HarvestLab analyses forage at harvest

HarvestLab analyses forage at harvest

Thursday, November 3, 2011

John Deere's HarvestLab dry matter sensor for self-propelled forage harvesters is now able to analyse a range of crop constituents including sugars, starch, protein and crude fibre content, quickly and accurately while on the move, says the company.

Farmers and contractors looking to generate extra income can therefore benefit from this new advance in precision farming technology, says John Deere. "The ability to now measure sugar levels in real time also provides the opportunity to manage the silage additive process more efficiently, using a range of commercially available automatic variable rate application systems."

This latest version of HarvestLab is said to be the first commercial system of its kind on the market, and is based on near infrared (NIR) sensor technology manufactured by Zeiss Jena.

"The forager's integrated 'intelligent' technology package includes the HarvestLab dry matter sensor and AutoLOC. Using the machine's infinitely variable transmission, this already provides automatic adjustment of the length of cut depending on the dry matter content of the crop being harvested," says John Deere. This is based on settings programmed in by the operator on the machine's in-cab GreenStar 2630 touch screen display prior to work, according to end user requirements.

As the forage dry matter rate within a field varies due to differences in soil, seed varieties and other external factors such as trees on the headlands, AutoLOC can automatically adjust chop length in 1mm increments based on the preset values. HarvestLab also records all the necessary crop and harvest data for the contractor's invoicing process.

The device is mounted on the forager spout and takes crop readings 17 times per second.

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