Radio-based RTK networks operated by John Deere dealers continue their upward trajectory. Systems now cover 355 million Farm Service Agency crop acres, based on a 12-mile tower radius. That’s up from about 300 million acres a year ago, says Ryan Roloff, Deere RTK specialist.

Much of the increase has come in areas with rough terrain where more powerful 450-megahertz radios introduced a year ago have made coverage feasible, including parts of southern Illinois and Indiana, Michigan and several southern states.

New RTK features, such as RTK Extend, which allows steering to continue up to 15 min. after losing the RTK signal, have improved reliability as well, Roloff adds. The Extend feature now can be set to revert to John Deere’s SF2 correction signal (which is provided free to RTK customers) if the RTK signal isn’t available after 15 min.

John Deere remains the sole navigation system provider that doesn’t allow RTK corrections from cellular systems. Cellular corrections have been enabled in Europe, but the company is still evaluating cellular RTK in the U.S., Roloff says.