Keeping Implements On The Row

Implements

At InfoAg 2007, Iowa farmer Clay Mitchell gave a talk about the “practice” of farming. His main point was that like the athlete that practices to improve his skills and achieve better results, the grower “practices” farming in order to develop the best possible techniques for achieving higher yield and greater efficiency.

Every year we’ve visited Mitchell since 2003, innovative, game-changing ideas and practices have been conceptualized, developed and tested at The Mitchell Farm.

Implement steering has been a focus of innovation, but in 2011, one of Mitchell’s projects was to fit his fleet of implements with finely tuned active automatic steering systems that deliver reliable, high-accuracy steering results both in the field and in transit. Manufacturers such as Case, John Deere, Topcon and Trimble offer passive and active steering systems with equipment, but “from the factory” offerings weren’t where Mitchell wanted them to be.

“We wanted to have the steering control acting on the wheel, and moving the implement like a rudder on a boat,” says Mitchell. “It’s common in potato farming, where you absolutely need to keep that implement on the row, but in grain farming it is still to come. I think it will be common eventually, but it’s not something manufacturers do yet.”

The enhanced steering is helping Mitchell two ways. From the storage shed to the field, maneuverability that used to be challenging if not impossible is vastly simplified when the implement steers in concert with the tractor and follows its every move. In the field, the implement sets up at the front of the row faster and with less error, and holds the row consistently throughout the field. In hilly terrain, it corrects more smoothly than its less responsive counterparts.

Mitchell says that once these more capable steering systems hit wider market, it will make it much more appealing for growers to employ strip till or no-till practices on their farms. “It’s especially true if you are doing corn on corn, and you need to go down bet old rows,” he says. “If your planter is drifting all over, the practice is not going to work well.”

And the bigger the planter, the more potential for gremlins in the steering. So when the Mitchells invested in their 24-row planter, Mitchell says now that he “could not even use it without implement steering. I know guys with really flat ground that claim to do fine without it, but I don’t know how they are really doing.”

Implements have become more “friendly” to making the steering modifications that Mitchell has designed. Some come with hinges that are steerable, while others feature wheels affixed to metal axles that can be removed and replaced. Unlike the old experimental days at the Mitchell Farm, Mitchell is custom building designs that can bolt on, rather than being welded on. “We were losing a lot of resale value by changing equipment permanently,” he says. “Now we build things that simply replace what’s there, so we can easily swap it out for the original equipment if we decide to sell it.

Solid axle designs have been swapped out for what Mitchell calls an “automotive” design, which puts the steering pivot at the end of the axle next to the tire. Wheels with hinges, like the Case planter, can be steered by ganging the wheel control with bars attached to a hydraulic pump that responds to a GPS signal when in the field, or manually in transit. The steering control is plugged directly into the tractor’s hydraulics, providing coordinated steering.

Mitchell sees more accurate implement steering as a technology that will be virtually standard issue in implements in the next couple of years, and farmers will get tremendous benefit from the agronomic and efficiency benefits that the technology provides.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Equipment Stories
BusinessSentera Joins Forces With Another Drone Distributor
September 13, 2016
Sentera has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Dynamic UAV Solutions North America, LLC, a new distributor in the commercial Read More
eBee SQ Drone
EquipmentsenseFly Launches High Precision, Large Coverage eBee SQ Drone
August 31, 2016
Swiss professional drone manufacturer, senseFly, expanded its portfolio today with the launch of the new eBee SQ fixed-wing agricultural drone. Read More
Automonous Tractor
EquipmentAutonomous Solutions, CNH Industrial Unveil Concept Autonomous Tractors
August 30, 2016
Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) and CNH Industrial have announced the unveiling of concept autonomous tractors. ASI is CNH Industrial’s technology Read More
John Deere ExactApply
EquipmentJohn Deere Introduces ExactApply Nozzle Control For Sprayers
August 30, 2016
Producers and ag service providers can gain greater accuracy over their spray applications with John Deere ExactApply intelligent nozzle control Read More
Trending Articles
Ian Yule, ISPA
ResearchLeading Ag Technology Researcher Appointed ISPA President
September 26, 2016
Massey University’s Professor Ian Yule, one of the world’s leading agri-tech researchers, has been voted president of the International Society Read More
Business2016 Farm Science Review: Talkin’ New Products, Education and Big Data
September 21, 2016
The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has become an annual rite of fall for Buckeye State growers, retailers and Read More
Mitchell Technical Institute students with drone
IntegratorsMTI Precision Ag Students Use Drone Technology
September 19, 2016
After weeks of sitting in the classroom, several Mitchell Technical Institute students were able to spend a few hours outside Read More
Robotics AGCO Fendt Guide Connect
Market ImpactReport: Ag Robots And Drones May Be A $10 Billion Market By 2022
September 7, 2016
Robots and drones have begun to quietly transform many aspects of agriculture. In fact, the IDTechEx Research report on Agricultural Read More
SDWG Bret Weisenburger
BusinessMZB Technologies, Climate FieldView Announce Data Integration for 2017 Season
September 6, 2016
MZB Technologies announces a data connectivity agreement with The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., providing increased precision agriculture Read More
Deere R4023 cab
BusinessReport: Smart Agriculture Market Worth $19 Billion By 2021
September 6, 2016
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Smart Agriculture Market – With Forecast (2016-2021)” report to their offering. Read More
Latest News
Sentera Rise Above
BusinessRise Above Selected To Resell Sentera Solutions Through…
September 28, 2016
Sentera, LLC, a global provider of remote sensing hardware and data management solutions signs a reseller agreement with Rise Above Read More
Western Canada Wheat field
DataFarmers Edge Partners With New Holland Dealer
September 28, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Mazergroup, North America’s largest Read More
A Satshot NDVIR analysis running on an iPad.
BusinessSatshot’s Landscout IOS Now API Linked With John …
September 28, 2016
Satshot’s Landscout IOS mobile software is now connected with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere’s API services. Landscout Read More
Ag Drone
BusinessDroneDeploy Launches Turbo Uploader
September 27, 2016
DroneDeploy today announced a new solution that addresses drone data portability challenges in remote areas that have Internet bandwidth constraints. Read More
FUSE Farm Graphic
DataAGCO Is Founding Member Of The DKE Data-Hub Initiative
September 26, 2016
AGCO Corp., a world-leading manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has announced its participation as a founding member of the DKE Read More
Ian Yule, ISPA
ResearchLeading Ag Technology Researcher Appointed ISPA Preside…
September 26, 2016
Massey University’s Professor Ian Yule, one of the world’s leading agri-tech researchers, has been voted president of the International Society Read More
BusinessADAPT Conversion Toolkit Making In Roads With Equipment…
September 22, 2016
A leading group of equipment manufacturers will soon release products that greatly enhance a grower’s ability to manage data across Read More
Business2016 Farm Science Review: Talkin’ New Products, Educati…
September 21, 2016
The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has become an annual rite of fall for Buckeye State growers, retailers and Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge Awarded $6.1M Investment From Sustainable …
September 21, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has announced that it will receive $6,107,563 Read More
BusinessGMO Aphids to Battle Weeds? It’s Not as Far Fetch…
September 21, 2016
No, I am not talking about optimizing aphids for a global agricultural armageddon. That would be silly. I’m talking about Read More
Young Corn Field
Best PracticesNitrogen: The Key to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
September 20, 2016
Precision ag can play a key role in reducing agriculture’s impact on greenhouse gases by limiting the nitrogen rate. Read More
W. Wade Robey, Raven
Industry NewsRaven Adds New Director Of Engineering
September 19, 2016
W. Wade Robey, Ph.D., joined Raven Applied Technology in August 2016 as Director of Engineering. In this role, he leads Read More
Mitchell Technical Institute students with drone
IntegratorsMTI Precision Ag Students Use Drone Technology
September 19, 2016
After weeks of sitting in the classroom, several Mitchell Technical Institute students were able to spend a few hours outside Read More
BusinessOPINION: Climate Corp. is the Jewel in Bayer’s Monsanto…
September 15, 2016
PERSPECTIVE: Over the next few days and weeks in the ag media space the major players will examine this latest Read More
Sugarcane India
Market ImpactPlantations International Brings Precision Farming Tech…
September 14, 2016
Hong Kong-based plantation and farm management company Plantations International has announced it is moving its contact centre from the Indian Read More
Corn close up
Start-UpsLewis & Clark Ventures Raises $20 Million For Agric…
September 13, 2016
Lewis & Clark Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on Series A and B stage investments, has announced $20 million Read More
BusinessSentera Joins Forces With Another Drone Distributor
September 13, 2016
Sentera has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Dynamic UAV Solutions North America, LLC, a new distributor in the commercial Read More
New Zealand agriculture
Market ImpactPrecision Ag Technology Helping New Zealand Agriculture…
September 12, 2016
New Zealand has an enormous opportunity to use technology as a means to support the economic growth of its agri Read More