Since Lemken purchased Steketee several years ago, a Dutch manufacturer of mechanical weeding options, it has been putting a big push on expanding its portfolio. Now, the German-based manufacturer has just introduced the Steketee ‘EC-Steer’. This is a parallel steering frame which converts any existing hoe to joystick or camera-guided steering through mounting between the tractor and the implement.
It now gives farmers the option of upgrading their existing hoeing technology without having to buy a completely new machine. The manufacturer says the three-point mounted steering frame enables smooth and precise steering while working with open lower link stabilisers on the tractor, as no lateral movements are transferred between the tractor and the steering frame.
The driver controls the machine from the seat using a joystick or the IC-Light camera steering system. Lemken say the camera steering enables the machine to differentiate between crop plants and weeds based on different shades of green or the RGB colour spectrum. As a result, the machine can work automatically to within two centimeters of the plant.
The parallel steering frame is available with standard Steketee machines or as a stand-alone unit that can be used to upgrade any other hoeing machines. It comes in two versions. Firstly, Lemken say the EC-Steer 7 is suitable for hoeing machines with a weight of up to 2,500kg and a working width of up to six meters. Its open three-point headstock offers the advantage that the camera can be positioned centrally on the steering frame to cover an extremely large field of view.
Secondly, the EC-Steer 9 with reinforced frame design is suitable for larger hoeing machines with a working width of up to nine meters and a weight of up to 4,000kg.