John Deere announces enhanced features of exciting new application controller


The new John Deere application controller, available as a ‘bolt-on’ or ‘after-market’ kit and compatible with a host of existing machinery, enables enhanced Active Implement Guidance (AIG), Distance Trip and iGrade.

Maintaining the best crop quality is often compromised by cropping practices that require multiple passes through fields. Each pass during the production cycle puts the crop at risk.

With the new upgraded John Deere AIG, “producers no longer have to worry about the final crop quality as both the machine and implement are operating on the A-B line,” says Wayne Spaumer, Product Specialist for Precision Agriculture, Sub-Sahara Africa at John Deere.

Moreover, AutoTrac™ assisted steering system paired with AIG allows operators to be more productive by allowing them to focus on tasks other than steering.

Using AutoTrac and AIG together greatly reduces the strain on the operator because the system accurately guides the implement to execute optimum passes, or accurately distribute seed or fertiliser by placing, “industry-leading implement control at the operator’s fingertips,” says Spaumer.

In addition, passive AutoTrac Implement Guidance allows machinery to travel off guidance lines, “meaning that no steering mechanism is needed to keep the implement on the intended path,” says Spaumer. This system is optimal for first-pass applications like pre-season nutrient dressing, tillage, planting and seeding, or strip-tilling. At the end of the season, the results are better crop quality and improved yield.

Other operator benefits of John Deere’s enhanced AIG include:

  • Closer monitoring of parts, enabling proactive – rather than reactive – maintenance.
  • Freeing the operator to look for obstacles such as rocks, washouts, or holes caused by broken tile lines.
  • The ability to turn the implement steering mechanism manually in tight spaces through simple fingertip controls.

All of these benefits result in, “more uptime for the equipment – and an operator who is more alert throughout the day,” says Spaumer.

Risk is also minimised when seed is planted with AIG. Precise seed placement provides a straighter path for subsequent passes throughout the season. Compaction and crop disturbance are also reduced as AIG keeps the implement and tractor on the same guidance path.

From November 2019, both the John Deere Application Controller 1100 and Application Controller 1120 were replaced with a new version of the hardware. This new hardware has resulted in improvements to several software applications.

Key improvements to Application Controller 1100 include:

  • Automation of machine guidance as well as hydraulic controls, unlocking multiple solutions via a StellarSupport™ portal activation.
  • The ability to perform land levelling and distance-based operations through automated hydraulic control enabled by iGrade™ and Distance Trip.
  • Location and precise tracking of implements via John Deere AIG and Plow Steer.
  • Removal of the need for external valves.

Key changes to AIG enables:

  • Plow Steer to adjust plow width, maintaining a selected centre point between guidance lines.
  • Vision cameras and specialty hitch designs to move cultivators in row crops.

Key changes to iGrade™ and Distance Trip include iGrade compatibility with up to three scrapers with elevation and slope control.

The John Deere enhanced AIG also enables Distance Trip to; create headland furrows in ditch irrigation, equidistant post holes for fencing operations, and plot-based alignments for seeding and spraying operations based on segment length. The new functionality also, “provides up to ten user-defined patterns with associated reference points including grid (90-degree, equilateral triangles, alternating rows, integrated angels), parallel lines, fence posts and plot pattern,” says Spaumer. Patterns may also use, “manually entered guidance line track spacing to synchronise application controller spacings,” he adds.

Furthermore, yield documentation enables producers to record harvest information from on-machine weight-based, harvesting operations. Typical uses include harvesting potatoes, onions, and beetroot. Thereafter, “data can be easily transferred to John Deere Operations Center via Wireless Data Transfer (WDT), JDLink or USB for further analysis around yield and agronomic impacts for nutrient removal and residue levels,” explains Spaumer.

“AIG is available for all John Deere and non-John Deere tractors with either an open or closed-centre hydraulic system, “by merely adding an external suction control valve (SCV) and SCV switch available at any John Deere dealer,” concludes Spaumer.