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Automatic Ladder is Simple but Amazing Technology

Automatic Ladder is Simple but Amazing Technology
This simple convenience means one fewer chore while spraying.

The technology is not new. I discovered it on a 2008 John Deere 4830 sprayer. But since I had never seen it before, it amazed me.

What was it? A ladder that automatically lowers itself from the sprayer platform, several feet in the air, so that you can climb down. Then it automatically raises itself into position for spraying in the field. There is no messing with a rope to pull up or lower the ladder.

How does it work? The farmer operating the machine says that when you put the machine in park, a signal tells the step to lower itself automatically. When you take it out of park to get ready to spray, it raises the step.

Cool feature: Put the sprayer in park, and the ladder comes down. Put it in gear and it goes up. It's not new technology, but if you haven't seen it before, it's downright cool!

One knock against many modern technical advances, especially some that might be considered more minor by some, like this one, is that it is a hassle when you encounter the time when it doesn't work. The operator says that's not an issue. If for some reason it doesn't raise or lower automatically when it should, there are manual controls that let you accomplish the same task.

Related: When Was the Last Time You Tuned that Sprayer?

The ladder has several well-placed steps with a design that would allow even muddy boots to grab onto each step. It certainly makes climbing up onto the operator platform or climbing down off of it much easier and safer.

This John Deere sprayer is also equipped with several other features, including auto-steer. It operates on the Sat II signal, for which the operator pays a subscription fee. He says it's usually accurate within three to four inches – enough accuracy for routine spraying operations.

Switching to RTK would mean more cost. RTK signals often display accuracy in the less than one inch range. It's desirable for planting but may not be worth the initial investment if you're not using it on a planter. Much may depend on if an RTK signal is already available in your area.

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