John Deere’s equipment which measures forage crop constituents quickly and accurately while on the move has been highly commended in the 2014 Farm Business Cream Awards, which recognise the best success stories in the UK dairy industry.
The HarvestLab sensor system was recognised in the innovation category.
It is fitted to the 7080 and 8000 Series self-propelled forage harvester range, in which it measures sugars, starch, protein and crude fibre content, as well as dry matter.
John Deere is the only manufacturer with a proven, accurate, commercially available system for measuring grass and maize constituents in real time. Mounted on the forager spout and taking crop readings 17 times per second, the HarvestLab system can also be removed from the forager spout, to allow it be used for stationary feed analysis of different forage ingredients, and for clamp silage analysis. It can also enable more efficient management of the silage additive process.
HarvestLab uses near infrared sensor technology manufactured for John Deere by Zeiss Jena, and robust constituent sensing calibration curves developed specially for John Deere by various partner companies, including DairyLab, depending on the crop. With HarvestLab crop data, livestock farmers to optimise their herd’s performance from silage, more accurately balanced against the correct amounts of extra bought-in feeds when required.
Using HarvestLab, the farmer can adapt more easily to different weather conditions. When it’s wetter he might want to use a longer chop length, which can be adjusted very easily from the cab. Output can be varied and monitored not just from farm to farm, but from field to field, using HarvestLab and the forage harvesters’ infinitely variable length of cut transmission (which can be programmed for automatic adjustment of the length of cut, depending on the dry matter content of the crop being harvested, using the machine’s in-cab GreenStar touchscreen display).
The HarvestLab system has been independently verified by DLG, the Germany Agricultural Society, to consistently deliver from within 2% accuracy.
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