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Infra-Red Guidance System Eliminates Mechanical Feelers

A pair of Australian crop farmers who didn't like the guidance systems for cultivators and sprayers that they saw on the market, have come up with what they say is the guidance system of the future.
Steve Rees and Craig Smith, of Croppa Creek, say they wanted to avoid the damage caused to crops by mechanical feelers on other guidance systems that work by feeling their way along the stems of crops. Their new "Truetrac" system uses beams of infra-red light to sense crop rows, shifting the cultivator or spray boom back and forth with either an air, hydraulic or electric-powered actuator.
Two beams of light are sent up either side of the row. The operator sets the strength of the beam so that when the sensing unit is running down the center of the row, no light is reflected back. If the sensor gets too close to the row, light is reflected back, signaling the monitor in the cab which activates a solenoid that shifts toolbar back and forth.
To keep weeds from triggering the system, a sensor unit is set up on either side of the cultivator or sprayer so two rows are monitored at once. Signals from both units must agree that the machine is off center before a shift is signaled.
The system can be adapted to existing equipment by installing a moving bar between the tractor and the implement. Rees Equipment, the company formed to market the new guidance system, is manufacturing an innovative new spray boom to go with the system that has double shields so you can spray Roundup down the center of the row and band another chemical on the row. Rees Equipment also makes a row crop cultivator designed specifically to work with the company's guidance system.
The Truetrac guidance system sells for $3,950 (Australian). The company is looking for a North American distributor.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rees Equipment Pty. Ltd., P.O. Box 12, Croppa Creek, 2411 N.S.W. Australia (ph 067 54 5304; fax 067 54 5247).


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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #5