An improved web interface and increased memory capacity are among features of the latest crop constituents analyser for stand-alone use or installation on a John Deere 8000 Series self-propelled forage harvester.
The HarvestLab 3000 instrument provides real-time data gathering that can help with harvester setting decisions and subsequent feeding programmes to optimise dairy and beef production from forage crops.
It uses Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to evaluate constituent characteristics such as moisture, dry matter, protein, starch, neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF).
Harvester operators can view constituent measurements and make on-the-go adjustments to maximise feed quality, and length-of-cut adjustments can be made automatically according to moisture content ranges preset by the operator to ensure maximum silage bunker density.
The analyser can also optimise inoculant dosing based on sugar and dry-matter readings.
The HarvestLab 3000’s broader light spectrum measures up to 10 nutrient values 4,000 times per second, providing permanent data that can be wirelessly transmitted to the John Deere Operations Center for analysis, planning of crop and nutrient applications, and for archiving field and crop history.
Data memory has been increased from just 32 megabytes to 2 gigabytes, and saving historic data is now possible, while advanced diagnostics are said to make it easier for users to more quickly troubleshoot issues if they arise.
Outside the harvesting season, the instrument’s stationary mode allows nutritionists to analyse feed rations for crude protein, fibre, and other characteristics so that rations can be adjusted for optimal performance and to reduce feed variability.
Measurements also provide precise tracking of silage stored in the bunker or silo and the quality changes that take place before the feed, is put into a dairy ration.