New technology makes sugarcane harvesting easy

Sugarcane farming is much harder than it seems. It takes time for the plants’ nodes to grow and the crop fields are not easily accessible by tractor. But Bheki Mhlane is brave enough to be a commercial sugarcane farmer, farming near Umzinto on the South Coast of KZN, on a farm he inherited from his father.

Angie Khumalo, presenter of the agricultural television show African Farming on Mzansi Wethu (channel 163) was excited to learn more about sugarcane farming on her visited there. She noticed Mhlane is a fan of John Deere. In the last studio interview of the season she talked to Jean Elloh, John Deere Sales Manager: Western Africa, about this: “There is John Deere machinery everywhere on his farm, but I want to know if there are machinery Mhlane hasn’t thought of, that could help him to farm more efficiently.”

Africa is one of the world’s leading producers of sugarcane, therefore it is crucial that Mhlane uses the right kind of machinery to better the efficiency of his farming practices,” Elloh said.

Mhlane harvests his sugarcane manually, meaning the crops are burnt and cut by machetes.

“This method of harvesting has an impact on the quality and quantity of the yield, I would recommend the John Deere CH570 sugarcane harvester to him. This machine will save him time and ensure that his sugar yields are of higher quality.”

The CH570 Sugarcane Harvester is equipped with an efficient front end for smooth uniform feed, reducing cane losses and soil content. It is fitted with a large, premium cab that integrates the latest technology with unparalleled comfort. The CH570 also features John Deere’s exclusive floating crop divider and contour basecutter height-control technology that reduce soil content and cane loss.

Furthermore, the harvester activity monitor (H.A.M.) will also improve operations. This operating system is industry-exclusive technology from John Deere. The harvester monitor gathers and analyses valuable harvest information, enabling sugarcane producers to make smarter decisions that drive down harvesting costs and improve overall farming practices.

The system calculates the total tons harvested, harvester productivity, trash percentage, and fuel consumption. The operator can then use this information to make on-the-fly adjustments to optimise performance, from the cab.

SmartClean is the latest enhancement of the harvester monitor that allows automatic control of the primary extractor fan speed, based on the operator’s preferences in order to obtain the most profitable balance between cane cleanliness and reduced loss.

Through the John Deere Operations Centre, the data can be processed to generate yield prediction and other valuable maps and reports that will guide producers into making the right decisions on soil and water management, chemical application, crop renewal, field layout, equipment logistics, and much more.

For information: Contact your nearest John Deere dealer, or John Deere’s office at 080 098 3821, or visit,

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