, this wear pad is made out of a new ceramic material.  In previous years it was made out of the same metal material as the housing.  Prior to the change, this proved to be an annual replacement item.  If not replaced annually, the bowl would begin to wear into the housing during the second planting season.  The new ceramic wear pad pictured below is from a 16-row planter that planted over 3200 acres this spring.  As you can see, there is very little wear and the wear dimple is still clearly visible.  These ceramic wear pads retrofit back to previous model year ExactEmerge Planters.  This is a nice improvement by Deere and was factory installed starting in 2018.

New Meter Housing Ceramic Wear Pad

The next item we will cover is the lower pulley assembly.  In 2017, John Deere changed the design of this assembly and assembly cover.  In the picture below, the bottom pulley is the older style and the top one is the newer style and it is shown installed in the brush housing.  Notice the front or lower portion of the older style.  It has a plastic lip that the newer one does not as shown by the arrow.  John Deere removed this lip since crop material could build up between the brush and the housing wall, causing the brush to stall and even causing undue wear on the brush.  This was noticed mostly in soybeans.  The new assembly is opened up to allow excess debris collected by the brush to discharge automatically.  This new style is retrofittable to older model ExactEmerge Planters, but you will also need to replace the lower cover as well.

The top picture is the new style assembly

A common wear issue with the lower pulley assembly is the outer lip of the lower idler.  We have seen some of the lower idlers with the outer lip worn completely off.  This will cause the belt to come off track and potentially damage the brush belt.

Worn outer lip of the lower idler

New lower idler

The wear in the top picture has happened after several thousand acres, but should be a part of your postseason or pre-season inspection to make sure you don’t have a thin outer lip on the lower idler.  The new lower pulley assembly does not have any changes to address this issue.  Again, this doesn’t start to show until after many, many acres.  One of the symptoms you may encounter with this issue is a row starting to plant low, especially in soybeans.  Upon inspection of the brush (see pic below) you will notice that the brush is shifted to the edge of the idler and the worn outer lip has cut into the brush and reduced its width.  This will prevent a crisp and efficient handoff of the seed from the meter to the brush and some seeds will “free fall” in the brush module.

The reduced width of brush belt

One of the most common questions is, “How long do the brushes last?”  Of course, this depends on the environment they have worked in as well as the care they have received.  We are seeing an average brush lifespan of 12,000 acres on a 24 row planter.  We have seen some last significantly longer and some significantly less.  Again, the care received and the exposed environment will have a large impact on the brush life, but 12,000 acres can be used as a normal wear guide.  The symptom of a worn brush is low population on that row, again which is especially noticeable in beans.

The last thing to pay attention to is the sensor installation which should be properly inserted into the sensor slot.   We have seen when these sensors are incorrectly installed they can cause a false “double” and false high population.  It will also significantly impact seed spacing.  Notice in the first pic that there is a tab on the stainless steel wear strip.  If this tab is outside of the sensor slot, the seed will hit the tab and move back in front of the sensor eye causing the false double and false high population.  The lower picture show the correct sensor installation.

Incorrectly Installed Seed Sensor

Correctly Installed Seed Sensor

Hopefully, you have picked up some tips as you inspect your ExactEmerge Planter before putting it in the shed for next year.  Always remember to remove the seed disks from the seed meter and remove the brush from the brush module for winter storage.  Also, don’t forget to check out our planter videos on www.sloans.com for more information.

Thanks,

Lucas

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

 

New Video: Setting up Seedstar 4HP on a 2018 John Deere Planter

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

In this video, product support specialist Lucas Veale walks you through the features of the new John Deere Seedstar 4HP planter monitor available on model year 2018 planters.

 

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

How to Winterize your Final Tier 4 Engines and DEF Tanks

In Memory of Austin Shellhause

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Canadian air has definitely arrived in central Illinois.  With this cooler air, attention is needed for the storage and care of any DEF fluid.  DEF fluid should be stored inside and at a temperature that will remain fairly constant, preferably above 40 degrees.  If you have John Deere machines that will be stored in cold storage for the winter, make sure you allow the DEF pump to stop running before you turn off the battery switch.  This allows the pump to evacuate the lines of any DEF fluid and bring it back into the tank.  DEF freezes at 12 degrees.  The tank has a coolant line running through it that will thaw the DEF out if the vehicle is needed to be operated during cold weather.  There is no provision, however, to warm the DEF lines that feed the exhaust treatment system.  This is why the pump needs to be allowed to run and evacuate the lines.  It evacuates the lines automatically when you turn the key off.  You can hear the pump running for about 45-60 seconds after the key is turned off and the pump will then shut off.  It is safe to turn off the battery switch once the pump stops running.  It is ok to leave the DEF in the vehicle tank in cold weather.  There is no need to drain it.  The coolant lines will thaw the DEF if needed.  With some basic common sense care, DEF has a good shelf life and should cause few problems.  Contamination by foreign material is the most common issue.  Failure to keep the cap on the bulk and vehicle tank and failure to maintain clean handling equipment are the most common occurrences.

4 Tips For Winterizing:

  • DEF freezes at 12° F. If your DEF is located outside move it to a warm, dry location if possible.
  • If your shop or garage does not have room to accommodate your totes, invest in a DEF shelter or heated tote blanket to prevent your DEF from freezing.
  • When DEF freezes it will expand approximately 7%. To avoid tote and drum ruptures, leave room for expansion.

Sloan Implement offers many different options to store and handle DEF fluid.  See your local Sloan parts department for pricing and options available or you can find out more online at sloans.com.

John Deere engines in large tractors and combines will burn from 3-8 gallons of DEF per fuel tank fill on average depending on the application and horsepower of the machine.  The John Deere vehicles equipped with a Cummins engine will burn substantially more DEF due to different methods used to deal with the emissions from the engine.

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

 

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

 

AMS Report 3.7.2014

by Lucas Veale

Wireless Data Transfer continues to be a hot topic.  Customers are asking about adding this to their R-Series tractors for spring.  It is $700 per year if they do not currently have a JDLINK Ultimate subscription on the 8R.  They also will need to buy a $120 Ethernet cable.

Seed meter test stand is really gaining traction.  We have either completed or booked over 120 rows of meters in less than 1 month of owning the stand.  It has also allowed us to learn more about the meters and what field adjustments will help this spring.  The northern group also used it at their clinics and it helped sign up inspections and pro max 40 conversions.  We will do the same at our meetings next year.

AMS equipment sales have picked up momentum the past 2 weeks.  Displays, receivers, and rate controllers are leading the way.  Customers like the rate controllers to eliminate cab clutter and to allow them to document their application.  It also allows them to add swath control which is a huge benefit.  We have installed on toolbars, planter fertilizer units, and pull type sprayers.  Used equipment also remains a very hot commodity.

Atwood has been working with a wireless liquid flow blockage sensor system from John Blue.  This will alert the operator if a row has been plugged with debris and help to reduce skips that result from this blockage.  For more info, contact Dylan Vickers in Atwood, 217 578 2224.

We received some training on the new 2015 planters.  The new ExactEmerge planter will operate on a 56 volt system powered by a hydraulically driven alternator.  The reason for 56 volts is that anything over 75 volts is considered potentially lethal and would require some additional safety components.  The higher the voltage the lower the amperage which means we are able to use smaller wires to run the electric drive motors.  The new 3HD monitor should have an easy transition for customers already used to Seedstar XP.  They stressed to us the horsepower requirements would be substantially higher due to the higher ground speeds.  A 24 row will require an 8360R with a 60 gpm pump and could struggle in hills to maintain 10 mph.  The brush belt seed delivery system seemed simple and easy to service.  The same could be said for the meter components.  We will have the ExactEmerge planter at the Expo.

When attaching newer planter to R-Series tractors it is a good practice to make sure that the tractor has the latest software on the controllers if you notice slow response or have to go through multiple key cycles to get the planter and tractor to communicate.  Also make sure that the planter is at least version 17 (18 is the latest but 17 works well) if model year 2011 or later.  Version 10 is required for ’09-’10.  Generic serial numbers are A01700B000000 or ’09-’10.  1A01700AAAA000000 is correct for 2011-14.

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