Highly accurate GPS systems have become a giant step forward in precision technology and accelerating the move to autonomous farming capabilities in the future.

The steps towards autonomy in the field are part of the latest updates on John Deere’s MY24 range of 7, 8 and 9 Series tractors.

Key updates announced include the StarFire 7000 integrated GPS receiver and G5Plus CommandCenter Display, which will be factory-installed across the entire product range.

John Deere productions system manager Ben Kelly said the updates offered farmers immediate and powerful precision ag capabilities, while providing the foundation for autonomous capabilities in the future.

“This new tractor lineup offers farmers an opportunity to take significant steps towards the implementation of autonomy on farm,” Mr Kelly said.

“In addition to including the new G5Plus Display and SF7000 Receiver as base equipment, optional automation features like automated headland turns, allow farmers to reach a level of operation on the doorstep of autonomy.

“Improving signal stability and reliability have also been a major focus in the development of these new tractors, and this advancement will provide farmers with the highest level of guidance and accuracy ever offered by John Deere.”

The new SF7000 Receiver uses a new signal level, SF-RTK, to provide growers with +/- 25mm accuracy direct from satellite with five years repeatability — offering almost an equivalent to traditional Radio RTK accuracy, without the inconvenience of managing base stations on farm.

It also offers a pull-in time of eight minutes, which is a significant upgrade compared with the SF3-signal-enabled StarFire 6000 receiver's +/- 30mm accuracy and 20 minutes pull-in time.

Mr Kelly in March joined a panel of leading technology specialists at Australia's most prominent agrifood innovation conference, AgriFutures evokeAG., where he emphasised how in the future John Deere 's autonomous tractors will provide labour flexibility and time-saving benefits, and that connectivity will be foundational in assisting farmers to monitor autonomous technology on farm.

“The pathway to autonomy includes a number of critical steps, and connectivity is becoming increasingly foundational on that journey,” Mr Kelly said.

“Growers are able to start preparing for autonomous machinery now, by investing time to implement critical foundational hardware technologies like GPS and connective devices.

“From there, farmers can start to add software solutions, like automated record keeping and remote monitoring tools.

"By using these tools now, in daily operation, farmers will be able to reap immediate productivity benefits, and set themselves up for a smooth transition to fully-autonomous equipment in the future.”

The MY24 series include the latest G5Plus CommandCenter Display (and optional G5Plus Extended Monitor) which features increased processing power and faster file transfer times compared to previous versions.

G5Plus also has a 35 per cent bigger viewing area and 1080p high-definition video resolution. The 325mm (12.8-inch) touchscreen display and higher video resolution provide farmers with clear, bright and easy access to machine controls.

John Deere said that AutoTrac guidance and Section Control are now included in base equipment across the line up of 7,8 and 9 Series tractors.

Farmers also have the option to include the new G5 Advanced package to take advantage of John Deere automation applications, including AutoTrac Turn Automation, AutoPath, AutoTrac Implement Guidance, Machine Sync, and In-Field Data Sharing.

Connectivity between the tractors and implements has also been taken to the next level, with factory-installed implement ethernet connection, enabling future high-bandwidth communication between tractors and implements.

“Operator comfort and ease-of-use has been addressed to increase visibility and safety with the new right-hand corner post display added inside the cab of MY24 7 to 9 Series Tractors,” Mr Kelly said.

“The easy-to-read display features digital readouts and an illustration area to help ensure these tractors can take advantage of advanced features as they become available and a factory-installed rear-window tint is also available for John Deere CommandView 4 cabs, to help keep operators comfortable while providing better visibility to display screens on bright days.”

Other updates include the addition of 20 horsepower for all 9RT Two-track tractors, and farmers can choose from the 9RT 490, 9RT 540 or 9RT 590.

John Deere has added wider track-spacing options, specifically for vegetable growers, on its lineup of 8RX Four-track Tractors.

These include 3352.8mm (132-inch), 3454.4mm (136-inch), 3657.6mm (144-inch) or 3860.8mm (152-inch) wide track spacings. The wider spacings are compatible with track widths and John Deere ExactRate fertiliser tanks.

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