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Podcast 181: TruSet Active Tillage

23 Nov 2022  •  Tony Kramer

In this episode, Tony introduces us to TruSet Active, available on 2024 models for tillage. The tool can make active adjustments to depth with a sensor on its frame, an industry first. That, coupled with documenting the precise depth can be an important tool to utilize on your operation.

Watch this video to see TruSet Active in the field.

You can find past podcast episodes and view show notes by visiting our Podcast website

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Read the entire transcript from the latest episode,

We're going to talk about a new feature that was recently introduced called TruSetActive. Now, last episode we talked about the new ST series tillage or applicators, I should say, John Deere's new line of strip-till units.

When they introduced that, they also introduced a new feature that is within the TruSet Tillage family, and it's called TruSetActive. Now, the biggest difference is, of course, that active name. Before we jump into talking about TruSetActive, I want to take a step back and just review TruSet Tillage. What is it? Where do we use it? Why do we use it? Some of the benefits of it.

Now, we did do an episode on TruSet back in 2020, episode 129. If you really want to dive deep just on TrueSet Tillage, I encourage you to go back and listen to episode 129, where we talked more in-depth on TruSet Tillage. Right now, I'm just going to give a very brief overview, just a reminder of what is TruSet, where, and why do we use it, and some of the benefits.

TruSet Tillage. It was initially introduced in 2015 on the 2730 combination ripper. Now, the reason they put it on the combination ripper first is because there was a lot of adjustments being made, or there's a lot of capability to make adjustments on that tool.

We have the disc depth. We have the ripper depth. We have the closing wheels as well as any sort of a finishing attachment if we've got rolling baskets or one of those attachments on the back. Now, the biggest thing, or one of the first pieces to TruSet Tillage benefiting the operator, is getting all of those adjustments right in the cab.

Prior to TruSet Tillage, or let's just say not prior, but if we had a 2730 ripper without TruSet on it, we would have to go back to the tool. Your ripper shank depth would be set with a single point adjustment, your disks, closing disks, and finishing attachment would then be set with cylinder stops or donuts or whatever you want to call them, but the clamps or the clips that go on your hydraulic cylinders. That is how we would set those other pieces based on where we have our ripper shanks set with that single point.

In comes TruSet Tillage. We moved all of those adjustments up into the cab. Right on your John Deere display, whether it'd be a 2630 or one of the Gen 4 family of displays, the 4600 on your armrest, or the 4640 universal in the corner of your cab, all of those adjustments are right there in cab. If we want to go up, we hit up. If we want to go down, we hit down. That's just step one with the TruSet Tillage.

Step two was being able to set presets. We could actually-- I say we could, we can. TruSet Tillage is still available today on all of these tools, but we can make preset settings to where if we're in, say, soybean stubble versus corn stubble, or we are in, let's say, a sugar beet field or we're in a wheat field. Whatever we're doing with tillage, we can set our presets on how we want that tillage to work.

Maybe we're in a cornfield, and we want to till our headlands deeper and/or more shallow than the rest of the field, or we get to high ground and low ground, we can set all of those presets. Step one was getting the adjustment in the cab, benefit two, I say step one, but benefit one, getting the adjustments in cab. Benefit two was being able to set presets, and then benefit three was we actually introduced the ability to do map-based prescriptions or prescription-based tillage.

Now you would maybe say, "Hey, why do we need prescription-based tillage?" Well, what we can do is based on soil types, or we can do, like I said with the presets, high ground low ground, or maybe we're going off a yield map. Just generally speaking, yield flows in line with how much residue, higher yields, more residue, lower yields, less residue.

Maybe we want to base our tillage off of our yield map, where we are being more aggressive in the higher-yielding areas and a little bit less aggressive in the lower-yielding areas. We have the ability to do that utilizing the Agrian prescription creator right in the John Deere Operation Center. Any way that we can build a prescription, like I said, soil maps, yield maps, or just freehand drawing, maybe you know where you want to till more aggressive or less aggressive, all that can be done, gets loaded into the display and TruSet Tillage takes over making all of those adjustments.

Like I said, just a real brief overview of TruSet. It was introduced in 2015, and it came out on more and more tools after it was introduced on that 2730 ripper. We've got it on our 2230 Field Cultivators, we've got it on our 2330 Mulch Finishers, our disks, our 2660 VT.

When the 2660 VT came out, that was another one, similar to-- Our field cultivators were just essentially adjusting depth and then maybe down pressure if you have a finishing attachment on the back, but with the 2660, it was similar to that 2730. The 2660, we can adjust our overall depth, our gang angle, our wing downforce, finishing attachments, fore and aft, all of that can be adjusted right from in the cab. Again, very beneficial.

Now, what I'm really excited to talk about is the whole point of this episode about TruSetActive. John Deere just released TruSetActive, and what it is, is exactly that. Active adjustments being made to the depth of the tool.

Tillage in the past, your tillage depth has always been based off of frame height, essentially. Wherever we set that single point or those cylinder stops or whatever, we follow the frame down to the transport or carrying wheels. Wherever those wheels touch the ground and wherever that shank is, how big the shank or whatever tillage tool disc, whatever it may be, it's just that space between the bottom of your wheels to however low you set your disks or shanks or whatever you're pulling.

Now, one thing or the biggest thing, I should say, with that form of depth setting is it's never taken into account soft spots in the field or maybe mud buildup on the wheels. That has never been taken into account. Let's take, maybe it's a little tacky out there. You're still doing, the tillage is going just fine, but it's a little bit tacky, so you're getting a little bit of mud buildup on the wheels.

As you go throughout the field and the mud builds up, maybe it falls off, but builds up and falls off, you are never compensating for that. Whether it's a quarter inch of mud or up to half inch of mud, whatever it may be, your depth is constantly varying because of that. In comes TruSetActive. What is being done with TruSetActive is a sensor is being put on the frame of the tool.

This is the first time in tillage that we are able to say, "I want to till two inches deep," and it will till two inches deep. It will then make adjustments for any mud or soft spots or anything like that. Yes, of course, there is some calibration that goes into it to zero the machine out, but once you've got it calibrated, once you've got it zeroed out, that onboard sensor will, one, go to the depth that you want it set out. Are we tilling two inches deep? Are we tilling eight inches deep? Are we tilling 14 inches deep?

Whatever we're doing within our soil profile, that sensor watches the top of the soil and then makes adjustments to make sure the tip of our disks or the tip of our ripper shanks or field cultivator, whatever we're pulling, is at that depth.

Now, again, back to the mud build-up on your wheels or the hitting a soft spot, as you're going through, it will make that adjustment. If all of a sudden the entire tool starts to sink in because we've hit some softer soils, it will make that adjustment. It will raise up the tool a little bit so we're still tilling at that, say, two inches deep, rather than falling into that softer soil, and now we're tilling at, let's say, three inches deep when we only want to be tilling at two inches deep.

Now, many of you may ask where's the benefit in that? We may see the benefit in consistent tillage depth, but is it really making a difference when we go from two inches to three inches, or maybe we get some mud buildup, and we're going from two inches to an inch and a half? What we can do and what we've had the ability to do with TruSet is documenting this information.

We get out there with TruSet Active, and we are now documenting the precise depth that we are tilling at. We can take that maybe next year, maybe two years, maybe five years down the road, and we're able to look and say, "Did we make adjustments? How deep are we tilling? Did it impact our yield positively or negatively?"

We can utilize this as not just an infield, "Hey, we know we're tilling at five inches deep," but we can then take that information, that data, and we can review it. We can use it to make educated decisions year after year after year, and we can start to fine-tune our tillage practices.

As I've stated in other episodes here, we're not just documenting our yield maps anymore. We're documenting all four passes. When I say four passes, I'm talking tillage, seeding, application, and harvest. We're using all four of those layers or all four of those operations or seasons or however you want to look at it. We're using all four of those to make decisions to make our operations better.

Whether it's our application pass, it's our tillage pass, it's our seeding, or our harvest, we can take each one of those and make educated decisions based off of the data that we're collecting. TrueSetActive not only gives us the ability to consistently till at the depth that we want to be at, but it's also going to give us that feedback. It's going to give us that information in the operations center.

Yes, today, TrueSet Tillage can do that. The only difference is it's not making those adjustments. We are falling victim to soft spots in the field where the whole tool falls in, or the mud build up on the wheels where the tool will slowly start to raise up out of the ground because it's getting that quarter inch, half inch, inch of mud built up, which raises it up out of the ground.

There's a lot of benefits there. Very excited for this. Like I said, industry first, industry exclusive with John Deere releasing TrueSetActive. Now, when will this be available? When can you get it? So it is going to come in base on model year 24 tillage tools. The 2230 field cultivator, 2330 mulch finisher or 2630 disks, and our 2660 VT model year 24 on those tools, it will come in base. Not too far out. Very excited for this technology.

The more data we're collecting, sometimes we ask ourselves, gosh, we've got all this data now, what do we do with it? Again, it's tools to make educated decisions. We review it. We analyze it. We can then make decisions year after year on how to make practice changes, or maybe we're doing good maybe with what we're doing, and we don't want to make practice changes. All of that is information that can help our operations be better and better year after year.

I hope this was informative for you. I hope you are excited as excited as I am about TrueSetActive and some of the benefits that it can bring your operation. With that, we will catch you on the next one.

Please take a moment to subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already. You can subscribe to the show on the many different podcasting apps that we're streaming this out to, such as Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify, as well as many others. While you're out there, drop us a review. We'd love to hear what you think about the show.

Lastly, make sure to follow RDO Equipment Company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube. You can also follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK.

Tony Kramer

Tony Kramer is the Product Manager of Planting Technology and a Certified Crop Advisor at RDO Equipment Co. He is also the host of the Agriculture Technology podcast. If you have any questions for Tony or would like to be a guest on the podcast, you can find him on X at @RDOTonyK.

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