Stronger, longer-lasting

It's been more than 30 years since John Deere introduced the MaxEmerge Planter to help growers place seed at the proper depth and row spacing under tough field conditions. So you would expect the new generation of MaxEmerge planters to be something special.

“In the last two years, we have basically re-invented our entire planter line with the addition of newer, bigger products like the Central Commodity System, new frames, DB planters and now new row units,” says Bill Barr, product manager, John Deere Seeding Division.

Reaction is good

“We're seeing good reactions from our dealers and our customers that indicate we are hitting the mark and providing good solutions to our customers.”

Barr was speaking at a media event in Des Moines, Iowa, where Deere introduced its new MaxEmerge XP and Pro-Series XP planter units along with a host of other new products, including the new 4720 Self-Propelled Sprayer.

Deere says it has strengthened the new planter units to meet the rigorous demands of varying field conditions and wide array of planter attachments and new planters such as the 1770NT 12Row30 Front-Fold Planter that was also unveiled in Des Moines.

“We think growers will appreciate the increased strength and easier serviceability of the new units,” said Barr. “They have been field-tested to stand up to the most rigorous field conditions and offer several feature enhancements.”

Four main benefits

Barr said the XP version of the planter row units offers four main benefits: extra precision, extra performance of the row unit, extra productivity and extra profitability.

The centerpiece is a new, stronger ductile cast iron shank. A new manufacturing process creates the single-piece row unit shank that is much stronger than the traditional 11-piece welded shank it replaces.

“The shank is the piece that everything else bolts to or sits on,” said Barr. “It's the bedrock of the planter row unit. In the past, the shank would consist of 11 different parts you put in a weld fixture and weld up.

“But if want more precision and more strength in your row unit, ductile iron casting will give that to you. The new shank deflects without bending, withstands great impact without cracking and is machined with close tolerances for precise alignment of components.”

Through the strengthening of the shank and the row unit head, the overall strength of the row unit is increased by 25 percent. The cast shank of the XP unit is also 50 percent stronger in frontal impact and is 6.5 pounds heavier. The heavier unit also increases soil penetration of the Tru-Vee openers, especially in no-till situations.

“We have also increased the Tru-Vee blade thickness from 3.0 millimeters to 3.5 mm and this translates into an increased wear life of 20 percent,” says Barr. “Also, a double row bearing replaces the single row bearing in the opener blade for twice the life and attaching rivets are twice as strong. This all adds up to an increased life span of the row unit.”

Consistent seed depth

The new row units are also designed to provide consistent seed depth in all types of field conditions. The Tru-Vee openers, the pressure down force system and the gauge-wheel assembly and design work together to provide depth control.

“A new ‘bolt-through’ design uses a new, heavier open bearing in the gauge wheel that allows for the attaching bolt to pass through the wheel to the threaded hole in the redesigned gauge wheel arm,” says Barr. “The heavier bearing will carry more load, and the new design allows for better attachment and quick removal of the gauge wheel for service.”

The new XP row units are one of the features on the 1770NT 12Row30 Front-Fold Planter along with a flexible, strong frame; new hydraulic system; and optional Central Commodity System. “These new features will bring more productivity and value to the field, allowing operators to cover more acres in less time,” said Barr.

The new three-section, front-folding frame with telescoping hitch allows the frame wings to flex 21 degrees up and down, which improves handling of rolling ground conditions. The frame is designed for rugged operations and the flex configuration allows for more accurate planting in uneven field conditions.

“When folded the new frame is designed for narrow 12-foot transport and consists of four row units on the center section and four on each wing,” says Barr. “It also has 22 inches of under-frame ground clearance that allows for easier transport in and out of fields.”

Compared to the current 1770 12Row30 planters, the new machines are almost 3 feet shorter in field position and 8 inches shorter in transport, keeping the planter closer to the tractor.

Deere also unveiled the new 4720 Self-Propelled Sprayer in a model equipped with the optional GreenStar Auto Trac guidance system that can be transferred to John Deere tractors and some combines.

225 Horsepower

The 4720 Sprayers will feature a 6.8-liter John Deere PowerTech Tier II engine with 225 horsepower. This compares to 200 horsepower on older models. The wheel motors are also larger to provide increased low-end torque for those tough “hole shot” conditions.

“When developing this new sprayer, we listened to our customers and added features and improvements that enhance sprayer efficiency and operator comfort,” says Denver Caldwell, division marketing manager, John Deere Des Moines Works. “More horsepower, larger wheel motors, and optional AutoTrac guidance systems have all been added to these sprayers.”

“More power and torque on these units insures that operators can power through tough field conditions,” explains Caldwell. “The CommandView Cab also provides a spacious, quiet work environment with great visibility. The ComfortCommand air-suspension seat adjusts to provide maximum comfort for long days in the field. And speed range and throttle controls are now located on the hydro handle and CommandARM for convenience and easy operation.”

One new feature on the 4720 Sprayer is the Index Boom Section, which allows operators to better manage waterways, point rows, and uneven headlands. The 80- or 90-ft. boom sections consist of five individual spray sections. When the sprayer approaches a waterway running at an angle (not perpendicular) to the sprayer, controls on the hydro handle can quickly be pressed to shut off the individual boom sections to match the angle of the waterway.

“This increases productivity, and it's more convenient than turning to the right-hand console to flip the section switches,” said Caldwell. “IBS help to improve spray efficiency by turning sections on and off to accommodate field and crop conditions.”

During spraying, an optional Boom Return to Height feature allows the operator to preset the boom spray height. After avoiding field obstacles or turning on the end row, the boom can be set to automatically return to the same spray height at the start of each path.

“The 4720 Sprayers still retain the patented boom suspension system on the 4710,” says Caldwell. “Increased field speeds are possible, 20-mph for spraying and 30-mph for transport. So the operator can get from field to field quickly and spray more acres in less time.”

AutoTrac is now a factory-installed option on the 4720 Sprayers. This fully integrated satellite guidance system has already been used successfully on tractors and will help operators gain even more spray efficiency by reducing spray overlap. Operator fatigue will also be reduced as AutoTrac helps to guide the sprayer though the field.

“AutoTrac will allow operators to run faster, and more accurately in dusty or dark conditions,” he said. “They can spray in optimal conditions regardless of the time of day or night.”