A John Deere AMS specialist based in northwest Indiana and a progressive local farmer tweaked an air clutch planter system and came up with a way to add swath control to anhydrous ammonia toolbars.
The technology, which makes swath control in anhydrous application toolbars a reality, now works with Ag Leader’s Insight controller. “We have had a lot of interest in this but have just now got the adapter harness designed,” says Brian Duffy, a John Deere dealer who has been working on the design. “We had very good luck with our systems this spring and received a lot of positive feedback. We are very close to offering a connection to the TeeJet boom pilot system as well.”
The story announcing this technology initially ran in PrecisionAg eNews in February, 2009. The entire story on the technology follows:
There are no limits to the possibilities when smart folks put their heads together to try new things and solve problems. Brian Duffy and Steve Peterson are two such folks. The two came up with a system to make swath control in anhydrous ammonia toolbars a reality, and the product is being manufactured and distributed under the name Precision Fertilizer Control Systems.
Duffy is the AMS specialist for Castongia’s, a multi-store John Deere Dealership in northwest Indiana. Duffy earned his stripes in the cooperative system, working his way up to agronomy manager before doing stints at American Cyanamid and Beck’s Hybrids. Peterson farms with his father, Mike, and consistently have been among the most progressive growers in the area. Last spring the two tested an idea for anhydrous application: they took a John Deere GS2 Swath Pro/Rate Controller that was being used on a corn planter with the Tru Count air-clutch system and adapted it to their anhydrous ammonia toolbar.
“While the toolbar was not configured into individual sections, Steve and Mike and were still very pleased with the performance of the system,” says Duffy. And, they felt they realized a substantial savings due to the reduction of overlaps.”
When they compared applied acres with planted acres, they got a very pleasant surprise. “The Petersons have a 16 row John Deere planter with 8 GPS sections, (2- 30 inch rows), and their anhydrous toolbar is a 17-knife unit with 30-inch spacing,” explains Duffy. “In all fields, even with the GPS controlling the whole anhydrous bar, maps showed 3% to 4% more applied acres than planted acres. So far we are realizing 5-8% cost savings when using GPS and our valve system.”
After determining that Duffy could design a harness, Steve Peterson started researching valves that would withstand the rigors of field work. Electronic valves were considered, but proved too cumbersome and expensive, and are limited by a minimum cycle of 2 seconds. The air valve option — used for industrial gasses in manufacturing processes — could deliver the size and durability needed. “They also allow us to mount the valves in-line and very near the knife, which means a more precise control of flow when the valve cycles,” says Duffy. “And, the cycle time with these air valves is immediate.”
For their commercial offering, Duffy says that they have tried to design the system and mounting brackets to be very flexible, portable and easy to install. “We have combined some of the components such as the air compressor and supply tank as one unit. These features allow the customer to quickly install even on rental toolbars, and require a smaller footprint for use on mounted tool bars which have limited space.”
Another feature of the valves would allow for manual operation in case of system failure. “One other minor but much appreciated feature is the addition of the adjustable bright yellow ‘flag’ mounted into the stem of the valve which allows a visual confirmation of valve cycle from the tractor seat,” notes Duffy.
The product is currently being marketed either direct or through John Deere Dealerships.