John Deere’s new system optimizes liquid fertilizer at planting

Factory-installed ExactRate precisely monitors and controls inputs

Now, more than ever, optimizing inputs is key to maintaining a successful farm business, and multiple companies are rolling out new technologies to help. John Deere’s newest addition is ExactRate, a factory-installed, liquid fertilizer system that precisely monitors and controls the application of liquid fertilizer during planting.

ExactRate gives operators row-by-row section control to help reduce fertilizer costs and the amount of chemicals applied by shutting off application in areas of overlap or non-application. It also offers a warning system to alert producers if any nozzles are plugged or otherwise not applying what they should.

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ExactRate gives operators row-by-row section control to help reduce fertilizer costs and the amount of chemicals applied by shutting off application in areas of overlap or non-application. It also offers a warning system to alert producers if any of the nozzles are plugged or otherwise not applying what they should.

“Those that use fertilizer at the time of planting will see this as a big step forwards,” says Ryan Hough, marketing manager for planting and seeding for John Deere. “What this allows John Deere to do is to offer a factory-installed system. We introduced the ExactEmerge planter in 2015. Now, we’re able to match up our fertilizer application system with the capability of those planters and at speeds from four miles per hour all the way up to 10 miles per hour.”

ExactRate compensates for both commanded rate changes and speed changes. It also provides curve compensation. This helps ensure growers apply the right rates across their fields, including entry and exit of headlands. Hough hopes this technology’s availability means additional producers consider fertilizing at planting.

“In the past, (fertilizer was applied) at one rate across the planter and it was basically set for one speed. ExactRate allows producers to put fertilizer right beside the seed at exactly the right rate regardless of curves or speed, which allows them to hit nearly all the 4R Principles of Nutrient Stewardship: the right product, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.”

ExactRate borrows technology — both architecture and components — from John Deere’s sprayers, says Hough. “What we’re doing is leveraging knowledge from our sprayer side and using it on our planter, and tying into our Gen 4 Seed Star system for display technology from the cab. Everything is documented in the display, which can be shared to the Cloud and then shared to John Deere’s Operation Centre.”

ExactRate is compatible with select models of John Deere planters with electric drive including the 1775NT, 1795, DB60, DB44 and DB66 planters. Due to its hydraulic-driven pump, ExactRate can be operated at speeds up to 10 miles per hour (16 kilometres per hour), enabling operators to plant up to 5.9 more acres per hour, said John Deere in a company press release.

ExactRate apps are fully compatible with the John Deere 4640 Universal Display and 4600 CommandCenter and provide in-cab flow detection and in-field documentation for operators.

“To me, the biggest benefits of ExactRate are that we’re matching the capability and performance to our ExactEmerge planter, it’s factory installed and easy to operate, it’s a consistent interface across all of our line, and you can have confidence in the accuracy: it’s an accurate rate but also with our blockage protection, you know you’re putting out what you want. What we’ve done is put all of those benefits together in one package,” says Hough.

John Deere started taking orders for ExactRate last June, with shipments starting later this fall.

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