By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Spring is less than 40 days away, and with snow on the ground, now is a great time to check for software updates on all the GPS equipment and displays on the farm.

For farmers that utilize John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS) precision equipment, there are some items that must undergo a mandatory update in order to communicate with the StarFire ™ system moving into the 2021 growing season. The StarFire™ 20-2 Update is mandatory for all StarFire 6000 and StarFire 3000 receivers. The most important part of the 20-2 software update is that it positions the Starfire 6000 and 3000 receivers to continue operating in the future.

The StarFire™ 20-2 Update first became available in August of 2020. “The 20-2 update is needed for the receivers to decode the new language and track the satellite,” said Scott Gerken, account manager for the Kenn-Feld Group. “It is a quick software update like we have done many times over the years. This time it is a mandatory update. It has to happen for the equipment to work with the new satellite update that occurred. Farmers can bring their receivers to the dealerships, or they can download the update and do it themselves, or we can stop out and do the update on their farm.”

Due to a government satellite update, effective February 1. 2021, the StarFire ™ iTC GPS receivers will no longer be able to receive correction signals required for machines to Autotrac.  “The iTC receivers were introduced and utilized from 2004-2010,” said Gerken. “They will not work going forward with the new satellite signal.”

Another changing item that growers should be aware of involves the older JD Link Modular Telematic Gateway (MTG). “The MTG is basically a cell modem that communicates with the John Deere server to move data back and forth,” said Gerken. “The older MTG’s use 3G. With changes and upgrades in cellular service around the country, 3G is going away. The new MTG’s are 4G and will be able to continue to communicate when the 3G goes out of service starting in 2022.”

Farmers can contact their local John Deere dealer for more information of to schedule an update.

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