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Autosteering Options Increasing As No-Tillers Look To Next Year

Implement steering and compatibility with other equipment are key features that could grab attention and address common challenges of precision farming.

More no-tillers, especially many who are adopting strip-tillage, are investing in assisted steering to make their efforts easier and more accurate. Assisted steering of both tractors and implements can boost precision field operations.

We’ve recently heard from several no-tillers who bought factory-installed assisted steering or who plan to purchase add-on equipment soon. Three veteran no-tillers featured in our “What I’ve Learned From No-Tilling” series extolled the benefits of automatic steering technology for planting, fertilizer placement, sidedressing and spraying.

When Brad Mathson of Whitehall, Wis., invested in RTK GPS tractor guidance with sub-inch accuracy, he was able to plant within 1/2 inch of his strip-till berms, even in small fields on steep slopes. Mathson uses two GPS home bases that he moves from farm to farm.

Joe Breker, Havana, N.D., currently using a WAAS-operated autosteering system on his tractors, will soon take advantage of an RTK rural tower network being built by three large Red River Valley equipment dealers who foresee a profitable future in assisted steering services.

Randy Norby, Osage, Iowa, relies on a lower cost (compared to RTK) StarfireSF2 receiver with a John Deere AutoTrac System that is accurate to plus or minus 4 inches. Norby believes assisted steering saves him money by avoiding overlaps and gaps and reduces operator fatigue.

No-till grower experiences like these and hands-on demonstrations of a wide range of new and upgraded systems at fall farm shows make it clear that assisted steering is coming of age for assuring precise equipment placement throughout the…

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Ron Ross

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