PERSPECTIVE Last week, I (and virtually all of my ag media comrades from across the country) got the opportunity see the unveiling of new and soon-to-come equipment, software, and connectivity offerings from John Deere. Representatives of the company called it possibly the biggest rollout of new products in the company’s history. Given the company’s storied history, I’m sure that could generate some strong debate at the coffee shop, but there certainly was a lot to chew on.
For the dealers in attendance, there was a lot of enthusiasm for the line-filling products that will generate additional sales. But I was particularly impressed with improvements that will, if employed properly, enhance the use of precision agriculture. In particular, the functionality of the transmission is becoming increasingly flexible and automatic, allowing the operator to focus on tasks and not on the speed and efficiency of the equipment.
For example, the new R4045 sprayer features a redesigned CommandARM with integrated GreenStar 3 CommandCenter display to improve control for the operator. And a cruise control feature allows the system to automatically control the vehicle to the operator’s target speed when the operator sets the engine speed and hydro handle at maximum positions.
I got the chance to ride in one of the new 6D Series Tractors to try out one of the two new transmission offerings, a 12/12 PowrReverser or optional 24/12 PowrReverser Hi/Lo. The technology provides more speeds within each working range, allowing operators to shift on the go to match field conditions and to keep RPMs constant for PTO-driven equipment.
The hulking 9 series features an improved e18 PowerShift transmission with what Deere calls the Efficiency Manager. This feature is designed to increase machine fluid efficiency and operator productivity. And increased hydraulic flow – to 115 gpm – gives tractors more capacity to better manage large implements.
From my view, anything that simplifies the operation of a machine will also improve how effectively the operator can perform other tasks in the cab, including managing the functionality of precision equipment and the collection of field data.