Pottinger’s Swath Scanner system, developed with John Deere, is the latest example of how machinery makers are using high-tech automation to take the strain off the tractor driver.

From next year, if you have a Pottinger forage wagon and a John Deere 6030 or 7030, you can fit a sensor bar to the front of the tractor that scans the swath and measures its shape and density.

At the same time, there’s also a torque load sensor on the forage wagon’s gearbox drive shaft. The system compares the amount of swath coming into the machine with the load on the gearbox. If the wagon is not working at full capacity, it will tell the tractor’s CVT gearbox to speed up until it is.

There’s also an eco setting whereby the tractor and wagon automatically vary their speed to give maximum fuel economy.

The company reckons the swath scanner can boost average throughputs from a typical 70-75% with even a skilled driver to 95-98% with the automatic system. It also means that a less skilled driver can do a good job.