Machinery Link

Big Green Robot

John Deere R4038 Self-Propelled Sprayer (Progressive Farmer image by Dan Miller)

The 175,000 visitors walking into the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas, are bombarded with sound and light from 4,500 exhibitors. In the artificial intelligence and robotics area of the CES stood one big green machine. John Deere's R4038 self-propelled sprayer, with its 310-hp power plant under the hood and 1,000-gallon solutions tank on top, dwarfed the drone display across the crowded aisle.

Onlookers snapped selfies, posed in the cab and wandered under the length of the 120-foot boom. One visitor wondered aloud if this machine was full-size -- is it really this large in real life?

"We're here for a couple of key reasons," says Doug Sauder, director, digital product management and analytics at John Deere. "First to advocate on behalf of farmers and help educate the technology industry [about] the way technology is helping to protect and grow our food supply in a sustainable way, and doing that [with] many of the cutting-edge technologies found all over this show."

Second, Deere wants to show the tech industry that modern agriculture is a great application of technology -- that for workers in the tech industry, agriculture may represent a fulfilling career track. Much of the technology shown at the CES is conceptual, still in development. "But, what we are showing here is commercially available today and is in farmer's field today," Sauder explains.

Nancy Post, director of Deere's Intelligent Solutions Group, says the manufacturer's message is that technology is a leading focus at Deere. "John Deere is leveraging technology many can't [imagine]," she says. "We want everyone to know it. It's very compelling. We're here to solve a world problem, and we're doing that with technology, with artificial intelligence, with visioning technology."

Post tells visitors at the CES the sprayer is actually a very large robot. "We leverage our technology to prescribe at the plant level what is beneficial. We optimize our spraying. Sensors optimize the spray pattern and boom height," she says. With it, farmers can move about 20% faster through the field with less stress on the operator and with great accuracy.


Kinze Manufacturing, Williamsburg, Iowa, has released for 2021 its new "05 Series" planters and a new 4705, 24-row, 30-inch planter. The "05 Series" planters offer enhancements to increase wear life and simplify maintenance, including:

>row unit double parallel arm bushing with impregnated lubrication and double row bearing
disc openers

>high-efficiency vacuum fans

>redesigned bulk-fill seed-delivery system.

Kinze is also introducing a 24R30 configuration of the 4705 planter. It features tires in front of the toolbar in a front-fold configuration with 600 gallons of liquid fertilizer capacity.

For more information, visit


The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has given two AE50 awards to John Deere. Winning products are recognized for ingenuity in product development and for saving producers time, costs and labor while improving safety.

The first award is for the LS475. It is a liquid application system option for Deere's F4365 High-Capacity Nutrient Applicator. Designed in collaboration with Hagie, the LS475 Liquid System features a 2,000-gallon tank that can be rapidly filled at 300 gallons per minute and a 90-foot, seven-section auto-fold boom.

The second award is for Deere's N500C Series Air Drill. New technologies added to the N500C Air Drills include John Deere ActiveCal tank scales for on-the-go seeding calibration, Relative Flow blockage for row-to-row seed-flow monitoring, TruSet downforce and the SeederPlus app for meter calibration and weight monitoring for tank scales.


Kinze has developed a high-speed electric meter and seed tube that provides row-crop farmers accurate seed placement at speeds up to 12 mph. Sold by the name True Speed, Kinze plans to have the units in place for the 2021 planting season.

"The meter will do 12 mph," says Eric Broadbent, Kinze director of sales for North America. "But, not everyone will want to go that fast." Key is control, he explains. True Speed brings accurate singulation no matter seed shape or size, and consistent spacing to the planter at speeds from 3 to 12 mph. "[Farmers] want the speed to match all aspects of planting, seeds and planting conditions from no-till to full tillage," Broadbent says.

The system was developed in cooperation with Ag Leader Technology, Ames, Iowa, which will market the meter and seed tube as SureSpeed, also for the 2021 planting season.

For more information, visit


Case IH has expanded its tillage lineup with the new Speed-Tiller high-speed disk. Case says the Speed-Tiller is a true dual-season tool for primary and secondary tillage. The tiller comes as a result of the company's acquisition of the Australian agriculture implement manufacturer K-Line Ag, the No. 1 tillage manufacturer in Australia.

The Speed-Tiller will be offered in two models. The Speed-Tiller 465 high-speed disk is a rigid mounted model, and the Speed-Tiller 475 high-speed disk offers a trailing configuration. Producers can select between three conditioner attachments to achieve the field finish that best fits their fields: crumbler roller, spring conditioner and rubber roller.

For more information, visit


Raven Industries Inc. has purchased majority ownership of DOT Technology Corp., a leading supplier of autonomous agriculture solutions.

"Their team has developed an impressive system that, alongside Raven precision ag technology, we believe will play a major role in the future of autonomous agriculture," says Brian Meyer, division vice president of Raven Applied Technology.

DOT designs and manufactures a unique U-shaped diesel-powered platform designed to handle a large variety of agriculture implements through autonomous technology. It makes use of what it calls accurate
path planning technology to complete a variety of
tasks autonomously.

For more information, visit


Farmers operating mixed-brand fleets of machinery will soon be able to exchange and view machine data through a secure and common interface called DataConnect. In addition, they will be able to control and monitor their entire machinery fleet using their preferred telematics platform without having to switch portals or manually transfer data from one system to another.

DataConnect enables automatic and real-time exchange of important machine data between machine brand platforms. Producers operating Deere, CLAAS, New Holland, Case IH or STEYR brand farm equipment will be able to access and view basic machine data elements, including current and historical machine location, current fuel tank level, working status and forward speed from these connected machines via the portal of their choice. These include the John Deere Operations Center, AFS Connect, MyPLM Connect, CLAAS TELEMATICS or 365FarmNet portals.


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