Keep ducks and row crops in line

The AutoPath is an all growing season tool. | John Deere photo

The first implement pass affixes guidance lines for the rest of the season despite changes in machine width

High-value row crops demand a high degree of accuracy during in-crop spraying or tillage operations. High-value can become mid-value if weeds are missed or plants are accidentally sliced or sprayed.

John Deere presented row-croppers with a solution last winter when it introduced its new AutoPath system, which provides identical row-to-row guidance data throughout the season, from planting through to harvest, even with machines of different widths.

The system uses data collected from the first field pass, from either planting or strip-till machines, to establish precise row guidance for all subsequent field passes in that season.

AutoPath lines come out of storage and automatically create the map of crop row lines for each field. These mapped row lines automatically provide guidance for all subsequent in-field passes such as spraying, nutrient application and harvesting operations.

According to Deere’s Glen Oetken, this increases operator confidence in being on the right row, which enhances the efficiency of field operations.

AutoPath complements AutoTrac, making it easier to use guidance in standing row crops.

In an email interview, Oetken said, “It reduces setup time, increases accuracy and removes partial passes for operators. Set-up time for secondary operations is faster and crop damage is reduced because guidance is based on actual planted crop rows. The operator knows which rows to start on, regardless of equipment width, even in down crops.”

Here’s how it works. During the first field pass, the implement and tractor are equipped with StarFire receivers to record the position of each row on the AutoPath. As a result, subsequent field passes are based upon actual documented row location rather than a static A-B Line. Because of implement drift on side hills or around curves, a static A-B line may not actually represent the planted row.

AutoPath reduces guidance line set-up time, eliminates the need for counting rows and helps reduce crop damage, said John Mishler, head of precision ag marketing at Deere.

AutoPath system provides identical row-to-row guidance data throughout the season, from planting through to harvest, even with machines of different widths. | John Deere photo

“Operators can use implements and platforms of different sizes or widths for subsequent field operations because AutoPath automatically adjusts the row guidance lines based on each machine.

“It helps operators automatically find the right row, maximizes each field pass to help reduce overlaps and damage to standing crops, while saving time, fuel and equipment hours.”

AutoPath is included in the Generation 4 Automation bundle and is available for either the 4600 CommandCenter Integrated Display or the 4640 Universal Display.

It’s available for tractors, sprayers and combines.

It can be incorporated with active and passive implement guidance systems for planters, nutrient applicator and other field equipment.

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