New mid-size air seeding cart from Deere

Big brother C850 passed a lot of hot technology to C650 design, including tank scales, at-side display

Deere’s new air cart took the leading-edge technology developed for big brother C850 and incorporated it into the mid-size C650. The 650-bushel cart can be towed between the tractor and seeder.

A prominent C850 feature now on the C650 is the digital cart-side display, which puts the operator safely on the ground instead of running up and down the ladder. The entire fill and calibration task is carried out at one spot on the cart frame, said seeding product manager Bryan Thul.

He said cart-side display eliminates the hand-held iPad that the operator brings back to the cart and sometimes forgets or leaves on a tire.

The display does three things:

  • Shows weight on each of the four tanks, with real-time readouts while filling.
  • Shows tank pressures so final adjustments can be made before climbing up to cab.
  • Shows all weights and data input for meter calibration before climbing up to cab.

“The C650 has our AirPower2 system, which uses two fans: one for seed and one for fertilizer. This lets us push 550 pounds per acre of product on a 15-degree slope at 5.5 m.p.h,” said Thul, adding that accuracy is maintained across the widest possible seeding tools.

“We have hydraulic brakes on the rear tires. This move is a combination of corporate responsibility and farmer demand. With seeding equipment becoming generally larger and heavier, we’re seeing a greater awareness of safety in our engineering.

“When you get to carts this size, brakes are more for transport. If you’re pulling that rig with a seeding tool, even half full, you might be pulling 30,000 lb. That’s also 30,000 lb. pushing your tractor, so you want good brakes on the cart to keep things straight.”

Farmers who work in hilly landscapes often are forced to ride their air cart brakes and tractor brakes regularly on the downhill run to prevent the train from getting away. This has been known to fry the brakes in some cases, leading to wrecks. And dropping anchor by putting the tools into the ground only buries your seed and fertilizer halfway to China.

“I’ve seen enough of those scary pictures of rigs piled up at the bottom of a steep hill,” Thul said.

“There was another one last year from Montana. If you have to ride the brakes minutes on end, they’re going to heat up and you’ll lose them. When you apply pressure to a disc brake for an elongated period of time, there’s tremendous heat. Guys in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba should definitely talk to their dealer if they have downhill runs.

“With our system, when you hit the brake pedal or hit the button on the display, you get five seconds of continuous hydraulic pressure, even if you don’t need it. That should provide enough braking pressure behind the tractor to keep everything running straight. And that braking action on the air cart happens before it happens on the tractor, the idea again is to keep it all in a straight line. The hydraulic pressure comes from the brake system on the tractor.”

According to the operator’s manual, a trailer brake connection is required. If the tractor is not equipped with a hydraulic implement brake connection, order the installation kit from a John Deere dealer or qualified service provider. Verify that the case drain hose is connected when using brakes on the air cart.

The relative flow blockage detection upgrade kit is a major improvement over the previous blockage detection system, said Thul. The former system was like a light switch — either off or on, either blocked or not blocked.

The cart-side display lets the operator read the weight on each individual tank as he’s loading the C650. | John Deere photo

The new system tells the operator the flow relative to the other towers on the seeding tool. If one tower has even a slight reduction in product flow, the operator is alerted immediately on the Gen 4 display. The sensitivity is set by the operator, depending on seed size and weight going through the pipes.

“Historically our main cart has been the 1910. It’s been around forever. It’s a good machine, but it tops out at 550 bushels, and that’s not enough for small-grains broad-acre farms,” Thul said.

“So we started from scratch and introduced the C850, which had the capacity guys needed, plus a lot of advanced technology. This is a tow-behind only cart, and some farmers don’t like that.

“That left us with a big gap, from a 550 bu. 1910 cart up to the 850. The obvious fix was a 650 bu. cart. So we took all that advanced technology from the C850 and incorporated it into the C650. And the C650 can be tow-between or tow-behind, which is a matter of a farmer’s personal preference. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.”

Tow-between won’t let you see full width of the seeding tool from the cab.

Tow-between does let you put a rear-facing camera on the cart.

Tow-between ensures the last thing to leave the field is the drill rather than the cart.

Tow-between handles side hills better because it’s closer to the tractor drawbar.

“Some farmers didn’t want to invest in an 850 bu. cart. You can never have too much seed and fertilizer behind you. Whether you’re pulling a 40-foot seeder or an 80-foot seeder, a bigger cart will keep you going longer. However the 850 bu. cart costs more to buy and it demands more tractor power. You’re looking at 600 plus horsepower. With a 650 bu. cart, you’re OK with 500 horsepower. That’s a cost factor.”

The C650 inherited other technologies from the larger cart as well.

Deere said ActiveCal is an on-demand system allowing operators to automatically calibrate meters right from the Gen 4 display in the cab. An integrated wiring harness provides connections for five camera locations: one in each tank and a fifth that provides a rear-hitch view. The cart can fill at a rate of 100 bu. per minute.

The cart itself aids seeding accuracy. SectionCommand manages seed and fertilizer application by minimizing overlaps and skips. The C650 is compatible with select hoe drills and no-till drills. C650 carts are available now. List price is US$125,000.

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