Old ground-drive air carts get sectional control

Ben Field installs an IntelligentAg section control unit on a John Deere ground drive 1910 cart.  |  IntelligentAg photo

This system from Intelligent Ag helps producers make sure their older carts are not left behind in the technology rush

BRANDON — New technology in seeding equipment is geared for larger air carts, including zone control.

However, does that makes old carts obsolete because they cannot access the new technology?

In most cases, older carts become obsolete because they’re left behind in the technology rush, according to Alan Macdonald of Intelligent Ag.

Macdonald was at Manitoba Ag Days to show farmers his company’s Engage Zone Control.

“We saw a need for sectional control on the older ground-drive carts. Typically sectional control is only available on newer larger machines,” states Macdonald.

He adds that Amity Technology in Fargo, North Dakota, began offering upgraded electronics for older carts three years ago but did not offer sectional control.

“Our system takes that one giant step forward by providing sectional control. Right now it’s specifically for John Deere 1910 air carts. There’s a real renaissance in these older carts. Here at the show you see all kinds of small manufacturers making stainless steel parts to upgrade these older carts — meter housings, tubing, other things.

“There are a lot of farmers who don’t farm enough acres to justify buying the latest equipment, so they invest in improving the carts they already have.

He said as an example, a producer might take a 1910 ground drive cart and outfit it with sectional control, new meter housings and tubing for $60,000.

“Sectional control is probably the biggest factor. Now, compare that to the cost of a new cart which might be $300,000 to $400,000.”

The unit Macdonald had on display was designed to provide sectional control without modifications to the cart.

He says it installs between the meter housing and the manifold. Two people can install the unit in a day.

The gates are electrically activated. Each section control unit manages one tank, so a cart with three tanks requires three individual units. The on-off control ties directly into the 2630 display GPS. He points out that the farmer does not need to spend money on a new display just to run the Intelligent Ag equipment.

Macdonald says now that the JD unit is working according to plan, the next step is to adapt it to Flexi-Coil carts. The first year of full production was 2019. They have sold about 160 units so far.

“Some of the carts already have their own variable rate. If so, this is compatible. But we do not offer variable rate. To avoid overlap, the gates are either open or closed. We can do up to eight sections per cart.”

Cost to equip a single tank cart is $12,900. A double tank is $22,000. A triple tank cart is $31,000.

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