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Podcast Ep. 123: ExactRate

29 Jul 2020  •  Tony Kramer

Earlier this spring, Deere announced new, factory-installed ExactRate liquid fertilizer application system for select planters. Deere says the new system is, “ideal for farmers who apply liquid fertilizer during planting and want accurate nutrient placement.”

ExactRate is compatible with select models of John Deere planters with electric drive including the 1775NT, 1795, DB60, DB 44 and DB66 Planters. Thanks to its hydraulic-driven pump, ExactRate can be operated at maximum speeds up to 10 mph (16 km/h), enabling operators to plant up to 5.9 more acres per hour.

Read the full ExactRate release from John Deere here.


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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.


Read the episode’s complete transcript here:

Tony Kramer:  Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 123. Today we are going to be talking about a new John Deere product called ExactRate, but before we dive into the show, please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast if you haven't already.

Now with that, let's dive into this show. We are back, Tony Kramer.

Tony: We are going to be talking about John Deere ExactRate, but before we do that, we are still looking to name this show or this segment of the Agriculture Technology Podcast. So if you have any ideas, reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, wherever you're listening to this, let us know what you think. This episode specifically, I just want to give a big shout out to @MatthewCKrueger on Twitter. Matt actually gave us the idea for this episode to talk about the ExactRate product. Big thanks to you, Matt. Hopefully, we can get you the information you're looking for on this topic. With that, Jake, ExactRate.

Jake: Yes, let's get right down to it.

Tony: I am really excited about this product. For a while, John Deere has had or offered a fertilizer system, a very basic ground drive, very simple, whether it's a two by two, an in-furrow, just a very simple system when it comes to fertilizer application. They stepped up their game. This product is amazing and we're going to tell you a little bit about it. We've been able to lay our eyes on it, get our hands on it. I haven't been able to see it run in the field yet obviously because it is a brand new product, but we'll get to see that come spring of 2021. Super excited about ExactRate.

Jake, you have increased level of knowledge when it comes to the ExactApplyTM sprayers. Now, this system of ExactRate is very similar to ExactApply.

Jake: Yes, it is.

Tony: How is that?

Jake: Actually, if you look at it at its bare-bones components, it is literally like adding an ExactApply sprayer to your planter. The nozzle bodies are the same, the controllers are the same, the way the entire thing runs, they're all literally the exact same parts, exact same components. You literally go to a nozzle body and they call it a turret on a planter, as well as they call it a turret on a sprayer. You go to that part, you look at the part number, it is 100% identical to the sprayer components.

Tony: You said we are essentially putting an ExactApply sprayer boom on our planter, but it's going to be applying our fertilizer.

Jake: Put fertilizer, absolutely. We already know that some of the cool capabilities of ExactApply is that you can apply high rates of product through that system. This actually is a perfect tie in, it's already plumbed for that. It's the exact same, literally, exact same components inside and out. The only difference is we cut it a little shorter, and because we're not going to be using nozzles, we're literally going to just run a line from each row-unit. You put one in between two-row units, and suddenly, you have a terrific fertilizer system without having to reinvent the wheel.

Tony: You're taking that ExactApply nozzle body, but one nozzle body is controlling two rollers because you have the A solenoid and the B solenoid.

Jake: Yes, that's right.

Tony: It's very interesting and before you get this idea in your head that the nozzle body, the ExactApply nozzle body is not the most inexpensive component, and to put that on your planter, the one thing before we get into some of the specifics, I just want to say, this fertilizer system, it's not going to be for everybody.

Jake: No, it's not.

Tony: This really is more intended for the, of course, the ExactEmerge planters.

Jake: That's right.

Tony: The ones that are going to be going anywhere from 5 to 10 miles an hour and anywhere in between. This system, because of its pulsability, you have the ability to go upwards of 10 miles an hour and still apply that product you want. Maybe some of the people that are doing prescription rate fertilizer, again, whether it's in-furrow, it's two by two, however, you want to place it, you can, but for the guys out there that are just looking to do that four gallons, five gallons of infertile fertilizer, just some popup starter, whatever you want to call it, this is a much more advanced system.

Maybe it's not going to be the right solution for you, but maybe it is. There's a lot of cool features and we'll talk a little bit more about that. Keep that in mind, depending what you're looking to do with your starter fertilizer, whether it's in-furrow, it's two by two, or it's two by two by two, the rear two by two system, there are options out there.

Jake: Absolutely.

Tony: Jake, let's talk just a little bit more about the system all the way from the pump and all of this comes factory installed, correct?

Jake: That's right, absolutely.

Tony: Factory installed system, the pump, the plumbing, the nozzle bodies, the placement in-furrow or two by two, however it goes, let's talk a little bit more about all that.

Jake: Yes, for sure. The cool thing about this, if you think about what a custom system looks like, whether it be a totally tubular, could be a liquid shift system, you can go all the way across the board of all the different systems. Those aftermarket and add on components, they get clunky, they get heavy, there's a lot of added rate controllers, a lot of added pumps, tools that your planter has to have in order to run the planter, but also tools that your fertilizer system also have to have in order to run that part.

The beauty of this system and being a fully integrated solution, being fully a part of the planter coming from the factory wired and plumbed already, everything's done, we can actually share a lot of components. We're not going to need extra power sources, it's going to run off the same power beyond. It's a hydraulic drive pump that's literally already on the system. It's going to basically add two extra hydraulic lines and that's it. It's literally all completely tied in. You don't need a separate rake controller, it's going to run off of the rake controller that's already on the tractor, or already on the planter going to the tractor.

You run this through the display, it doesn't run through a virtual terminal or anything like that. It's just like adding literally a sprayer to your run page or to your screen, your homepage, where you running a sprayer and planter at the same time. It gives you a picture of a tank and shows you your rows, and they run the two systems. It's just like you don't have to have a master control switch or a flip switch as you finish a row where you're going to add that to it, you're going to lift the planter, and slow down, and make your turn while you're trying to turn off your pump, and while you're trying to run all these components at once.

It's literally all one piece. You lift the planter, the system shuts off. If you're going across the boundary, the row by row shut-offs will match your planter exactly the same. It's really a great solution. Like you said, it may not be for everyone, but at the same point, I think anybody can find the features and benefits of this system within their own organization, within their own farming operation.

They'll find value in their own way, whether it be the turn compensation because just like we take those benefits from the sprayer, the turn compensation when we're  decreasing the duty cycle on the inside, and increasing on the outside, we have the same compatibilities, the same features on the planters as well.

Tony: That's exactly one thing I wanted to touch on and talk about is your ground drive systems or your other basic systems, I shouldn't say basic, but your other more advanced systems out there, they don't have turn compensation, where ExactRate does. When we talk about precise nutrient placement over applying, under applying, the same concept that is used in the ExactEmerge planter, the 5e planter, the ExactApply sprayer, turn compensation as you're going around those turns, it's going to decrease that flow on the inside of the planter and it's going to increase the flow on the outside, so you're still getting your 5, 8, 10 gallons down or whatever you may be applying.

The other thing you talked about is that it has its own, what they're calling an app, and ExactRate app-

Jake: That's right.

Tony: - in the Gen 4 display. Of course, with the new planters, the 5es, the ExactEmerge planters, we need Gen 4 in order to run them so they're not compatible with the GS3. This is fully integrated into the Gen 4 or 4600 command center or 4640 display. It gives you its own app, just like the planter has everything like that, but you did mention about a rate controller. I know there are some guys out there that are putting down two and some guys even three products with their planter, whether they're doing one system is a two by two and the other system is in-furrow, this system is still compatible with a rate controller.

The guy that wants ExactRate can put down his in-furrow with his ExactRate, and then he can use a separate system, maybe it's a SureFire system or AgXcel system that he can utilize with a GreenStarTM Rate Controller and put down the two by two.

Jake: For sure.

Tony: So it's all compatible, we can still put down multiple products with multiple systems and it'll all work in conjunction with each other. The other thing I wanted to touch on, Jake, is just the components. You talked about the nozzle bodies, how one nozzle body touches two rows or one nozzle body controls two rows. Talk a little more about that and how it's related to the ExactApply system itself.

Jake: Those of you who have run or purchased or have at least looked at an ExactApply nozzle body before, we know that it has the two solenoids on the top, we have the ability to control the flow to the front or the rear port. Essentially, you could go to any dealer right now and purchase that ExactApply nozzle body, it's the exact same nozzle body. The difference is there's going to be a cap, and then also with that cap, the planter cap instead of having two ports to go down that would control your nozzles, we're replacing that with two side ports that one will essentially be plumbed to the left row and the other port will be plumbed to the right row.

Then also in addition to that, we also have a pressure censoring system, or some guys would call it maybe a blockage controller or some kind of a flow controller where you can monitor to make sure you don't have blockage or you make sure you don't have anything caught in there. Those are some of the cool components. Like I said, they carry directly over from ExactApply. It is 100% the same components. Though I took apart one of the ExactRate turret the other day, exact same theory of operation, there's no differences. They are still run by the master nozzle controller, each nozzle body or NZCs as they're known.

They still have their own software, they control their own rates. There are a couple of different components that you'll find with an ExactRate planter. We almost get a little too excited about it and think that it's capable of doing almost more things than what it really is. The lights that we're accustomed to seeing on the ExactApply sprayers are the great selling point of that. Those lights are only for diagnostic purposes on a planter.

As much as I would love to see my planter light up from right to left or left to right as I'm closing out a row at night, because we don't run everything during the day, so when you get dusk and you get to see the light show of your machine, as much as I would love to see my planter light up like a sprayer boom, that's not really the purpose of that, it is purely for diagnostic purposes. You can't have individual fertilizer rates per row.

It's basically if you're running a prescription and it does split the row right versus left or something, basically, it's going to take the majority rate that your receiver is passing through that it knows the location of, and it's going to divert that across the entire boom or the entire planter. There are a couple of things that it can't do, but quite honestly, with the full integration, with the accessibility now of parts where ExactRate parts, ExactApply parts, the more of these components that we see across multiple machines, the more likely that you're going to have a great accessibility of those parts at the parts counter.

If you go to any of your John Deere dealers, the likelihood of them having that part in stock is going to be much greater or much more enhanced.

Tony: One of the things you talk about, all those parts and no longer needing the third party components or parts or pieces. From John Deere, we can get two types of placement. We can get the in-furrow or we can get a two by two frame-mounted single disc opener up in front. There are some people out there that are very particular with their fertilizer placement, and maybe it is an aftermarket placement tool that they utilize. Can they still use that third party component and just plumb it into the ExactApply system?

Jake: Yes, you can. That's really the nice thing about it is you can only have one single product and you can only have one flow rate. You can't run an in-furrow and a two by two system. Like you said, you could add some of those third-party systems because there's still plenty of room on the bar, and you still have the ability to run a separate rate controller, all those things are still available to you. After looking at how this thing is plumbed, because that's been a question we've got, can you add some of those aftermarket parts? Can you add like a furrow jet system?

You can't run insecticides, you can't run a couple of additional products with it, but can you split it and go in different directions and have custom liquid application systems? Absolutely, you can.

Tony: Yes, so that was actually a good question we had gotten from a customer of RDO is running the precision planting furrow jet.

Jake: That's right.

Tony: Which I think is a very neat fertilizer placement tool, but the thing with that is you cannot run multiple products out of ExactRate. In that instance, you would have to add another fertilizer system, and then you'd have maybe ExactRate would be your in-furrow and then the other system would be your wings or whatever they call it on their side, but that is capable. One of the questions I got, Jake, am I going to lose my pretty little red ball sight glass system out on the frame watching the flow bounce up and down? Am I going to lose that?

Jake: Yes. You could have it, I suppose, if you wanted to, but the beauty of it is, instead of having to look behind you all day long, or have a mirror strategically placed, or a camera so you could watch it on the screen, you could literally just watch the screen.

Tony: That was a loaded question. Thank you for answering it the way I was expecting it to be answered. Yes, the flow rate, everything is on the display, it's completely integrated. No longer having to worry about the dust cloud and not being able to see that red ball system, no longer have to worry about some of those sight glasses breaking over the winter months or things like that, which actually brings up another good point. Cleaning, we know with the ExactApply sprayer, there's a little more extensive cleaning and winterization.

Up here in the northern states, we got to make sure we do a good job at maintaining that system. What's that going to look like for this planter system with these nozzle bodies, Jake?

Jake: Really, the theory of operation holds the same whether it's a sprayer or a planter. You would winterize your sprayer the same, you would winterize your planter in a similar fashion, or a liquid fertilizer system in a similar fashion. Just like ExactApply sprayers, it's a propylene glycol-based RV antifreeze, you can buy it at any auto parts store, or farms store, or JD Winterizer. Both are approved methods of winterizing, but just the same, you'd to make sure you're flushing out the A port and the B port. With a planter system, it makes a little bit more sense.

It's not like a sprayer where you're not always thinking if you're only running through the A port that the B port might also have product through it. It's pretty straightforward with a planter because you know that you're A port and your B port are plumbed to two completely different row units. You'll know to be able to clean those components, but yes, winterizing is just as critical with an ExactRate fertilizer system. I'm trying to combine ExactApply sprayer with a fertilizer system. No, it's no more complicated than any other system.

Tony: With that winterization process or maybe just a boom clean out process, it is very simple. There's features right within the display, and actually, right at the back of the planters. A lot of people have seen on the 4-series sprayers or the R series sprayers, whatever you prefer to call them, I believe the technical term is 4-series.

Jake: It is a 4, yes.

Tony: They have that solution command system. You have those buttons you're able to turn on and off the pump, you're able to do a nozzle flow check. We actually have that keypad right at the rear of the planters. That's cool. A lot of great features, like I said, I'm very excited. This is an awesome, awesome fertilizer system. It's coming out on the 2021 planters. Those of you that are thinking about ordering a new one, or you are all ordering one, I would highly encourage the ExactRate fertilizer system, you are going to be very happy with it.

Some of the compatibilities I just want to touch on here, Jake, 1775NT planters, 1795, the DB44, the DB66, and then all of the different DB60 models, whether it be ExactEmerge or MaxEmerge 5e. Of course, we need that electric drive planter for this to be compatible. Then also, like I mentioned, the 4,600 CommandCenter with a version two-processor or we can run that 4640 universal display. You had touched on the hydraulic system is already on there. The power system, there's no need for any additional stuff. Depending on what type of opener or what type of placement you're utilizing, is going to dictate how much hydraulic flow it requires.

I would encourage you to stop by your local RDO dealership or your local John Deere dealership that you work with, ask some questions, get the specifics based on your system, and what you are looking to do. Again, Jake, I am super excited about this.

Jake: I think this is going to be a really great opportunity for a number of guys. If you're an electric drive planner, already in an electric drive planner you're looking to upgrade the system, we're not going to get too deep into pricing, but I'm going to say, it's going to be pleasantly surprising how in the market this is. Most guys will spend upwards of $40,000 on a custom system. This is south of that, so don't worry about that. It's very much in line. Excellent resale value on one of these units, which I think is really exciting because typically, a dealer is going to sell the OEM piece outright.

They know the John Deere components, they can guarantee and they come back the John Deere components. One of the cool value pieces to this is that the fertilizer system can be lumped in with the planter purchase. Deere is going support your dealer, he's going to support the fertilizer system just the same as they would any of the planter components. The integrated solutions, if you have a John Deere planter, you have a John Deere tractor, you have a John Deere ExactRate liquid fertilizer system, it's a one-stop-shop. It really makes things very simple. It's one set up to do all three.

They can all be inspected by your dealer or be certified by your dealer, it's a really cool what feels like a custom add-on or a custom feature to an already great system.

Tony: What you're telling me is this is going to give them a John Deere peer system.

Jake: Absolutely.

Tony: All right. Once again, I just want to thank Matt Krueger for reaching out to us on Twitter, giving us this idea to talk about the ExactRate system. If any of you listeners out there have any topics you'd like us to talk about, or some pieces of equipment, or technology you'd like us to key in on, again, follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK.

Let us know what you think of the show, give us some topics and ideas. We want to thank you for tuning in and listening to this episode. We'll catch you on the next one.

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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