Operating a combine in variable conditions can prove fatiguing, with constant adjustments necessary to prevent over- or under-loading the machine. A new technology from John Deere is offering the automation of that process.

“It’s called predicted feed rate control,” says John Deere’s Nathan Greuel, “and it uses a combination of both cameras and satellite imagery to determine how fast the machine should go in the field.”

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Also called proactive throughput controller, the system uses 3D stereo cameras and biomass maps generated via satellite to calculate regression models, merge sensor values, and adjust driving speed and settings to suit the situation.

“It’s kind of this evolution of our existing product called HarvestSmart,” says Greuel. “This is the next generation of that, where it’s looking predictively in front of the machine to determine if it should speed up or slow down based on the crop density and the classification of height of the crop.”

With the combine operating automatically, Agritechnica is calling this a major step in the development of the automation of threshing crop harvesting.

Greuel says we’ll see this product in “the near future.”

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