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John Deere launches guidance system for corn harvesting

Many operators are already using John?Deere's GreenStar AutoTrac Assisted Steering System to automatically steer a tractor accurately down the row or across the field. This technology increases machinery efficiency while decreasing operator fatigue. Now, a new sensing system on corn heads, AutoTrac RowSense, allows precision guidance to also be used on combines that are harvesting corn.

“AutoTrac Row Sense is the next step to pin-point accuracy in corn harvesting,” says Laura Robson, senior marketing representative, John?Deere Ag Management Solutions. “This new system works by integrating GPS data from the StarFire Receiver with mechanical feeler data from new row sensors located on the corn head.”

The system accurately guides the combine down the row at optimal harvesting speeds and even helps maneuver around curves, through waterways, or in weedy areas. Steering is handled by the AutoTrac system while the cornhead, with RowSense, makes small adjustments to keep the machine on the row to maximize harvest, even in down corn.

“This system also helps reduce operator fatigue,” explains Robson. “The operator does not have to make constant steering adjustments and can focus on header and separator performance, obstacles in the field, and make adjustments for varying crop conditions. The overall result is a more productive harvest with less stress and fatigue for the operator!”

The key to this new technology is the RowSense system that allows for harvesting in variable conditions. With down corn, weedy conditions, or reduced visibility on the rows, the corn head sensing system actually feels the base of the corn stalk and ensures that the operator stays on the row without having to manually steer the machine.

Waterways are also handled easily because the combine is able to efficiently navigate across the grassy waterway strips, in a straight line, and move smoothly back into the row without any operator adjustment.

“Growers will truly appreciate the productivity and efficiency they will gain from this system,” emphasizes Robson. “More acres can be harvested in less time because AutoTrac RowSense helps maintain a consistent, optimum harvesting speed. This also allows for a more even feed rate which improves overall harvest quality. Operators will also appreciate being able to harvest more acres with reduced stress and fatigue.”

AutoTrac RowSense will be available for harvest 2008. For more information, visit the Web site at

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