Pushing buttons, pulling levers and twirling the steering wheel to make a headland turn is no longer necessary when operating a newly-minted Valtra N or T series tractor, now that the Nordic brand in AGCO’s portfolio has joined a select group of manufacturers offering a completely automated process.

Valtra SmartTurn, which is a software upgrade unlock purchased from the user’s local dealer, combines the functions of the Auto U-Pilot headland management system and Valtra Guide satellite-based auto steering to complete a 180deg hands-free turn.

To run any of these systems, the tractor needs to be equipped with the SmartTouch seat-mounted control console, which provides a nine-inch touch-screen display, electric spool valve finger levers, and touch pad switches for various functions.

This is a standard installation on N5/T5 Versu semi-powershift and N5/T5 Direct continuously variable transmission tractors, and an option on Active and HiTech semi-powershift machines.

Users can set-up operator- and implement-specific profiles and record a U-Pilot headland control sequence – changing gear and engine speed if required, lifting the rear linkage, turning a plough, and so on – by simply driving through it.

Alternatively, a sequence can be set-up, edited and saved while stationary using the touch screen.

Valtra Guide acquires satellite positioning and selected correction signals to accurately steer the tractor along an A-B guideline for reduced operator workload and to maintain the pass-to-pass accuracy of the implement being used with minimal overlap for maximum productivity and alignment.

SmartTurn brings these functions together once the field boundary has been recorded – unless it is already in the Guide system – and a headland width suited to the implement or crop being grown is set. Operator then have a choice of turn strategies – the U-turn or loop mode and the Part-field or skip mode.

The former brings the tractor back onto the adjacent guide line so that the entire field is worked on one direction; this generally requires a wider headland so that the outfit can comfortably complete a loop turn.

With the skip mode, the tractor misses out the adjacent guide line and is usually programmed to steer into the second guide line along but can be set up to skip two or three lines if required.

The gentler turns this involves requires a narrower headland and is kinder to trailed implements; and upon reaching the far end of the field, the tractor and implement combination moves down the field to work the skipped strips.

Valtra suggests using SmartTurn leaves the operator to focus machine settings and work quality, reduces workload for a less tiring experience and enables accurate working in poor visibility situations – when it is dark, misty or dusty, for example.

In addition to the 135-200hp N5 and 155-250hp T5 models, for which the new headland turn guidance is available now, SmartTurn will become available on fourth-generation N and T, and other fifth-generation models, later this year.

Valtra engineers have also come up with a more advanced Section Control system for use with SmartTouch and guidance to manage the working width of implements like sprayers, fertiliser spreaders, seed drills, planters and wide-working cultivators equipped with ISOBUS controls.

As its title suggests, Section Control 96 can divide sprayer and spreader working widths into as many as 96 segments for fine progressive width adjustment to avoid overlapping and excessive application where guidance waylines or established tramlines converge.

Operators already using the 36-segment version can have a free software upgrade when the tractor is serviced by a dealer but those with the 24-segment version will be charged for the more substantial update.

A novel feature of the new version is Multiboom, which caters for implements like seed drills or a tractor operating front- and rear-mounted equipment applying up to three different commodities.

For example, a number of no-till and disc/tine cultivator drills are offered with the ability to place dry or liquid fertiliser and micro-granules or seed for a secondary crop in addition to seed for barley or wheat crops.