Agriculture Technology Podcast - TruSet Tillage

Podcast Ep. 129: TruSet Tillage Technology

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TruSetTM Tillage Technology is the latest topic of conversation on this episode of the Agriculture Technology Podcast’s series, “Jake and Tony Talk.”

Nothing against no-tillers, minimum tillers, or cover-croppers – but this episode is all about tillage.

John Deere’s TruSet Tillage Technology is an automated system that controls tillage. The operator has in-cab control of the tillage tool, whether that be depth, finishing attachment, down pressure, or side-to-side leveling.

That in-cab control is what allows you to increase productivity in the short tillage windows, and ultimately cover more acres in a day, spending more time tilling and less time manually adjusting for changing conditions.

Tune in as Jake & Tony talk the specifics of TruSetTM.

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Each month, we share the latest in agriculture technology. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing to our podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Have a story idea or a precision ag topic we should highlight? Connect with us on social media:  Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter and connect with podcast host, Tony Kramer on Twitter at: @RDOTonyK.


Episode 81

Catch the full transcript of Episode 1289here:

Tony Kramer:  Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 129. We are back with another episode of Jake and Tony Talk. Today, we are going to be talking about TruSet.

Now, we have talked about TruSet before, I had Sam Paulson on. He is the John Deere Tillage Specialist. He talked a little bit about TruSet. Oh gosh, that was actually a couple of years ago already, when the 2660VT first came out. That's back in 2018, Episode 81 when we last talked about that.

I wanted to be in the heart of tillage season right now. Some guys may even be wrapping up with tillage right now. Up here, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota in the valley, we are heavy in tillage season right now. Nothing against you no-tillers, minimum tillers, cover croppers, but this episode is specifically talking tillage and TruSet.

Jake: Yes, but don't skip it because you may learn something.

Tony: That's true, that is TruSet. Haha, you see what I did there?

Jake: That was good.

Tony: Jake, TruSet. In the past, John Deere had a product called called AccuDepth. There are still some AccuDepth machines or AccuDepth tools out there, I still see them from time to time. Some people absolutely loved that product, some people did not care for that product. Now, TruSet is not AccuDepth, TruSet is a whole new animal. What I like to say is TruSet is AccuDepth on steroids.

TruSet has a lot of different features, a lot of different functionalities that we're going to talk about. It has some different compatibilities, when it comes to tractors and machines. The first thing I want to talk about, Jake, from the agronomic standpoint is what can-- I should take a step back, what is TruSet? TruSet is an automated system that controls tillage. You have in-cab control of your tillage tool, whether that be depth, that be finishing attachment, down pressure, side-to-side leveling.

This feature, this TruSet, can be added or can be factory installed across many John Deere tillage tools from your primary pass in the fall with the 2730 Ripper, 2660VT. I'm sure there's a couple, 2430 Chisel Plow, but it also carries through to the secondary tillage line of 2230s. I don't know the number because we don't see them that often, but the Mulch Finisher, that one, you can get on the Mulch Finishers. It does truly span and think about it, you can also get it on new air cedars with the Pro Series row units. You can get TruSet for down pressure control. You can get TruSet on the 2510H High-Speed Applicator.

There's a lot of different things that TruSet can be used for. The fact that it's automated, you can make in-cab adjustments, things like that. There's also another aspect of it that helps or can help a farm when it comes to data or agronomic perspectives.

Why don't you tell us a little bit about how TruSet can help us from an agronomic/data perspective?

Jake: Let's start from here and say if you didn't listen to the last episode where we literally rambled on for half an hour, we found half an hour that we could talk about rate controllers. Literally, you could take almost every single one of those features and benefits, conveniences, automations that we talked about in rate controllers, and you're going to put it on tillage tool.

One of the cool things that we think about when it comes to rate controllers? The ability to document, the ability to maintain consistent flow rates, well, in this case, we don't have flow rates, we have depth, we have consistent depth. The ability to manipulate, control the output with the press of a button, instead of having to control that dial where we would increase or decrease the pressure on our sprayer or on our fertilizer system. Now, we don't have to go back out there with the wrench and set the gang angles, set the shank depth, all that kind of stuff. We don't have to do any of that. We give it a rough idea of where it wants to be on our general startup and from there on, you can run virtually everything else in the cab. We can automate those processes and we can document those processes.

Just like with rate controllers, we can do with liquids or we can do multiple prescriptions. We can also do prescription tillage, which sounds really freaky. The first time I heard about it, a lot of people get really jacked up about it, they really want to know a lot more about it. Imagine if you knew that you planted higher rates, you seeded a higher population of corn in certain areas of your field. You know by default, you're going to have a lot more residue out there. There's going to be a lot more to size, there's going to be a lot more going on. Maybe you need to get down lower to break up some of those rope balls. Maybe you've hit a hard pan and you know that you're going across the field and we're really dragging in these areas.

We now have the ability to document from past operations. Our harvest layers or spraying layers, we can take those layers and create prescriptions for our tillage. We can control gang angle, we can control depth. We can control the pressure on the rolling basket or on the pro finish leveling system on the back. Those types of pieces, they're very specific, they're very specific to agronomic practices, very specific to the field operations, very specific to the fields themselves. What I think this does is it allows a tool to do even more because you no longer have to make this general decision of, "Well, I guess I'm just going to do everything like this. Then maybe, if it's worth it, I'll get out of the cab and I'll reset it and I'll do this other patch again or change something up."

You can literally either preset it in the cab, you can have presets in the cab based on certain cropping systems, certain crops, whatever customized ideas you want to have in there.

Presets where you can hit the button and just like a change in the flow rate on your sprayer, you can now change how your tillage tool works out in the field.

Loaded answer, I know, but that really is what TruSet, to me, what that brings to the table.

Tony: You touched on a lot of the key features and how it can benefit you, especially, agronomically. You talked about different seeding rates or even maybe you have a flat seeding rate, but there's an area of the field that yields higher than the other spot. You've got hilltops and the honey hole. Whatever it may be, we all know that with yield, comes residue and not all residue is created equal.

Jake: Yes, amen.

Tony: [laughs] You need to size it, you need to do more, maybe you need to turn the soil a little bit more or maybe you just need to size some residue. Whatever it may be, with a tool like a 2660VT, you can adjust that gang angle, you can adjust the depth, you can adjust your finishing attachment. With something like a 2730 Ripper, you can lower your disks, your front disks. You can lower your Ripper shanks, you can raise your Ripper shanks, whatever you need to do.

You also talked about, Jake, the ability to have presets. Maybe it's a soybean preset and a corn preset or sugar beets and soybeans, whatever it may be, every crop is a little bit different and every crop needs to be tilled a little bit different or post crop needs to be tilted a little bit different. We think about grain cart traffic in the grains field. Your Headlands, parking semis on the Headlands, running grain carts. Maybe we want to work that ground just a hair deeper to maybe take out some of that compaction, or maybe we don't. Maybe we want to work at a little bit shallower, whatever your preference may be, we have the ability to make those adjustments right in the cab.

One other things that I get from a lot of people is, "I have my 70-year-old retired neighbor running my tillage tool. I want it to be simple." They say there's nothing more simple than a single point control on depth. I ask them, or I bring up, I say, "What could be more simple if all you do is you set up four presets and you say, hey, when you're in a cornfield, you use the corn preset. When you're in a soybean field, you use the soybean preset. When you're on the Headlands, you use the Headlands preset or whatever you want to name them. Maybe it's different depths. Maybe you have a three-inch preset, then you have a seven-inch preset, then you have a four and a half-inch preset, whatever it may be, what could be more simple than that to be able to do that?"

Also, you brought up the rolling baskets or the finishing attachment at the back of the tillage tool. Without TruSet, you have to get out and you have to adjust that constant down pressure on a needle valve, right on the hitch of the tool. We can adjust that right from the cab. One of the other cool things that we can do and the conversation it gets brought up a lot here in the Red River Valley is what happens when it gets muddy? "What can I do with those rolling baskets before they ball up with mud?" We can lift those up right from in the cab. We can take all the pressure off right from the cab. We can do whatever we want.

The other thing that intrigued me about what you were talking about was you said prescription-based tillage. Maybe those weren't your exact words-

Speaker 2: That sounds familiar.

Tony: - but you talked about running prescriptions on tillage. Is that real?

Speaker 2: Yes, we've done it. It works exactly. It's no different than hitting a button, you're literally just bringing a map in there and telling it, "Hey, when I'm getting into this area, you predefine it just like you would a rate controller." You say, "Instead of 10 gallons per acre, instead of 150 pounds of product per acre, I want 450 pounds of down pressure on my rolling basket." If you're going into a certain area that has a change in the residue that's out there, maybe you want to change that gang angle, and you can do that based on past documentation. We can use a tool like the Agrian prescription builder and operations center and literally just say, "Hey, bring in my harvest map and then we can create a 2660 VT, for example, type of prescription where we can literally adjust that gang angle based on where we're at for yield.

It'll take some making some assumptions in some cases, and it takes kind of getting to know your fields, and most of you know that. If you're just getting into documentation, the story that you know in your head doesn't always match what you're seeing on the screen. It's going to take getting to know that kind of stuff, to know what areas you may want to fine-tune, but for the most part, it aligns very well. That's where having a tool like that and the ability to utilize the agronomic data layers from other operations, as you mentioned, where the grain cart ran, or if you are running an air seeder, if you're running, especially say, a C850 cart, those things are as big as a semi. Especially when they're loaded ,when they're pulling 850 bushels of product, that's a very, very significant weight that's going to be rolling across the field at that certain point.

The ability to know if you're in areas where it's suitable and where you can work those pieces if that is a part of your tillage practice, that's a really nice feature, a nice tool. Like I said, or like Tony said, you can throw anybody, even me, in the cab and I can make a field look really nice. That was one of the first things we ever did. It was the first thing we ever did at the land lab. Literally, that was the only thing, I kid you not, that was the only thing that Tony and Caleb and the other guys were willing to walk away from and trust that I couldn't screw up, because they'd already opened the field up. They'd already got all the power poles, everything was worked around. They're like, "Yes, just go run straight lines back and forth, and we'll be back in an hour." They left me and Brandon, our intern for the summer, alone to go do tillage work.

TruSet is really changing the way that that process really is. It's adding some scientific, a little bit more in-depth. Adding a little bit more nuance and a little bit more presence to what we're doing, but at the same time, it's also making a heck of a lot easier. You kind of win both ways.

Tony: Talking about keeping tillage simple, what is more simple than implementing a prescription and just saying, "Go. Don't worry about the depth, just go. Let the prescription do its thing." I do feel that that is very beneficial, very efficient, and very simple, not having to get in and out of the cab.

Now that being said, single point depth control does come standard, or it comes with a TruSet machine. TruSet is standard on the machines that it's capable of, but it does also come with single-point depth control. If you happen to hook up a tractor that's not compatible, whatever it may be.

Speaking of tractors being compatible, there are a number of different things that can be done to make your tractor compatible. There are a few tractors that John Deere considers TruSet ready, which would be your R series tractors, the 30 series tractors. Now, of course, you do need an additional display in those 30 series machines, but when we get down into the 20s, the 10s, the art series, even some competitive tractors, so maybe you're running an AGCO challenger, now the new Fent, the Fent Varios, however you pronounce it, those can be made TruSet compatible.

Essentially what we're doing is we're mounting a John Deere SCV valve stack on the hitch of the tool and then that is what's communicating to the display. The case quad track SCV stack is essentially just feeding oil to the John Deere SCV stack and then the John Deere SCV stack is what's controlling the tools. It is out there, it is a compatibility kit that can be put on, as well as older John Deere machines. This is not just new John Deere only. We can pretty much turn any tractor out there TruSet. We can get it to be TruSet compatible.

We had already talked about some of the compatibility when it comes to the tools, the 2730s, the 2510 arches, 2430s, 2230s, numerous ones out there. Stop into your local RDO or your local John Deere dealership, they should be able to tell you more. There's also a performance upgrade kits. We can add TruSet to some tools that were ordered without TruSet, when TruSet first came out. Now I say that and TruSet actually, I believe it was released in 2015 or '16, when the 2730 ripper came out. It was released as a new product. It has been around for a little while.

There have been TruSet machines out there, once they released it on the 2730, then it came on the 2230 and a couple of the newer machines. Got it on the new 2430 chisel plow, got it on the 2660 VT. Each tool it controls a little bit different. Not every tool is the same. It all depends on what your configuration is.

Jake: Absolutely.

Tony: There is some value to TruSet, not only being able to make it easier to make adjustments, the in-cab adjustability, the in-cab functionality, but Jake, you also touched on and we talked about in our last episode too, talked about documenting that pass, documenting your tillage. Maybe you want to know the tillage speed. Some of these new tools are more efficient. The 2230 is definitely designed for more speed, we can handle more speed, or maybe it is a 2730 scenario that you want it to be at slower speeds. You want to make sure you're getting nice soil turning and you're really incorporating that residue. There's a lot of agronomic benefits that you had discussed. There's a lot of features and functionality that make things easier-

Jake: You bet.

Tony: - when it comes to running TruSet. Definitely a cool tool. Definitely a lot of benefits to running TruSet on your tillage as much as you want to keep it simple and basic. Like I said before, I don't know how much more simple you can get than using presets, using map-based prescriptions, things like that.

Jake: Quite honestly, it seems like we're adding more to it. Typically, the more features, the more things you add to something more complicated it becomes. The ability for you to then take control of those adjustments, the side to side leveling, just basic features that you-- When we run TruSet equipment, we sometimes take for granted the fact that we have access the ability to make these adjustments because you'll look at the tool, it's like, "Well, that doesn't look quite right. Wait, I can't hit the button in the cab."

It's amazing how many of those subtle adjustments that we would literally just let ride, because we didn't want to get back out in the mud and try to adjust it properly, or we weren't going to be hitting the patch for too long. Now we're doing a better job with our passes. We're more consistent with our passes. If we are doing something different, we're documenting it, so we can see that impact.

I tell you, especially with tools like Field Analyzer Beta, where we're able to bring in our tillage pass, and then overlay harvest map or a yield map of some kind over the top. Now, we can start to see some of those yield benefits for those differences if we do want to do a pressure trial or a depth trial. Maybe you want to dabble a no-till for a season or two and see what agronomic impact that has. Just the ability to document those passes for more than just a generic "Yes, I covered this," what you can do too, just the ability to do that and to do that via JDLink Connect and transferring that data straight into operation center.

You don't even realize the value that it has until you have it. Any time, you probably would say, "Now, I could probably do without, I don't need all that fancy stuff." I tell you, it's definitely if you've never demoed it before, you never tried it before, it's certainly worth the conversation, it's certainly worth a demo. It's a fun demo.

Tony: Absolutely. The last thing I want to touch on that not a lot of people know about, even if they do know TruSet, did you know that with TruSet, you can take advantage of features like section control?

Jake: [chuckles]

Tony: If you happen to till or dig your headlands first, section control will actually raise and lower the tool as you turn around. How cool is that?

Jake: [laughs] Yes, that's cool.

Tony: You don't even have to raise and lower the tillage tool anymore because it will do it on its own. Section control, that's another value-added benefit to TruSet and how this tool can increase efficiency. It can decrease operator fatigue, not having to do a lot of those things, so a very cool feature. If you have any questions about TruSet, you're curious, Jake talked about demoing a tool with TruSet, please stop into your local RDO Equipment dealership or your local John Deere dealership that you work with in your area. Talk to them about TruSet, they will be able to get you the information you are looking for.

Jake: For you no-till guys, talk to him about the 2660VT with TruSet, and I'm just saying. For those of you who are no-till guys that stuck it out to the bitter end, there's your nugget of information. Go talk to them about residue management using a 2660VT.

Tony: There you go, that last little nugget of information. With that, thank you again for tuning in to another episode. Thanks, again, Jake for being here.