Spray Efficiency Counts

Jim Patrico
By  Jim Patrico , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
The six-nozzle ExactApply system offers spray flexibility and accuracy. (Progressive Farmer photo provided by the manufacturer)

At a time when every advantage is important, John Deere has announced some new sprayer options aimed at improving efficiency and speed.

A multinozzle system named "ExactApply" makes changing spray nozzles easy. Just turn the six-nozzle body structure to choose the right nozzle for the situation. The nozzles are in pairs, so the operator has three choices. The pairing allows for a wider range of coverage while keeping consistent droplet size.

After the manual selection, in-cab controls take over. "ExactApply is fully integrated with the GreenStar 2630 Display and SprayStar, making it compatible with the entire suite of John Deere precision and data-management products," Doug Felter, John Deere product marketing manager said.

Key to the system is two solenoids on each nozzle body. When using the pulse width modulation (PWM) feature to control spray output, the solenoids open and close rapidly to change the amount of time the nozzle is active in proportion to vehicle speed. An operator can use just one solenoid per nozzle body if he chooses. But using both solenoids increases the number of pulses per second—and thus, the speed and accuracy—PWM can give. The solenoids also give the operator full variable-rate and shutoff capability on individual nozzles. This can maximize use of expensive spray materials while targeting application more efficiently and safely through more consistent spray droplets.

ExactApply will be available beginning in June 2017 for John Deere 4 Series Sprayers.

AutoTrac. Deere offers two more options for keeping sprayer tires between rows. AutoTrac RowSense uses a familiar touch system, much like guidance systems used on combines. A sensor paddle installed on a sprayer wheel communicates with the machine's auto guidance system to keep the sprayer between the rows. RowSense is approved for corn and best used when crops are at least 4 feet high.

AutoTrac Vision is for earlier season applications. It uses a camera to detect crops that are at least 6 inches tall until they are almost canopied. Like AutoTrac RowSense, it "talks" to the sprayer's auto guidance system to keep the machine's tire centered in the row.

Both systems reduce crop damage, enable the operator to run confidently at higher speeds with little manual steering and help lower driver fatigue.

AutoTrac RowSense and AutoTracVision are available as kits on John Deere 4 Series sprayers.

Carbon Fiber Booms. Deere is testing carbon fiber technology with an Argentine company and may eventually bring carbon fiber/Kevlar booms to North America. King Agro has sold carbon fiber booms in Brazil for about 6 years. Widths run from 100 to 150 feet.

Though not yet available in the U.S., King Agro boasts its booms are 5.5 times lighter than steel, do not corrode and are easy to repair. Advantages include less compaction and a longer product life.

(BAS)

Jim Patrico