A new high-tech precision guidance solution for JCB’s unique Fastrac exploits the tractor’s four-wheel steering system to stay perfectly on track when sowing or working in row crops.

Unlike a conventional tractor, which makes steering corrections only through the front wheels, the Fastrac 4000 Series has multi-mode four-wheel steering for maximum manoeuvrability in different situations.

The new JCB Twin Steer auto steering option controls the front and rear axles independently for unprecedented levels of accuracy when setting out new crop beds or sowing salad and vegetable crops, while also minimising the risk of running over plants when operating an inter-row hoe for weed control.

John Smith, JCB Agriculture Managing Director, said: “Hands-free steering is now commonly employed on tractors to accurately match every pass across the field and so maximise implement working width when cultivating, applying inputs such as fertilisers and crop protection materials, and when sowing new crops.

“This not only improves work rates, reduces costs, eliminates wastage and minimises soil compaction but also makes the operator’s job more comfortable and less tiring – something for which the Fastrac is already renowned thanks to its all-round suspension.

“JCB Twin Steer for the Fastrac 4000 Series adds a new and unique dimension to auto steering by precisely controlling the front and rear axles individually to maintain tractor and implement accuracy when working in high-value salad and vegetable crops, and especially when traversing slopes in slippery conditions.”

All auto steering systems work by intercepting signals from a constellation of satellites via a receiver mounted on the tractor’s cab roof; the most high-definition system available for the Fastrac works to an accuracy of +/- 2cm.

JCB Twin Steer exploits the added manoeuvrability of the Fastrac’s multi-mode four-wheel steering system by adding a second receiver mounted directly above the rear axle and installing a second data processor so that the two axles can be controlled individually.

This functionality can be used to keep precision weeding cultivators and hoes on track and when forming and planting beds for crops such as potatoes, onions and carrots, and salad crops such as lettuce, as well as when laying a fleece wrapping to protect delicate crops.

John Smith explained: “This new technology is especially applicable when working across sloping ground to counteract gravity and the tendency for the tractor and implement to slip off course.

“Steering the rear wheels independently from those at the front keeps the outfit properly aligned to maintain accuracy and avoid running over crop plants; our trials show that it achieves up to 90% greater accuracy than a conventional auto steering system in this situation.”

He adds that compared with hydraulic side-shift and implement guidance, JCB Twin Steer does not add any weight or mechanical complexity to the outfit.

JCB Twin Steer is available on the latest Stage V versions of the Fastrac 4000 Series tractors, which have uprated axles, increased payload capacity and higher performance tyre options, by adding the optional Trimble TMX-2050 precision farming system and Twin Steer GPS Ready unlock key.

Additional function unlock codes, and a second receiver and NAV3 controller, are then sourced from a Trimble reseller to complete the system.