REVIEW: John Deere 1910 Air Cart

By: Tom Dickson, Photography by: Andrew Britten

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The John Deere 1910 Air Cart behind an 8320R tractor and an 1890 No-Till Air Drill The John Deere 1910 Air Cart behind an 8320R tractor and an 1890 No-Till Air Drill The John Deere 1910 Air Cart behind an 8320R tractor and an 1890 No-Till Air Drill
The John Deere 1910 Air Cart hydraulic motor A hydraulic motor drives the 447mm-diameter fan at an optimum working speed of 3000rpm The John Deere 1910 Air Cart hydraulic motor
John Deere 1910 Air cart in-line valve An in-line valve switches hydraulic oil flow from the fan to the conveyor when filling John Deere 1910 Air cart in-line valve
The John Deere 1910 Air cart rear Every step has been taken to ensure a safe trip to the top of the bins The John Deere 1910 Air cart rear
The 1910 air cart metering unit canister The canister in each metering unit slides out to make cartridge changes a breeze. The 1910 air cart metering unit canister
The John Deere 1910 air cart gauges The gauges run in the green when the tanks are properly sealed and operating at the correct pressure The John Deere 1910 air cart gauges
The air cart and its catch bag The catch bag makes it easy to collect a sample for weighing during the single-weigh calibration process The air cart and its catch bag

We review the John Deere 1910 tow-behind air cart hooked up to one of the brand’s 1890 No-Till Air Drill and 8320R tractor.


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The John Deere 1910 air cart has more features and are more intelligent than previous models in John Deere’s lineup of tow-behind air carts. They also tow brilliantly and, despite the fact the package includes a considerable amount of technology, they are refreshingly easy to operate.

There are a total of nine models of varying size and configuration in the 1910 air cart series. Options include tow-behind or tow-between, and two or three bins with carrying capacity ranging from 6.6 to 17.2 tonnes.

Three sizes are now available for purchase in the triple-bin tow-behind range. Options include a 12,002-litre/9.1-tonne, 15,179-litre/11.5-tonne and the recently released 19,381-litre/17.2-tonne versions. The latter currently represents the largest of any air cart within the 1910 range.

I managed to get my hands on a 9.1-tonne unit on a recent trip to south-west Victoria. It happened to be harnessed up to a John Deere 1890 No-Till Air Drill that I had organised to test as it was being demonstrated on the McGuinness family’s 2400ha cropping operation about 50km east of Hamilton.

John Deere 1910 Air Cart

Features include three commodity bins, a self-loading and self-emptying conveyor, a rear stairway with handrail for safe access to the bin openings during the filling process, a single-weigh calibration system and a range of metering cartridges.

Speed-matching variable rate control is fully integrated with GreenStar parallel tracking and AutoTrac to ensure precise sowing rates are achieved. John Deere says the system is designed to minimise stress and driver fatigue while maximising speed and efficiency.

Three bins is a real advantage because it allows for the simultaneous application of inoculants and pest control products at the point of sowing.

 

Filling first

The built-in conveyor attached to the side of the 1910 air carts enable the machine to be filled anywhere without the need of a separate auger or someone to tow it around to top you up with seed and fertiliser.

It is a 305mm-wide belt conveyor with risers attached every 152mm. Belt conveyors are proven to move product faster and cause less damage to the seed compared to conventional screw augers. There is a lower risk of blockages with belt conveyors; they are much easier to clean and the abrasive effect of fertiliser is significantly less compared to a screw auger.

Although the conveyor is manually opened and closed it is actually quite easy and doesn’t require a great deal of strength. Once it’s opened it can be held in position with locking pins. I found that guiding it back into its closed position was a little tricky on my first attempt, somewhat easier the second time, and a breeze on the third go.

The auger runs off the same line that feeds the hydraulic pump on the main fan, so when you want to fill you just redirect oil flow to the hydraulic pump that runs the belt auger.

A meshed grate on the top of the auger hopper catches any lumps or contaminants and a plastic cover keeps the hopper dry. For convenience and safety the conveyor can be started and stopped from either the bottom or top.

At the end sowing the auger can be used to empty the bin back out again.

The rear of the John Deere 1910 air cart
Every step has been taken to ensure a safe trip to the top of the bins

Excellent access

No expense has been spared to provide a well-engineered, safe and secure stairway to the top of the air cart.

Each slip-resistant tread is well spaced and is at a gradient that’s comfortable to climb. A hand rail on both sides virtually eliminates the risk of falling, and a good-sized platform and guard rail at the top provides a safe area to access the tank lids to carry out the filling process.

Each of the bins is made from a thick poly plastic type material which is lightweight and rust-resistant. Large rubber buffers are positioned between the bin walls and the frame to prevent any wear caused by vibration and constant rubbing.

The 1910 air cart catch bag

The catch bag makes it easy to collect a sample for weighing during the single-weigh calibration process

Single-sample calibration

Experienced operators will find the calibration process an absolute breeze. But don’t worry if you are not as familiar with modern calibration techniques because the monitor will provide you with step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process.

Taking and weighing a heap of samples to achieve the exact rate can now be achieved by weighing just a single sample.

To calibrate any one of the three bins, you just open the trap door at the bottom of the metering unit and attach the catch bag. It fits perfectly around the bottom of the metering chamber so none of the test sample is lost.

The steps I took to run a calibration are about as simple as it gets.

Using the in-cabin touchscreen monitor I entered wheat as the product and 100kg/ha as the rate. I then jumped out of the cab and made my way back to the side of the cart where I instigated a calibration flow of the metering unit via an electronic switch.

I unhooked the catch bag and hung it on the scales that come with the calibration kit which provides an accurate sample weight. Jumping back into the cabin, I entered that weight into the monitor and pressed Accept.

With this information the computer calculates the meter speed required to achieve 100gk/ha. Once you have entered what product is in each bin and calibrated all three metering units, you’re set to go.

An accurate rate is maintained regardless of speed, and sectional shut off is available for even greater efficiency by reducing overlapping.

All of the equipment associated with weighing and calibrating the machine is stored conveniently in a durable storage container mounted to the frame.

Hydraulic drive motors are standard equipment on all the air carts in John Deere’s 1910 range. They provide consistent drive power to the meters through all meter speeds and offer the features of variable rate control and hydraulic calibration.

To cater for all types of product and application rate, each metering unit has a selection of four different size metering cartridges. The cartridge holder slides out of the metering unit for easy changes and this can be done when the bins still have product in them.

 

The fan

A hydraulically driven 447mm (17.6-inch) fan is capable of moving up to 560kg/ha of product by propelling a high volume of air at slower speeds, which results in minimum seed damage.

The fan is designed to perform best at around 3000rpm. That combined really well with our John Deere 8320R test tractor because it has constant flow hydraulics, so the fan speed remained at a constant 3000rpm regardless of the tractor’s engine speed. This helps prevent blockages in the airlines when the tractor slows down while negotiating its way through drains or rough ground.

Another great little feature is a couple of yellow hazard lights mounted toward the front of the cart to alert the driver to any changes regarding the airflow. Two illuminated lights indicate correct airflow; the top light alone means fan speed is too high and the bottom light suggests the fan speed is too low.

Prominently mounted up the front of the John Deere air cart are three gauges that can be clearly seen from the driver’s seat.  Each pressure gauge indicates to the operator that the corresponding tank is operating at its correct working pressure.

A low pressure reading on one of the gauges may indicate something as simple as the lid on a tank not properly fastened down.

 

Steering

There is no steering mechanism on the air cart but the two front wheels mount using a caster wheel design. It’s a bit like what you see on the front of a shopping trolley but I guarantee you it doesn’t wobble around all over the place like they do!

The cart followed the airseeder exceptionally well and, as we manoeuvred through gateways while turning off the road, the rear wheels on the cart closely followed the tracks left by the tractor. 

The John Deere 1910 Air Cart with a 1890 No-Till Air Drill

The John Deere 1910 Air Cart behind an 8320R tractor and an 1890 No-Till Air Drill

The bottom line

The complete John Deere outfit works really well together with the key feature being that the 1890 disc seeder can operate at 7.5-inch or 15-inch spacings, but the transition is not as easy as it could be.

Switching from 7.5-inch to 15-inch sowing spacings on the 1890 disc seeder requires half of the air hoses on the air cart to be disconnected and half of the chutes in each of the metering units to be blocked off. This is a time-consuming task and is probably the only criticism I could come up with.

If the design gurus at John Deere are interested in giving me a call I could show them a simple design change that could reduce the change over time to a matter of minutes without the need to block off any chutes or air lines. 

We have been looking at the cart as part of a complete John Deere outfit but each implement is available for independent purchase.

The cart works exceptionally well with the John Deere monitor but it will work equally as well with other tractors that are ISOBUS compatible.

The John Deere 1910 air cart might not be perfect but it’s damn near close. Given the choice, I believe the tow-behind option is a more sensible option because it does not have the stress of pulling the heavy load of a seeder bar.

 

HITS

  • Tow behind
  • Three bins
  • Single-weigh calibration
  • Onboard conveyor
  • Access stairway
  • Fan speed indicators
  • Pressure gauges for each tank
  • Front castor wheels

 

MISSES

  • Having to shut off air hoses and chutes when changing sowing widths on a John Deere 1890 disc seeder

 

John Deere 1910 Air Cart Specs:

  • Type: Air cart  (Tow behind)
  • Fan size (mm): 447
  • Bins (no.): 3
  • Capacity (tons): 9.1 (front 3.2/middle 1.9/rear 4.0)
  • Drive: Hydraulic
  • Length (mtr): 8.4
  • Width (mtr): 4.3
  • Height (mtr): 3.9

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