Tips for a Successful Planting Season

posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 in Blog


Make the perfect end row turn every time with AutoTrac™ Turn Automation

AutoTrac Turn Automation gives you a complete solution for accurate and repeatable end-of-pass turns throughout the entire field. It automatically completes accurate turns and carries out end-of-pass functions at appropriate times during the turn. This reduces strain on the operator and reduces input costs.

AutoTrac Turn Automation offers options to meet numerous operating requirements:

U-TURN – this option is a simple U-turn for traditional end-of-row turns to the next pass.
FIGURE-EIGHT TURN – this turn is helpful when operating

at an angle to the headland. It allows the tractor to make a large sweeping figure-eight turn which reduces turn angle and allows the field boundary to be followed with each turn.

STRAIGHT THROUGH – this option causes the machine to continue through an upcoming boundary and not turn. It is helpful for operating through passable internal boundaries and allows the machine to raise the implement, cross a passable boundary, and lower it on the other side.

AutoTrac Turn Automation offers many benefits to the operator:

• Ability to focus on the job to make necessary adjustments and better agronomic decisions on the go
• Ability to watch the tractor

and implement more closely, allowing for proactive adjustments instead of reactive fixes

• Ability to more closely watch for damaging obstacles such as rocks, washouts, or holes

• Increased productivity through faster, more efficient, and smoother end turns

These benefits result in more uptime for the equipment and an operator who is more alert at the end of the day. Accurate end-of-pass turns are difficult to repeat throughout the workday. At each turn, the operator must accurately perform several tasks at the proper time. As the hours add up, it becomes more difficult to perform these tasks, which can include turning the tractor, changing speed, raising and lowering the implement, etc. As fatigue sets in, headland turns can become inconsistent.


Skilled operators are becoming more difficult to find.

As agriculture equipment becomes larger and more advanced, some operators struggle or simply refuse to learn how to use new features that can make your operation more efficient and productive.
AutoTrac Turn Automation gives operators automated control of steering, machine speed, and implement functions during end-of-pass turns. The setup process is easy and self-guided.

Skilled Labor
AutoTrac Turn Automation automatically completes turns and manages the implement using field and headland boundaries as the reference point. The system uses implement and machine dimensions to accurately guide the tractor around an optimal end-of-pass turn.
By automating end-of-pass turns, the system also more accurately positions the tractor and implement for the next field pass to increase accuracy and efficiency. The repeatability of AutoTrac

Turn Automation allows operators with less experience to perform as well or better than seasoned operators. AutoTrac Turn Automation makes turns that are accurate, repeatable, and efficient compared to turns driven manually by the operator which can vary from pass to pass.
It helps users reach a higher level of precision and efficiency and reduces operator fatigue.

Use pre-established field boundaries to improve turn performance


The exterior boundary is the perimeter of the field. It is required for AutoTrac™ Turn Automation to operate. For the best accuracy, these should be driven recorded boundaries.
The exterior headland is the area at each end of the field where the turns occur. It is required for AutoTrac Turn Automation to operate.
A passable interior boundary is the perimeter of an area inside the field that is not

farmed but can be crossed with a machine & implement. One example is a waterway. They are optional for AutoTrac Turn Automation to operate.
An impassible interior boundary is the perimeter of an area inside the field that is not farmed and cannot be crossed with a machine and implement. They are optional for AutoTrac Turn Automation to operate.
An interior headland is the area around an impassible interior boundary where the turns occur. They are optional for AutoTrac Turn Automation to operate.


Headland boundaries are used by AutoTrac Turn Automation to control the starting point for turns and implement sequences. They are displayed as dashed yellow lines. Only exterior boundaries and impassable interior boundaries can have a headland.
Constant offset is a quick way to establish headland boundaries. Simply enter the width of headland, and the system will generate a boundary around the entire field of that distance.


Selecting the Right Correction Signal

As equipment gets larger and margins tighter, accuracy of in-field operations and input placement is more critical than ever.
When making a pass in a field, traveling from one end of the field to another, the position accuracy of the return pass is critical. Pass-to-pass accuracy means the planter guess rows will be accurate and subsequent passes are less likely to result in crop damage.
Repeatability defines how accurately the receiver calculates its position over a relatively long time window.

GreenStar™ 3 2630 Display: Increase profitability and reduce overlap

Farming requires multiple passes. This requires a method of guidance with a high degree of repeatability in order to minimize overlap (extra cost of seed, fertilizer, chemical and machine hours) and skips (loss of production).
Maintaining repeatable accuracy is important in all operations, especially with cropping practices that require multiple passes through the field. AutoTrac creates more consistent row spacing, reducing the

potential for crop damage with subsequent passes through the field. University studies have shown that operators tend to overlap 5 to 13 percent over the course of an entire day, which could mean up to 60 cm (23 in.) of overlap with a 6 m (19 ft) tillage implement. This means that a producer with 300 ha (740 acres) actually works and pays for 330 ha (815 acres).
With reducing overlap by using AutoTrac more ground is covered in the same time and inputs like chemicals, fertilizer, fuel, labor and machine hours are reduced.

Reduce operator fatigue and time spent in each field

AutoTrac™ assisted steering system greatly increases operator productivity by maintaining consistent accuracy and efficiency. Operators remain more alert while they are in the field and are able to focus on implement settings and varying field conditions. AutoTrac also allows operators to confidently create evenly spaced rows past sunset, as well as in rain, dust, or fog. AutoTrac also improves operator comfort as the operator has time to concentrate on implement tasks.

Reduce compaction with AutoTrac™ guidance system

As tractors and field equipment become larger and heavier, there is a growing concern about soil compaction. Heavy equipment and tillage implements can cause damage to the soil structure. Soil structure is important because it determines the ability of a soil to hold and conduct water, nutrients, and air necessary for plant root activity.
By using AutoTrac, operators can optimize the number of passes and reduce compaction. Additionally, the operator can confine traffic between certain rows and avoid compacting the row area.
AutoTrac allows producers to use the same traffic lanes year after year, sacrificing a small portion of the field in favor of having no wheel traffic in the majority of the field. Restricting traffic to specific lanes also provides a firm soil surface for more efficient tractor operation.
Without using AutoTrac during field operations, there is tendency for passes to overlap. Each pass over a field under poor conditions can cause significant damage to the soil.

traffic lanes

Use many tracking options for any field 

AutoTrac™ guidance steering system allows operators to use tramline management more effectively, minimizing soil compaction. Additionally, AutoTrac allows the machine operator to select from a variety of guidance modes including straight track, AB curves, adaptive curves, circle track, boundary fill, machine access, and swap track. These tracking options allow the operator to select the track best suited for the field and conditions reducing the number of passes needed to cover the field.


The curve track mode helps operators by automatically steering curved guidance lines on terrain that does not allow for straight track to be used (rolling hills or contours).
When running with curve track, keep in mind these basic principles:
Straight track is more accurate than curve track.
A machine with an integrated AutoTrac steering kit is more accurate than a machine with the AutoTrac Universal steering kit.
Slower speeds are more accurate than faster speeds.
Gentle curves are more

accurate than tight turn radius curves. Two different modes can be used depending on the type of curves that need to be created: adaptive curves or A/B curves.


This track allows the operator to record a manually driven curved guidance line. Operators using a GreenStar™ 3 2630 Display have the ability to record and utilize multiple adaptive curves per field. This feature is especially useful as operators maneuver around terraces or irregular, constantly changing fields. Adaptive curve mode also has the ability to connect line segments when documentation is selected as

the recording source. Self-propelled forage harvester or combine operators may find this functionality useful if they need to quickly raise their header for any reason.


This track allows the operator to set a curved line in a field with two end points (A and B) and will generate guidance lines parallel to the initial track in either direction.
The line stays the same across the field, and an operator can use skip track.
Even if an operator drives around an obstacle in the field, the next pass follows the original track line.

types of curves


adjusts to obstacle


The straight track mode helps operators by automatically driving straight. Operators can create an initial straight line using a variety of different setup options.

Once the track has been defined, all subsequent track lines in the field are created parallel to each other at the defined track spacing distance.


Unique to John Deere Active Implement Guidance, the follow track mode assists the driver when operating headlands or navigating around obstacles, allowing the implement to follow the tractor guidance path. This helps reduce crop damage and soil compaction. 


Swap track provides operators the ability to quickly switch guidance modes as they work through fields varying geographic

conditions. Operators can easily move from straight track to any of the other tracking modes as needed. Swap track allows the operator to toggle between up to four different guidance lines within the same field on the GreenStar 3 2630 Display. Operators can also change the track order while AutoTrac is engaged.
Swap track is available on the GreenStar 3 2630 Display.
NOTE: Swap track is not available on the GreenStar 3 CommandCenter.


The circle track mode helps operators drive concentric circles in a field when a circle is set up and guidance is being used. Operators can create an initial circle using a variety of different methods. Once the initial circle has been defined, all the subsequent circles in the field are created. Circle track is available in Parallel Tracking mode. Pivot Pro activation must be

purchased to use circle track with automatic guidance.


The Pivot Pro module allows the operator to automatically guide a machine in defined concentric circles in fields with center-pivot irrigation systems.

Circle track functionality is included with GreenStar Basics, allowing the operator to manually guide the machine around the concentric circle without an upgrade activation. Pair Pivot Pro activation with GreenStar AutoTrac to have the machine drive circles automatically.

Pivot Pro is approved for level fields, as accuracy can be degraded as slope increases. If there is slope in the field, there is the potential the circle track space and the center-pivot tower track will not match up. Keep in mind, AutoTrac draws the circle spacing as if the plane were level.


Tramline management provides the opportunity to setup and edit certain guidance lines as tramlines. Those lines will be highlighted in a separate color in the guidance screen. Tramline management is available on the GreenStar 3 2630 Display in straight track, AB curve, and circle track modes.

Tramlines can be set and stored for each A-B line in the display. This allows the operator to properly seed and plant fields with accurate tramlines defined. This will make it easier to reduce inputs on all following field operations such as spraying.
NOTE: Tramline management is not currently available on the GreenStar 3 CommandCenter™ controls.


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