Deere and Caterpillar are touting the benefits of autosteer systems for tractors. Both systems drive straight lines, virtually eliminate implement overlap and reduce operator fatigue.

The race is on

In early November, John Deere announced it would sell its Greenstar Autotrac system as an option on its 8000 and 9000 series track tractors. Three weeks later, Caterpillar announced it would offer its Auto-Guide Satellite Navigation system as an option on new MT700 tractors.

John Deere

The Greenstar AutoTrac Assisted Steering System works as an extension of Deere's existing Greenstar system and worldwide StarFire network. A StarFire position receiver and dual frequency differential corrections accurately steer the tractor down the field. A “shift track” function lets the operator press a button to reposition the path to the right or left in increments of about an inch. At the end of the row, a “turning view” function on the display screen helps guide the operator back into the next pass.

If you don't have a Greenstar system already installed in your tractor, Deere expects the total cost to set up AutoTrac to be approximately $15,480. Cost will be less for tractors already equipped with Greenstar. The system will be available first on 8000 Ten and 9000 series track tractors and then on all current tractor models, by August 2002. For more information, contact your John Deere dealer, visit www.johndeereag.com or circle 214.

Challengers

The Auto-Guide system will be an option on the new Challenger MT700 tractors. Although the system comes from Beeline Technologies, it will be unique to the MT700, working with the tractor's “Intellitronics” network. The DGPS system provides sub-meter accuracy through either the no-fee WAAS or paid-subscription Omnistar satellite correction systems. Cat says the system, powered by NovAtel GPS hardware, will be upgradable and will attain greater accuracy as new software becomes available. The system is a $10,440 option. For more information, contact Caterpillar Agricultural Products, Dept. FIN, 1201 Barber-Greene Rd., DeKalb, IL 60115, 815/765-5600, www.cat.com or circle 215.