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John Deere launch shows innovation in many areas

Courtesy of John Deere 1-Promo-image-combined.jpg John Deere equipment launch
GOING BIG: John Deere launches its first See and Spray commercial tech, a major new planter system, 8 and 9 Series tractor upgrades, all-new Hagie sprayers and new John Deere sprayers. The company calls it the single, largest product launch in its history.
For what it calls the largest product launch in its history, Deere is carving a new path for tech, tractors, sprayers, and planters.

A few years ago, John Deere went all in on ag technology — from appearing at the big CES to collaborating with small startups focused on innovative areas of agriculture. And while the company has been telling the story of ag technology in new places, its engineers and designers have been hard at work, too. As spring nears, John Deere is unveiling what it calls its largest product rollout ever, and there's plenty to see.

For 2022, farmers are going to have access to a wide range of new tools and products for their farms. But as the company rolls out updates and new equipment, it is focusing on a few key factors. First, enhancements to existing machines are focused on increasing productivity and making precision agriculture easy to use. Second, and this came up a few times in conversations for this launch, the idea that John Deere can provide a one-stop shop for its customers.

Related: Deere makes 3rd 'trip' to consumer show

And while the dealer experience is key to gaining and keeping customers, new products and ideas focused on productivity matter, too. Perhaps the most anticipated is the first commercial use of See and Spray technology. Deere acquired Blue River Technology, maker of the innovative precision sprayer, in 2017, and now the first-generation commercial product is to debut. The company is also upgrading the 8 and 9 Series tractors, an upgraded 1775NT planter, and launching new sprayers in both the John Deere and Hagie livery.

See-and-Spray starts commercial journey

The first commercial launch for See and Spray will be See and Spray Select. Joel Basinger, go-to-market manager for nutrient application, shares that this is just the start. "We're excited to talk about our first product in our See and Spray model lineup, See and Spray Select," he says, "and I want to say this is a going to be a journey we're going to have. This is the first product; we're going to have additional products in the future. We're focusing on all kinds of aspects of this technology."

Basinger explains that farmers are looking for tools to help with herbicide resistance. With this tech, they can use more complex tank mixes and save money using spot spraying. "For See and Spray Select, we're talking customers with chemical fallow as part of their cropping rotation," he explains. "See and Spray Select will be a great option for those customers that need fallow weed control."

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HITTING CHEM FALLOW FIRST: The commercial journey for See and Spray technology from John Deere starts with See and Spray Select. Designed for areas of the country where chemical fallow is common, the system promises the ability to offer better control and help contain crop protection costs. Broader use of See and Spray tech is still under development.

He notes that with this launch, John Deere is the only manufacturer offering both a spot spray and broadcast spray system all in one solution. "Through our testing and our research, customers in that fallow ground can save 77% of that preemerge chemical cost," Basinger says. "This is a big deal. If you spend $100,000 on a preemerge chemical, now you're only going to spend on average $23,000. Where can you move that cost of operation into other areas?"

The key geography for this first See and Spray technology will be mainly the western United States and the Pacific Northwest, with soil moisture management in dryland acres. Weed control on those acres is designed to preserve moisture.

This will be available for the new 400 and 600 Series sprayers. The system has 36 cameras across the full length of a 120-foot boom that captures field imagery on the go. In chemical fallow, it is identifying green plant material vs. brown soil

Basinger explains that onboard processors can analyze more than 2,000 square feet per second at 12 mph and determine if green plant material is present. When it "sees" that green material, it activates the nozzle and hits the weed with herbicide. The entire process happens within a short 200 milliseconds.

The 12-mph application speed is what John Deere is recommending for the See and Spray Select system. "There are a lot of factors that go into that," Basinger says. "Kicking up dust can cause accuracy issues, so we see our best performance in that 12-mph range." The Generation 4 display can also show when conditions are right for using the system.

He offers an example. "Say we have an eclipse during the middle of the day. [The system] would actually give you a warning saying, 'Hey, conditions aren't right. And would you rather broadcast or wait until conditions improve?'"

Spotting green material on brown soil is the low-hanging fruit for a weed identification-based spraying system. When might row crop farmers in corn and soybean country see something?

"We're really optimistic that we'll have a solution for those customers that need an in-row See and Spray solution," Basinger says. "I look forward to the time in the not too distant future when we can talk about the product as well."

He points out that this artificial intelligence-based system has wider use, and John Deere is looking at a range of tools. "We're really looking to manage on a per-plant basis," he says. "We've gone from the field to the row and now to the plant, and we really want to start including that artificial intelligence, that management level in more products than just weed identification."

We'll get to the new John Deere sprayers that will have access to the See and Spray Select, but at its core, the company is a tractor maker. Deere launched the 8RX line for the 2020 season. For 2022, the 8R and 9R Series will be getting a range of upgrades. And for the 8RX, there's an innovation that can boost time in the field and improve productivity.

Innovating tractor productivity

The new 8 Series tractors rolled out for the 2020 season, and for 2022 there will be some significant additions. "We've continued to build on the 8R legacy, and every year it gets better and better," says Ryan Jardon, go-to-market manager for large tractors and tillage. "We're really excited this year for a couple of things."

First are the new 1,000-gallon ExactRate Tractor Tanks designed for the four-track 8RX tractor. When paired with the new upgraded John Deere planter, they offer a combined liquid fertilizer or material carrying capacity of 1,600 gallons.

"The tanks are right on board with you," Jardon says. "There's no more bolt-on, bolt-off climbing in and around the tanks to get into the cab." In fact, the tanks look like integrated, but bulky, rear fenders, and make little change in the tractor's profile.

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UPGRADED 8 SERIES: 8RX tractors can now be outfitted with ExactRate Tanks that boost carrying capacity for liquid fertilizer by 1,000 gallons. The tanks, which look like hefty fenders over the 8RX racks, are factory-designed to work with the John Deere 1775NT planter, which has also been upgraded.

Jardon notes that farmers are looking for ways to boost corn yields by applying higher rates of fertilizer. The 1,000-gallon tank addition to the 8RX tractor can help keep farmers in the field longer between fills. And the tank is designed with weight management in mind, too.

The new ExactRate Tractor Tanks can also be added to 8RX tractors already in the field as a dealer-installed upgrade, Jardon adds. In action, the ExactRate Tractor Tanks maintain ground pressure of 15 pounds per square inch. The 8RX four-track reduces ground compaction up to 14% compared to wheel tractors with third-party tanks, even with the extra payload.

All 8 Series tractors come factory equipped with:

  • JDLink connectivity
  • integrated StarFire 6000 GPS receiver
  • Generation 4 CommandCenter display
  • AutoTrac guidance

That integrated receiver, introduced with the 8 Series is more common across more equipment for 2022. JDLink comes with five years of service.

Related: Deere updates key tech, makes software buy

Factory-installed Automation 4.0 capabilities include AutoTrac Turn Automation and MachineSync, which enabled consistent operations in headlands and when multiple machines work together. And Automation 4.0 enables AutoPath for farmers to accurately document and precisely follow each row of crops in the field through the season.

New tool for tire health

For more than a decade, farmers have had access to radial farm tire technology that can help reduce field compaction while enhancing traction. These VF/IF tires feature more flexible sidewalls that allow them to carry more weight at lower pressures. But there's a challenge. The proper field operating pressure is often much lower than what's needed for transport from field to field.

There have been third-party central tire inflation systems on the market for a few years. For model-year 2022, John Deere is adding its own system to the 8 Series tractors. The optional system lets farmers monitor tire pressure, and raise and lower pressures as needed. In action, farmers can increase their footprint by 25% by lowering pressure at the push of a button.

That can give you 2% to 4% less slip with a 3-psi reduction in ground pressure. And this can boost traction by nearly 6% while reducing soil compaction. Back on the road, with another press of a button, you can raise tire pressure for a better ride, reduced tire wear and improved fluid efficiency.

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TIRE MANAGEMENT: Wheeled 8 Series tractors can add an optional central tire inflation system to boost tire life and improve tractor performance. The John Deere-designed system can manage tire pressures right from the Generation 4 display. And it's not visible from this angle.

The system works with an onboard compressor, along with a coupler that allows the compressor to send air to tires on machines equipped with a central tire inflation system.

"With [the CTIS] being able to inflate tires for road transport, it helps tires to last longer," Jardon says. "Then in the field, it spreads out that footprint. It's kind of the best of both worlds — where before, of course, you would have probably had to do an average inflation for what is best for both applications."

The system can raise or lower tire pressure at 2 psi per minute on the go. A farmer pulling into a field can get straight to work by pushing one button to reduce tire pressure to a predetermined level. When it's time to leave the field, the farmer can raise the pressure back up with a single push of the button.

Enhancing planter performance

The new tanks for the 8RX can provide added liquid capacity for a range of work on the farm, but John Deere is also upgrading the 1775NT planter for 2022 that will be integrated for greater productivity.

Kevin Juhl, go-to-market manager for planting and seeding, explains that capacities on the planter have increased. "We increased the CCS tank from 100 to 130 bushels," he explains. "And on the 1775 specifically, the liquid capacity went from 450 to 600 gallons."

Juhl says those capacity boosts are driven by customer insights. "We make a great planter, but they wanted more out of that planter pass, specifically around doing more in terms of fertilizer at the time," he says.

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NEW TANK UP CLOSE: This is a look at one of the ExactRate tanks for the 8RX tractor. With the factory install, farmers get saddle tank capacities in a design that's built for the tractor, along with cleaner plumbing to the planter. It's targeted to customers who are putting on higher rates of crop nutrients at planting.

With more farmers looking at split-applied nitrogen, they want better tools to manage application from a planter standpoint. However, Juhl says putting more weight on the planter wasn’t feasible. "So that's when we decided to have the joint effort of the 8RX integrated with the fluid transfer system in the factory," he says.

Juhl says the add-on tanks remove a lot of hurdles, and the design integrates with the John Deere planter bar, including the plumbing. He says customers wanted a system where hoses weren’t pinched and needing to be redone after coming out of storage. This integrated solution solves that, he notes.

"It's not a huge wow factor, and it's not meant to be. This is a factory-installed system," Juhl says. "This is an engineered solution. There's going to be no hose rubbing, no pinch points when the planter folds up."

With that added weight of a larger seed tank and higher liquid capacity, Deere engineers had to work on weight management. "We take all that extra weight and put it on tracks," Juhl says. "We have a total system we can advertise is less than 15 psi of ground pressure."

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HIGHER-CAPACITY PLANTER: The new 1775NT will feature larger capacities for both the commodity tank (up to 130 bushels from 100) and the liquid fertilizer tank (now at 600 gallons). Mated with the ExactRate tanks on the 8RX, the planter can do 80 acres between fills at 20 gallons per acre for liquid fertilizer, when planting corn.

He notes that when compared to the VF tires that were on the mainframe on the planter before, switching to tracks reduced ground pressure by 72%. And the new design allows for a 20-mph transport speed.

"This is an integrated tractor and planter combination," Juhl adds. "We've been integrating the tractor and planter for years through technology, and this is the next step with that."

The ExactRate tanks on the tractor and the 1775NT planter are integrated into the John Deere Generation 4 display, providing a single monitor for managing application and planting. Juhl notes this is an industry first tractor-planter solution.

Large tractors get more power

Perhaps the operative word for the John Deere 9R Series tractors is “muscle.” And with the model-year 2022 upgrades, think more muscle. The 9R and 9RX articulated models get a 20-hp bump across the line, which now tops out at 640 hp, the highest in the industry.

Jardon says Deere holds an interesting position in the market: "We're the only manufacturer that offers all three machine forms, not only wheel but four track and two track that you can get from John Deere."

And for readers that follow machine model numbers, you'll notice a change, too. Just as the company did with the naming convention with the updated 8 Series , the 9 Series tractors get a change. So what was once the 9620RX now becomes the 9RX 640 (that 20-hp boost) with the engine horsepower aligned with the model series.

As for horsepower, the 9R articulated wheel tractor features six models including:

  • 9R 390
  • 9R 440
  • 9R 490
  • 9R 540
  • 9R 590
  • 9R 640

All but the 9R 390, and 9R 440 can also be set up as Scraper Special models. For the 9RX, the four models include the 9RX 490, 9RX 540, 9RX 590 and 9RX 640. All but the 9RX 640 can be outfitted as Scraper Special models. And for the two-track 9RT, there are three models — 9RT 470, 9RT 520 and the 9RT 570. All three of these models can be set up as Scraper Specials.

Engine power for all models except the top-end 640-hp machines comes from a new 13.6-liter John Deere PowerTech engine. "You can't talk about tractors without talking about power," Jardon says. "This new engine is quieter, more reliable, and requires less maintenance than its predecessors."

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MORE MUSCLE: 9 Series John Deere tractors get a horsepower bump, and across the line, there's Intelligent Power Management for hydraulics that can provide a 50-hp bump when running tools that use a lot of hydraulic power. The machines also get a major cab upgrade.

He points out that in large air-seeding and tillage applications is the lugging ability. "It's got the grunt, if you will, to pull through a tough spot in the field. “ And “it gives you the ability to farm over a hill that maybe you previously farmed around."

Power for the top-end 9R 640 and 9RX 640 comes from a Cummins 15-liter engine. "That 640 rated horsepower is the highest-rated horsepower on a four-wheel-drive articulated tractor in the industry," Jardon adds. "The customer is asking for more power, and we're happy to give it to them."

But just bumping up horsepower isn't enough; the tractor has to be able to handle that higher torque and muscle. Jardon says the 9 Series machines have a beefed-up drivetrain, chassis and undercarriage.

"With the beefing [of the drivetrain], we've increased the overall weight of the tractor," Jardon says. "And we allow you to put additional weight on the tractor. It really lets you hug the ground and be able to put that power to the ground."

The result is a tractor with a total weight of 67,000 pounds, which Jardon says is the most heavily ballasted class of tractors in the industry.

The tractor also has an optional Hydraulic Intelligent Power Management system for use in jobs demanding higher hydraulics like air seeding. "If you get into a tough spot with air seeding and the tractor knows that a lot of the power is going to the hydraulic system, it basically unlocks up to an additional 50 hp to get through a tough spot," Jardon says. "Typically, air-seeding customers will see the most benefit here."

It is a feature the company has had in the past, but it is now available on more models in 2022.

The 9 Series also gets an upgraded, restyled cab with more storage space, USB ports and better connectivity. An optional 6.5-inch touch-screen satellite radio can be added that has smartphone-ready capabilities. The Ultimate comfort and convenience package includes footrests, a refrigerator and a heated, ventilated massaging seat that swivels up to 25 degrees to the left and 40 degrees to the right for improved visibility. The Ultimate visibility package features 24 work LED and eight convenience LED lights, and more. There's even a John Deere Signature Edition with all the options in a single tractor.

Hagie lineup totally new for 2022

"Our customers need a machine they can use all season long," says Joel Basinger, go-to-market manager for nutrient application for John Deere. "They need it for preemerge, postemerge and late-season fungicides and herbicides. We're looking for customers who need to enter the field any day."

He notes the needs call for high carrying capacity, wide booms, all-wheel steer and accurate rate control. The answer is a whole new series redesigned from the ground up to include John Deere technology.

"The only common component to our old machine is the boom," Basinger says. "It's a completely new chassis. It's got a new cab, new styling and new suspension."

Basinger notes Hagie machines have had John Deere precision ag tools in the past, but for 2022, this will be fully integrated. It starts with an integrated Starfire 6000 receiver. The cab includes the Generation 4 Command Center display, AutoTrac, Documentation, DataSync and JDLink.

The sprayers also have optional Mobile Weather. The operators “can have that weather information so they have a file of what the weather was when they were spraying," Basinger says. "That means less time having to do paperwork."

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ALL NEW HAGIE LINE: The three-model Hagie line for 2022 will be all new. They incorporate a range of John Deere sprayer technology including ExactApply, JDLink and the cab from the X9 combine (tuned for sprayers). The only original portion of the sprayer that remains is the well-known Hagie boom.

The machines can also be outfitted with AutoTrac RowSense and Vision, and it will work with the new AutoPath system, as well.

The new operating environment is the same base as the X9 combine launched last fall. Basinger says only a few changes have been made to the cab to make it compatible for sprayer use.

Users will have the CommandArm controls. "If you're familiar with your combine or your tractor, you can jump out of your tractor into this sprayer cab and not have to relearn a lot of the same features," Basinger says.

LED lighting is standard. Options include hands-free entry so you can open the door with the touch of a button. Other options include a leather seat with massage, a refrigerator and an App-based radio control so you can run audio from your smartphone.

As for the ride? Basinger says the suspension system has been updated. "We've moved the suspension from the top of the railing and down into the wheel well, increasing ride comfort and making steering more accurate," he says.

Power comes from a 9-liter PowerTech engine at 300 or 400 hp to handle hilly terrain. The STS12 at 1,200 gallons will be feature 300 hp. The STS16 with 1,600-gallon capacity and the new larger STS20 with 2,000-gallon capacity get 400 hp. The STS20 is the largest sprayer capacity offered by John Deere.

The CommandDrive is now available in Hagie sprayers — a single-pump hydrostat putting power to each wheel to maintain traction. This can lower engine rpm for better fluid efficiency. "But if they get into one of those sticky situations and a wheel starts to spin, they automatically increase horsepower, move the oil to the wheels that need it and maintain application speed," Basinger says.

This system was introduced to John Deere sprayers two years ago.

The new PowerSpray rate controller running the system provides more accurate control. Basinger says the system gets up to the right rate faster, and options can allow fill speeds as high as 300 gallons per minute.

Also, Hagie sprayers will now get ExactApply nozzles with the same benefits found on John Deere sprayers. And boom pressure recirculation pulls fluid through the whole system, and allows for reclaiming the chemical at the end of the day. "Using a boom air purge, you can blow all that chemical back into the tank and reclaim it so you're not wasting chemical or not spending as much time cleaning up the sprayer," he explains.

There's an optional Category IV pressurized cab filter system, too.

Basinger adds that with all these changes, the farmer will still find features that made Hagie machines popular including:

  • 52/48 balanced weight split
  • up to 76 inches of clearance for late-season use
  • same front-facing hybrid steel and aluminum boom from 60 to 132 feet

The machines also maintain the all-wheel steering system and the nutrient toolbar. And the Hagie can be outfitted with a Montag Cover Crop system for late-season application. Or you can use the system for granular fertilizer application. The Montag system was trialed in Kansas in 2020.

New 400 and 600 Series sprayers

Basinger outlined the new sprayers and notes the company is adding some comfort and productivity features to the machines. And like other models in this new launch, numbering is changing.

The 400 Series will feature four models. The first number is the series; the second two are capacity. The 408R features an 800-gallon capacity. It's powered by a 280-hp, 6.8-liter PowerTech engine and has a maximum field speed of 20 mph and transport speed up to 30 mph.

The 410R has 1,000-gallon capacity, and the 412R has 1,200-gallon capacity. Both models feature a 9-liter PowerTech engine. The 410R has 310 hp; the 412R has 326 hp. The 400R is a dry spinner machine with a 200 cubic-foot dry box and a 326-hp PowerTech 9-liter engine. These are part of the medium-chassis sprayer lineup.

Powered by a 9-liter PowerTech engine, the larger chassis 600 Series gets a horsepower increase. The 612R with 1,200-gallon capacity comes in at 355 hp. The 616R with 1,600-gallon capacity has 375 hp. The 600R can be outfitted with a 200- or 300-cubic-foot dry box and has a 375-hp PowerTech 9-liter engine.

The R4023 sees no changes for model-year 2022.

The integrated Starfire 6000 Receiver is added to the cab for the new series of sprayers. In addition, JDLink and the Generation 4 CommandCenter display are also added to these machines.

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UPDATED SPRAYERS: The new 400 and 600 Series of sprayers from John Deere get upgraded cabs, enhanced technology, and the option of adding See and Spray Select, which works with the ExactApply nozzle and boom. The sprayers also get upgraded horsepower for improved productivity.

These sprayers get access to Mobile Weather, as did the Hagie sprayers to help with paperwork at application. The BoomTrac gets an upgrade to BoomTrac 2 for enhanced performance.

And the sprayers get an upgraded cab similar to the 8 and 9 Series tractors. This improves familiarity for the operator. The sprayers also get the optional leather seat and massage, refrigerator, and the app-controlled radio.

Optional visibility packages for these machines, Basinger explains, include LED lighting, manual and electric adjustable mirrors, and up to three cameras that can be viewed through that Gen 4 display.

And for more comfort, there's the option of adding the Active Seat II.

The machines also get the ExactApply with boom pressure recirculation factory installed. That feature was released as a field option in 2020.

One feature is improved onboard diagnostics. "We don't want our machines to have downtime, but now on the display, the customer will get more details if they have an issue," Basinger says. "If the display shows ExactApply nozzle 21 had a failure, it will come up with diagnostic options to determine if he can fix that, and if not, it shows what to tell the dealer who comes to support him."

Updating air-seeder lineup

Juhl shared some changes to the John Deere air seeders for 2022. First the company is changing the numbering system for air seeders. Essentially, you'll be able to know more about the system by the number. Each model has an added identifier, and each model series in the air seeder line has a specific modifier. For the 1895 N530F, the N is the opener (in this case the Pro Series), the 5 is the series, 30 is the width, and F says fertilizer placement (a C would mean commodity storage system).

The key advancements to the series for 2022 is RelativeFlow Blockage. It's a technology that has been available, but is now available to all models including the N500, N500F, N500C, P500, H500F, H500 and 730LL. This will be available on all widths.

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AIR SEEDER UPDATES: John Deere is updating air seeding tools for 2022, including adding RelativeFlow Blockage detection to all air seeding tools. TruSet In-Cab Downforce adjustment and new Quick Change Blades are also being offered on no-till air seeding tools.

The system helps users detect blockages in the line early, and it will show on the Generation 4 display.

And TruSet In-Cab downforce is now available as standard from the factory. Settings can be viewed in the Generation 4 display, and will help improve seed-to-soil contact, plant emergence and uptime.

And the ProSeries Opener gets Quick-Change blades to save time and reduce labor with blade changes before, during or after seeding season. Quick-Change blades reduce time to change opener blades by up to 45%. "This will be offered on our complete no-till lineup and the N500 Series," Juhl says.

Learn more about all these tools at johndeere.com.

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