John Deere just increased the availability of its autosteer technology by adding it to selected wheeled tractors. The GreenStar AutoTrac assisted steering is now available on the 8020 series MFWD and independent link suspension wheeled tractors. Introduced last year, GreenStar AutoTrac was available on the Deere 8000, 8010, 8020, 9000 and 9020 series track tractors. The assisted steering system guides tractors in a straight line within 4 in. of the previous pass. The operator still turns the tractor at the end of each pass.
In order for AutoTrac to work on wheeled tractors, an electrohydraulic steering system is required. A field-installed kit is available for 8020 series tractors with MFWD or independent link suspension. These tractors are already compatible for AutoTrac.
Spectrum Technologies has updated its software for its WatchDog Temp 2K Data Logger. The logger provides temperature readings in some of agriculture's most punishing conditions, including hog buildings, grain bins, water and soil. It reads temperatures from -14°F to 185°F. It measures ¾ in. across. The SpecWare 6.0 software for the logger will upload temperature readings for analysis and graphing. It requires Windows 95 or later-version software and a computer with at least 16 mB of memory and a CD ROM drive.
A docking station helps transfer data from the logger to a computer. The SpecWare 6.0 software costs $99. Price of the logger is $29. The docking station costs $89. Only one docking station is needed to support multiple loggers.
A new low-cost soil moisture probe and logger from Decagon Devices will help growers monitor moisture for irrigation and other crop management needs. The company claims that its ECH2O soil moisture probe is a research-grade dielectric water content sensor that is reliable and accurate. It sells for $100. The ECH2O data logger collects data either directly or remotely from the probe and retails for $375. Special software will graphically display the data by volumetric water content or percent of available water over time.
The ECH2O system originally was developed for vineyards and orchards. Now the equipment is being introduced for field crops.