John Deere upgrades air cart, drill

Larger size and design features improve handling, efficiency and field performance

REGINA — John Deere has responded to the larger drills and air carts that its competitors have released into the North American market over the past few years.

The company’s new C850 air cart was designed to be a good fit when towed behind its new 76 foot version of the 1870 drill. At 850 bushels, it is the largest in the company’s lineup.

New design features can be found at the front of the 76-foot 1870 drill, where a floating front hitch re-placed the fixed front hitch design on older models.

“Now with the floating front hitch, there is a pin on either side that allows your front hitch to pivot on that pin, and that allows you to kind of absorb hills as you go up and over,” John Deere product specialist Cody Wilkinson said during the Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina.

Fertilizer depth is set on the 1870 by raising and lowering the frame, and a new feature call TruSet allows operators to set predetermined depths from inside the cab on the monitor.

“If I choose to go 3 1/2 deep with my fertilizer, I can preset that,” Wilkinson said.

“Another nice feature of that is if I’m in a wet spot or cheating a big hill, I can do a predetermined flick feature, it’s called, to come up 1/2 inch increments at a time.”

The fertilizer trip and packing pressure are independently set, and can be incrementally changed on the fly while seeding.

An array of options is available for the fertilizer tips, which allow delivery of dry, liquid, or anhydrous fertilizer.

Fertilizer can be banded six inches deep.

Twelve-inch row spacing and a 56-inch spacing between each rank helps residue move under the drill without clogging.

Deere changed the opener on the 76-foot 1870 by adding a new cam system to adjust seed depth. Preset depths are marked on the tube that delivers seed down behind the opener.

Operators can loosen the cam and quickly set depths on each of the openers by moving them all to the same depth markings.

Blockage sensors can be ordered for each tower or for every single secondary hose.

“What’s changed with the 76-foot 1870 blockage system is now our ability to read relative flow tower to tower and secondary hose to secondary hose,” Wilkinson said.

“So as an operator, I’m not guessing or running fertilizer or seed to see where I have a block. I can instantly go to where the issue may be occurring.”

The 76-foot 1870 weighs in at 58,000 to 59,000 pounds, depending on how the drill is optioned out.

Wilkinson said a 500 horsepower tractor is needed for the drill, and more horsepower will be needed if larger air carts are used.

Accumulators are installed in the opener and packing pressure systems to lessen the amount of oil drawn in and out of the systems. This reduces the hydraulic demand placed on the tractor.

The drill can be fully raised in less than eight seconds when making headland turns.

The 76-foot 1870 is a five-section drill that folds up to 22.5 feet wide and 17.5 feet tall in transport position in approximately two minutes.

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“There is a centre frame, two inner wing sections, and two outer wing sections,” he said.

“It folds like an M. We have retractable openers to try and narrow those wings that are kind of standing vertical going down the road,” he said.

A “bump up” and “duck down” feature has been added to the drill, which allows growers to increase ground clearance by four inches to clear obstacles in transport and duck down by six inches to help get under power lines.

The rear hitch on the 76-foot 1870 has been changed to match the new wagon style front hitch on the C850 air cart. A hitch can be special ordered to make the 1870 drill compatible with the 430-bushel tow-between John Deere carts and the 430 or 550-bushel tow-behind John Deere seed carts.

The C850 air cart also has new features to assist broad acre production.

At the front of the new air cart is a wagon style hitch designed to help operators navigate through approaches and difficult areas on fields. The 850 bu. capacity is divided into four tanks that have individual load cells, which can be monitored in the cab or on a display on the side of the cart.

The display on the air cart can be monitored from up to 40 feet away, and it allows operators manually calibrate rates from the side of the cart, said Tyson Harris, a product specialist at John Deere.

“The scales also enable our all new John Deere Active Cal system. Now producers will be able to go to the cab of the tractor, select their commodity, where they will be provided an initial calibration. That will get you fairly accurate,” Harris said.

“Then as you operate, say over 10 acres, you’ll be able to stop, let the product settle, take a new reading, then it will prompt you to accept or reject a new calibration value.”

Application rates can be affected as the product in the cart’s tanks deplete, and the Active Cal system allows operators to actively calibrate their rates throughout the day to stay close to desired application rates, Harris said.

The metering system in the C850 is the 1910 metering system, which has been used since 1998.

The C850 comes with a dual fan high capacity airflow system called Airpower 2, which delivers up to 550 pounds of product at 5.5 m.p.h. on a 15-degree slope.

The fan designed to push product has a higher capacity and is fed by 3/4 inch lines.

“You are going to want to run your fertilizer down this one. The other high capacity fan has 1/2 lines and you would run your seed through that,” Harris said.

The fans have a hydraulic flow requirement of 25 gallons per minute per fan at full speed, which is 4,000 r.p.m.

Ball valves on the side of the cart control the pressures in each tank, allowing producers to match the pressure inside their tanks to the pressure in the primary runs.

“We have found that with wheat and larger grains, that the air pressure is not quite as sensitive to maintain accurate metering, but on finer grains like canola, that bandwidth of pressure really tightens up,” Harris said.

“So this will allow you to fine tune your pressure inside there.”

The C850 hydraulic conveyance auger system has five pivot points on the support arm that provide a wide range of movement.

“You will be able to position that (super B) hopper at one location and hit everyone of those tanks with the conveyer,” he said.

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A wireless remote controls the conveyor arm, belt motions and speed, and a tethered remote is also connected to the side of the air cart for redundancy.

A 16-inch belt runs inside the 12-inch conveyor tube.

“That will allow you to deliver 100 bushels per minute,” he said.

“So when we are looking at a tank that is 130 bushels, you’re about 90 seconds before you’re full.”

The 50 bu. mini hopper tank at the front of the C850 can be filled from two locations: at the top of the tank or from the platform halfway up the stairs on the front of the cart.

“If you’re carrying up seed bags or if you’re loading from the back of the truck, you don’t have to go all the way to the upper platform,” Harris said.

The railing on the staircase can be removed so that operators can back up their pickup to move seed bags onto the platform, where bags of seed can also be stored.

A powered stair option similar to John Deere sprayers can be operated from the cab or lifted manually.

“To take the weight off, you have a compression spring on each side (of the stairs) so you only need about 12 pounds of pressure or force to lift those up and put them down,” Harris said.

Stairs inside all of the tanks, including the mini hopper, allow operators to easily climb down to the bottom to clear material out of the tank bottom.

The tank lids are designed to stay out of the way of the conveyer as it is moved from tank to tank and to avoid the wind catching them and slamming them shut.

“We developed a lid system that follows the curvature of the tank as it opens, and the hand railing is able to drop out of the way,” he said.

“You step on the pedal and the tank opens and everything is flush.”

The tank openings are large, making it easy for operators to line up the conveyer when filling.

“The reason we were able to get such a large opening and still maintain adequate air pressure is because we have a mechanical clamping force that is grabbing those lids and holding them tight,” Harris said.

Pressure sensors are located in each tank, which are monitored from inside the cab so that operators will know if they accidently left a lid open.

Wiring harness and camera mounts are in each tank, as well as a rear mount that points at the rear hitch. These are compatible with either Voyager or CabCAM camera systems.

The C850 has a category three hitch that allows operators to pull either a liquid or anhydrous cart.

The cart comes with 850 duels on the back as well as 850 front tires, which create 18 p.s.i. ground pressure when the cart is loaded. Producers can upgrade to 900 front tires, which will reduce loaded ground pressure to 12 p.s.i., Harris said.

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