How Implement Drift Can Affect Yields

Dec 20, 2021

Implement drift can damage crops, get ProTrakker

Growers have to face a large number of obstacles when operating their equipment in the field. Anymore, it’s common to have very large planters, sprayers, and other implements. Keeping these big pieces of equipment on the straight and narrow through varying terrain and soil conditions can be challenging. 

Not only does implement drift lead to yield loss, but unguided implements can also cause serious stressors like operator fatigue. What is implement drift, and how does it affect your yields? 

Implement Drift

When heavy equipment, varying soil conditions, and gravity meet, it results in a constant fluctuation in the direction of the implement as it is being pulled along. Every piece of field equipment has some amount of side pull. Unaided, it’s usually up to the skill of the tractor operator to overcome this drift. Often the larger the equipment and any degree of slope, will not correctly follow the implement path, no matter the driver’s skill. 

Affecting Yields

Having less control over the direction of the implement results in inconsistent travel in the field. If you’re planting, implement drift can cause variance in guess rows and leave inaccurate placement of seeds. When seeds are not placed in the ideal zones, the overall health of seeds can suffer. 

For other applications out in the field throughout the growing season, such as applying nitrogen, crop damage can occur when either steering errors happen, or the terrain causes the implement to drift. The end result for both instances is a loss in the crop. So, what options do growers have to combat this? Three words: precision guidance system.

Counteracting Implement Drift

The most proven method of reducing the effects of implement drift is implement guidance. The ProTrakker Guidance System mounts universally to most tractors and adjusts the implement automatically to counteract any drift of the implement. The two heavy-duty cylinders provide correction anywhere from 26” to 54” (varying per model). ProTrakkers can be controlled by GPS, SonicTrakk ultrasonic sensors, or their side-hill sensor, offering flexibility to customize the hydraulic hitch implement guidance system to fit the operator’s needs. 

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